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Saturday, July 31, 2004
Works for Me

By Steven Taylor @ 10:40 pm

Bush Planning August Attack Against Kerry

President Bush’s campaign plans to use the normally quiet month of August for a vigorous drive to undercut John Kerry by turning attention away from his record in Vietnam to what the campaign described as an undistinguished and left-leaning record in the Senate.

Mr. Bush’s advisers plan to cap the month at the Republican convention in New York, which they said would feature Mr. Kerry as an object of humor and calculated derision.
Entering a four week run-up to the unusually late Republican convention, Mr. Bush’s aides said they had laid out a week-by-week in plan in which Mr. Bush would talk about his accomplishments and his second-term agenda. But they said they would also try to blunt what Democrats and Republicans said was a successful four-day Democratic convention focused on Mr. Kerry’s veteran credentials by turning attention from what they described as his brief four-month tour in Vietnam to his 20 years in Washington.

This seems reasonable. Yes, Kerry served in Viet Nam and he deserves credit for it. However, the convention skipped the part of his life that is most important in terms of determining what kind of president he will be: his career in politics.

And this strikes me as silly:

“The research we’ve done shows that the Bush campaign has come right up to the edge and probably now crossed the line in being too negative,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster for the Democratic Party. He asserted that Mr. Bush was in something of a strategic box, under pressure to try to turn back any Kerry rise by attacking him, but in danger of alienating undecided voters who he said already perceived the Republicans as too negative.

Making factual statements about an opponent’s record isn’t being negative. Kerry has the right to question Bush’s time in office, and Bush has the right to question Kerry’s record. And we go through this “oh, the campaigns are so negative” every four years-time to get a new script, fellahs.

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From the Spam Front

By Steven Taylor @ 12:55 pm

I was just eliminating some comment spam for a website called “levitrafire". Speaking as a male, somehow that doesn’t sounds like a particularly pleasant product.

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You Know You Have Kids When…

By Steven Taylor @ 12:54 pm

You are cleaning out your entertainment center and find a petrified Cheerio, circa 2002. (The Legos behind the receiver were a tip off as well).

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Hitchens on Kerry and Iraq

By Steven Taylor @ 11:33 am

Firehouse Rot - John Kerry’s cheapest shot. By Christopher Hitchens

Thursday night, Sen. Kerry quite needlessly proposed a contradiction between “opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.” Talk about a false alternative. To borrow the current sappy language of “making us safer": Who would feel more secure if they knew that we weren’t spending any tax dollars on Iraqi firehouses? [further: isn’t the clarion call of the Democrats that the Bush administration isn’t doing enough to establish security and stability in Iraq-ed.]


It reveals a real element of bad faith on the part of many liberals and leftists. Think of the programs that many of them regard as wasteful and extravagant: the missile-defense system, for example (less than useless in the battle against terrorism) or the so-called “war on drugs” (ditto). But the mention of either of these would involve an argument over principle, and the risk of controversy. So, why not just say that the Republicans are squandering “our” money on a bunch of foreigners?



The further implication is that this is a zero-sum game, and that a dollar spent in Iraq is a dollar not spent on domestic needs. In other words, that this hospital or school in New Jersey or Montana would now be fully funded if it wasn’t for a crowd of Arab and Kurdish panhandlers. Could anything be more short-sighted than that?

Double indeed. Of course, it is basic tenet of the Democratic Party, it seems, that all economic issues are zero sum (note the idea that if the wealthy get wealthier it, ipso facto has to be because the poor got poorer).

And the following raises a point that seems to have been forgotten, that is the claim that was quite popular pre-war by many on the left that the sanctions were hurting average Iraqis:

A few years ago, many of the same liberals and leftists were quoting improbable if not impossible numbers of dead Iraqi children, murdered by the international sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein. Even at its most propagandistic, this contained an important moral point: Iraqi civilians were suffering for the sins of their dictatorship (and from the lavish corruption of the U.N. supervision of the “oil-for-food” program). OK, then, we’ll remove the regime and lift the sanctions. Happy now? Not at all! It turns out that 1) the Saddam regime was only a threat invented by neo-cons and that 2) we don’t owe the Iraqi people a thing. Also, we could use the money ourselves.

This would mean that all the protest about dead and malnourished Iraqi infants was all for show. Surely that can’t be right? Whatever you think about the twists and turns of U.S. policy toward Baghdad in the last three decades, there can be no doubt of any kind that we have collectively incurred a huge responsibility there, much of it political but a good deal of it purely humanitarian. To demand that American funds be cut off or diverted, just as the country is fighting to rebuild and struggling toward a form of elections, is unconscionable from any standpoint.

Triple indeed.

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Did the GOP Have Lori Hacking Killed? (And Other Tales of Paranoia)

By Steven Taylor @ 10:54 am

Yesterday I noted a little paranoia emanating from Mr. Drum (also here) over the idea that the Bush administration has specifically pressured the Paks to arrest a top suspect to spoil the DNC. Drum wondered earlier in the week as to the timing of the arrest of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani(a key suspect in the African embassy bombings of 1998) and ponderes whether it may fit the bill and prove the theory-especially since it seems that the Paks waited a few days to release the information.

However, given that people who are paying attention wonder in public, Who Is It?, one wonders as to the strength of this argument. And yes, I know, just because it didn’t distract from the DNC, or wasn’t as high a value of a target as it coudl have been doesn’t disprove the theory. Still, I find the whole concept to be paranoid and simply fuels the idea that the Democrats would rather see Bush lose than to see Bush have any success in the war on terror between now and November.

Indeed, I have noted that despite a great deal of news consumption, I have heard precious little about the arrest. In fact, it occured to me that if the GOP is trying to take media time from the Dems, then maybe they had Lori Hacking killed, because that has taken up a whole lot more news time than has the arrest of Ghailani. And it is the kind of story that is more likely to attract the attention of the less-politically invovled swing voter. (Yes, I am being silly, but so are Drum and the New Republic).

I would note that the The New Republic Online story that Drum cites suggests that the administration is pressuring Pakistan specifically for electoral reasons (based on some quotes from sources within the Pakistani intellgence agency). While I have no doubt that the administration would love to have high value target arrested during the campaign, I also am sure that the administration would have liked to have arrested a HVT at any time. This onging paranoia that the administration has the ability to produce whomever they wish on command borders on the insane. It is akin to the more radical right-wing nonsense aimed at Clinton (such as the idea that he had people killed or used to run drugs when he was Governor of Arkansas). As such, this kind of nonsense does not befit the New Republic.

And further, haven’t the anti-administration types been screaming that we aren’t doing enough against al Qaeda specifically? So now that it appears that pressure is mounting, it must be political? Is it at all possible that whatever is currently going on is the natural evolution of the policy? Is it not also possible that the sources that NR used were misinterpreting the requests of the admin, or that they wanted to damage the Bush administration (let’s face fact: the Pakistani intelligence community, sectors of which aided the Taliban, aren’t all pro-American).

And by the way, note to Kevin Drum, the New Republic and whomever else it applies: capturing Ghailani is a good thing.

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Shall We Dance?

By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

Source: Yahoo/Reuters

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Reminds Me of my AT&T Wireless Experience

By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

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Friday, July 30, 2004
WHAT?!? Michael Moore Fakes Stuff?!?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:02 pm

Newspaper Says Moore Film Used Fake Front

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph newspaper in central Illinois has sent a letter to Moore and his production company, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., asking Moore to apologize for using what the newspaper says was a doctored front page in the film, the paper reported Friday. It also is seeking compensatory damages of $1.

A scene early in the movie that shows newspaper headlines related to the legally contested presidential election of 2000 included a shot of The Pantagraph’s Dec. 19, 2001, front page, with the prominent headline: “Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election.”

The paper says that headline never appeared on that day. It appeared in a Dec. 5, 2001, edition, but the headline was not used on the front page. Instead, it was found in much smaller type above a letter to the editor, which the paper says reflects “only the opinions of the letter writer.”

Why anyone takes Moore’s “documentaries” seriously is beyond me.

I guess this is where Ron Reagan got his info.

(Of course, Wizbang was on this story a week ago.)

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Perhaps They Ought Just Issue a New Browser

By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 pm

Microsoft Issues Patch for Browser Security Flaw.

(And yes, I use Firefox).

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Hype is on the Way

By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

Or so I have been told.

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  • LeatherPenguin linked with And So Begins the Fun
Even More DNC Discussions

By Steven Taylor @ 3:11 pm

Joe Gandelman of the Moderate Voice has an impressive post that asks Did John Kerry’s Speech Advance His Campaign?

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Some More Speech Reaction

By Steven Taylor @ 1:57 pm
  • Said Jeff Jarvis
    There is no word that damns with faint praise more than “competent.”

    John Kerry gave a competent speech tonight. It was a primary speech, the sort of message you give when you’re running against and not running for. There were scant mentions of George Bush but this was most a speech against Bush rather than for a Kerry vision.


    There was nothing to hate in the speech, nothing to love. It was competent.”

  • BoiFromTroy asks some good questions

  • And JohnL at TexasBestGrok assures me usDon’t Worry, Help Is On The Way

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    Quote of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:29 pm

    “See, you can’t talk sense to the terrorists. You can’t hope for the best. You can’t negotiate with them. We will engage those enemies around the world so we do not have to face them here at home".-President George W. Bush today in a campaign speech in Springfield, MO.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Fineman Gets “Hot under the Collar”

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:03 pm

    From Howard Fineman’s convention blog (which is really more of a blog than Hardblogger) we find the following:

    We’re sitting here on the “Hardball” set and I got a little hot under the collar when Joe Scarborough presumed to give us all a lecture about the “reality” of the Kerry speech. Joe said it was a blown chance because it was too rushed. I think that Kerry, if he didn’t hit a home run, hit a solid double up the gap or even a triple and put himself in scoring position.

    I caught the tail end of this last night (including Fineman rolling his eyes at Scarborough), so I missed Joe’s exact argument (which I gathered was about Kerry’s cadence and general delivery). Fineman and Andrea Mitchell were quite dismissive of Scaraborough’s comments, noting that delivery doesn’t matter, but rather the words matter (not only is that not the way they cover Bush speeches, it really ignores the fact that both the words and the delivery matter).

    The thing that struck me about the interchange at the time, and that is driven home by Fineman’s entry (e.g., “Joe Scaraborough presumed to give us all a lecture"), is that Fineman and Mitchell weren’t exactly treating Scaraborough as a serious member of the panel (which was chaired by Chris Matthews and also included Willie Brown). Instead he was clearly the token conservative on the panel, and wasnt supposed to overly rain on the Democrat’s parade. It really should embarass Fineman who was there as an analyst, not a booster for the Kerry campaign (and unlike Professor Doctor John Lemon, I tend to think Fineman does a good job, although he has seemed a bit more agressive vis-a-vis Bush of late).

    And I certainly do not think that Fineman had to have a negative view of the speech because he was there as an analyst-he could legitmately have had a positive view. However, to get ticked because Scaraborough didn’t like the speech and “presumed” to share his views (which is what he was there for) came across as biased to me. At a minimum he seemed to be treating Scarborough as an interloper who shouldn’t have been allowed to crash the Hardball inner circle.

    Update: A thought I forgot to include: I am not sure that a “solid double” does it. Weren’t we told by the chattering class in the lead-up to the speech that Kerry needed a home run?

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    Ridge to Resign if Bush Re-elected?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:46 am

    Barry Ritholtz notes via e-mail that Security czar Ridge weighs resigning after election

    To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me. It is a stressful and largely thankless job.

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    Reporting for Duty

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

    This is what came to mind last night. (In fact, the image that specifically came to mind was that of Gilligan saluting during the theme song when the song tells us “The mate was a mighty sailing man"-however, I couldn’t find a picture of that).

    Update: Jeff Jarvis has another photographic juxtaposition.

    Update II:protein wisdom has another comparison (hat tip: Mark the Pundit)

    Update III: Included in the OTB Traffic Jam.

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    PoliColumn at TCS

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

    TCS: Campaign Finance Deform.

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    • Outside The Beltway � linked with Campaign Finance Idiocy
    Bite-Size Toast for Thurday Night

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

    Bite-Size Toast: A Supplement to this week’s Toast-o-Meter


    The week so far:

  • The Pre-DNC Toast-O-Meter.
  • Bite-Sized Toast for Monday/Tuesday.
  • Bite-Size Toast: Recapping Wednesday in Boston


    Assessment: This was a well-managed convention in terms of mechanics. However, I am unclear as to what idea, thought, or theme will resonate beyond the Fleet Center into the electorate. More specifically: what happened this week that will persuade the undecideds that Kerry should be the Commander-in-Chief during this time of international conflict.

    The early signs are that the Democrats will get a small bump in the polls: Zogby Poll Shows Democratic Ticket Up 5 Points. I will be most surprised if the bump is much more than 5 points or if it lasts long. Indeed, Kerry-Edwards ought to get some bump just from the fact that this past week has been All Kerry All the Time (as is fair).

    Still, despite the mechanical success of the convention, I don’t see this convention creating a substantially different view of Kerry amongst the undecideds than they had prior to the convention. If that assessment is correct, then the convention was a failure. Kerry was supposed to give the Speech of His Life last night, and I don’t think he did. It was an adequate speech, but it was hardly an awe-inspiring one. If voters didn’t know Kerry before the convention, what new thing do they know now? That he served in Viet Nam? Please: the technologically deprived denizens of the Amazon jungle know that by now.

    As such, I don’t see a lot of heat being generated by the convention itself, or the speech. It may jazz up those already predisposed to vote for Kerry, but they were jazzed up already just because they get to vote against Bush in November. As such, the convention did not really further Kerry’s goal of turning Bush into Texas Toast in any substantial way. I still think that the breaking point for this election season will be the debates.

  • My live-blogging of last night can be found here and here.

  • Here’s Dale Franks of QandO’s views of Kerry’s Night.
  • Stephen Green’s observations aren’t to be missed. (Start here and follow the trail).

    The Film

  • Roger L. Simon wasn’t impressed with the Kerry flick.

    The Speech

    Editorial Pages

  • The editorial page of WaPo, (in a piece entitled “Missed Opportunity"): “while he may have been politically effective, he fell short of demonstrating the kind of leadership the nation needs.
  • The NYT editorial was more positive than WaPo’s: “As an introduction to the candidates, the Democratic convention, on the whole, did its job.”
  • The LAT’s piece starts with sarcasm: “Over four days of the Democratic convention, we have come to suspect that John F. Kerry may have served in Vietnam.” From there it goes on to praise the Democrats for displaying faith and flag at the convention, as well as being organized. However, I maintain that if the goal was to appeal to truly religious voters, the chide about wearing religion on one’s sleeve and Kerry’s statement that he was saved in Viet Nam by the “grace of a Higher Being” ain’t gonna cut it. That may sound really religious to a non-religious audience, but it will sound hollow to a truly religious ear.

    The basic assessment by the LAT editorial writers is positive, calling last night’s event a “brilliantly crafted acceptance speech.”

  • USAT points out: “Trouble is, Kerry leaves Boston still not having formed in voters’ minds an image of where he’d take the nation on its most urgent issues: the war on terrorism and resolving the mess that is the U.S. situation in Iraq. So far, his policies sound a lot like those of President Bush.”
  • The Dallas Morning News: “All in all, it was an impressive performance and one that should serve Mr. Kerry well in his quest for the White House.”

    Mainstream Analysis/Columnists

    The analysis piece in WaPo, A Challenge to the GOP on Values, Security, aptly notes the following:

    There were notable omissions in Kerry’s speech, however, that raise questions about the course he and his party have chosen for the campaign. Like other speakers during the four nights of the convention, Kerry only briefly touched on Iraq, the issue that has shaped and dominated this presidential campaign, divided the Democratic Party and at times bedeviled his own candidacy. At a time when many Americans are looking for an exit strategy and may wonder whether Kerry has a plan for Iraq that is different from Bush’s, he offered only the assurance that he knows how to get it right.

    Nor did Kerry or running mate John Edwards use their speeches this week to confront their opponents directly or persuasively argue the case for turning out the administration. His advisers believe the public already is looking to replace Bush and needs only to find a level of comfort with Kerry to change presidents. They may be correct, but that too is a gamble, for there will be no better opportunity to make that case before the fall debates.

    And I think that this is a correct assessment:

    Still unanswered is how Kerry plans to keep all his promises for new programs and tax cuts and still meet his pledge to cut the soaring deficit in half in four years.

    While I know that for a large block of voters, change is the goal, but I still wonder as to the degree to which this “we can do better, but I won’t say how” theme will persuade the undecided.

  • Howard Kurtz: Kerry Wows the Media.
  • Thomas Oliphant, writing in BoGlo: Rushed speech, lost opportunity.
  • The LAT’s Ron Brownstein: “Sen. John F. Kerry capped a Democratic convention centered on his Vietnam experiences with an acceptance speech that seemed the political equivalent of a surprise attack on an enemy’s strongest point.” To which I say: HUH?! Did we watch the same speech?
  • Lawrence Kaplan at The New Republic Online
    And when he did get around to discussing the matter of our national survival, he basically took a page from the post-Vietnam playbook favored by an earlier generation of Democrats. “We shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad,” the candidate declared to rousing applause, “and shutting them down in the United States of America.” Suggesting that Europeans won’t send troops to Iraq simply because they can’t stand his opponent, Kerry promised to be nicer to our allies so we could “bring our troops home.” Unlike, say, in Bosnia, he pledged to go to war “only because we have to.” Leaving unsaid exactly by whom and at what cost, he dedicated himself to making America “respected in the world.” Finally, and without saying precisely what it is, Kerry said he knows “what we have to do in Iraq.” He has a plan, you see. Just like a candidate from long ago claimed to have a plan to end a war-the war that put Kerry on the stage last night and which, for him at least, wasn’t so long ago at all.

    Blogospheric Reaction

  • James Joyner (who also has a Blogospheric round-up): “"Like the John Edwards speech the previous evening, this was almost entirely strung together bits from his standard stump speech.”
  • Kevin Drum: “My take: not bad, but not a slam dunk killer either. Some of the notes it hit were pretty good, a few were oddly off key, and the second half had a bit of a laundry list quality to it. Overall, though, it was at the high end of workmanlike and did what it had to do.”
  • Glenn Reynolds: “A not-bad speech, badly delivered. It was short on substance, and long on cliches, but nomination acceptance speeches often are. It was too long, and his delivery was rushed. The sweating and bizarre gestures didn’t help. I don’t think it will swing the momentum in his favor, which is what he needed. It may turn some people off.”
  • Matthew Yglesias: “To put it politely, I thought that was crap.” More specifically:
    Mainly, I’m pissed about Iraq. How to handle Iraq is the most important question facing the president and he just punted. On other looming foreign policy issues (Iran, North Korea, Sudan) where, again, the president can pretty much do whatever he wants we are left with no idea of what a President Kerry would want to do. Nor do we even have a particularly smart backward-looking critique of the Iraq War.

  • Michelle Malkin opines that Teresa helped him write the speech.

  • Andrew Sullivan: “it was a B - performance, not as disastrous as Al Gore’s rant in 2000, but nowhere near the level of the best. I mean, even Dole was better eight years ago. Some of it was so pompous and self-congratulatory I almost gagged.”
  • Chad Edwards assesses the speech here.
  • Kevin Alyward’s thoughts are here.
  • Pieter Dorsman was prepared to be impressed. but doesn’t sound like he was.
  • Viking Pundit has a mini-round-up.
  • Bryan of Arguing with Signposts has his reaction from a media room at the convention itself.
  • Robert Tagorda reacts here, given special attention to Kerry’s economic policy proposals.

  • Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(3)
    • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Convention Round-Up
    • The Moderate Voice linked with Did John Kerry's Speech Advance His Campaign?
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Reaction To Kerry's Acceptance Speech
    Is This a Bit Paranoid?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    Wrote Kevin Drum yesterday:

    Four weeks ago, John Judis, Spencer Ackerman, and Massoud Ansari reported in The New Republic that the administration was turning the screws on the Pakistanis to round up an al-Qaeda bigshot before the election. That seemed plausible to me, but the additional specification that they had been told the capture should be announced on “the first three days of the Democratic National Convention” seemed like a bit of a stretch.

    Silly me. The Pakistanis, apparently eager to please, have done their part right on time.

    Scary, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to get measured for a tinfoil hat after all.

    Given that most people probably didn’t even know about the arrest (it hardly preempted convention coverage), I have a hard time buying into this theory. Really, this is a major arrest that was over-shadowed by the convention, not the other way around. Surely it would have been politically better for the administraton to have this information come out next week.

    Only the arrest of Osama would have been enough to disrupt coverage of the DNC.

    Further, when the reaction to a major arrest in the war on terror (the 1998 bombings killed over 200 people) is “see: Republican dirty tricks” it is clear that one has been overly consumed with partisanship.

    And I reiterate: if the goal here was to disrupt “Kerry’s Night” it was a miserable failure.

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    Report of Suicide Attacks in Uzbekistan

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

    Blasts Said to Hit U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Uzbekistan

    Explosions struck the U.S. and Israeli embassies and the prosecutor’s office in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on Friday, causing a number of casualties.

    “An explosion has occurred outside the prosecutor’s office,'’ said Svetlana Ardykova, head of the prosecution’s press service.

    Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted an official at the U.S. embassy as saying the blast had been caused by a suicide bomber with explosives attached to his waist.

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    Thursday, July 29, 2004
    Gilligan for President

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 pm

    Based on Taylor’s Iron Law of Political Speeches, I am guessing that we are going to hear that “My name is John Kerry and I am reporting for duty” line over and over. Unfortunately it was more evocative of Gilligan than it was of the Commander in Chief.

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    • Peaktalk linked with THE UNNATURAL OR: THE KERRY SPEECH
    Pilfering Parts for his Speech

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 pm

    I noted several cases of semi-plagiarism in Kerry’s speech:

  • The flag (this flag belongs to all of us) bit was from Howard Dean’s stump speech.
  • The “help is on the way” bit was a line from Cheney’s 2000 convention speech and was a duplicate of what Edwards did last night with his “hope is on the way” riff (and Edwards’ had more energy)
  • The bit about wearing religion on one’s sleeve is from the Ron Reagan eulogy of Ronald Reagan.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:54 pm

    I must agree with Stephen Green, quoting Kerry, and then responding:

    “A threat that is real and eminent”

    So much for preemptive war - a goddamn tragic necessity in the age of terror.

    John Kerry isn’t serious about this war. Iraq was a battle, not the war. He won’t initiate any other battles; he’ll only respond. He just said so.

    Nobody who is serious about protecting the US today can vote for this guy.


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    Yet Another Live Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 pm

    Stephen Green is live blogging as well, startinghere (that’s entry number 1, and he is over two dozen at this point).

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    More Live Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:35 pm

    Dal Franks at QandO is living blogging as well.

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    Live Convention Blogging II (The Kerry Part)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

    The Entrance: Not as silly as Bill’s tunnel entrance a few year’s back, bit still not what it was billed to be.

    Opening Line: “I’m John Kerry, and I am reporting for duty.” Oh, my.

    “Home” I was afraid that he was about to break into a rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound.

    The Hospital “I was born in the west wing.” Hylarious.

    9:18 central The man isn’t exactly oozing with energy, now is he?

    9:19 central He brought peace to Viet Nam? Did I just hear that properly?

    9:21 Oh yes, John Kerry: man of sunny optimism. And enough with the idea that the Democrats created all those jobs in the 90s. Note to the Senator: the government doesn’t run the economy. Indeed, the fact that even pretends to think that is the case is sufficient reason not to vote for the man.

    9:31: If he won’t give any nation a veto over US security policy, yet he claims the main problem with the Bush foreign policy is that isn’t sufficiently multilateral, does that mean that ultimately he will go it alone, if he thinks it is necessary? And if so, how is he any different than Bush?

    And is he saying that he will only use military force once we have been attacked? Does that mean adopting a more law enforcement posture in the war on terror?

    9:37 He stole that flag line from Dean’s old stump speeches.

    9:39 Taking cop offs the streets to give tax breaks to Enron-who writes this stuff?? And “taking up a colelction for body armor"? The name didn’t vote for the bill that would have funded more body armor. My gosh.

    9:41 “Help is on the way” now he’s stealing from Cheney (okay, it was only one line in his 2000 convention speech, but still)? And te crowd isn’t into it-Edwards had a far better response last night.

    9:50 He’s looking a tad sweaty at this point.

    9:53 More stealing: he took the “wearing religion on my sleeve” line from Ron Reagan’s eulogy of his father.

    The End: If this was supposed to be “the speech of his life” I don’t think he delivered.

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    Live Convention Blogging, Part I

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 pm

    This will be a single pre-Kerry Speech, live-blogging post that I will update as I watch. I suspect I will switch to a second Kerry-specific post.

    First Comment (Vanessa): Not to be overly critical, nor to suggest this a Democratic/Kerry phenom, but clearly being the family member of a big time politician clearly does not equate to being a particularly good public speaker.

    Alexandra I: Alexandra is a far better speaker than her sister. Although, wowie, it didn’t take long for the Viet Nam comments to start. Gee whiz.

    Alexandra II: Ya gotta love the semi-veiled reference to abortion rights. And I am so weary of the suggestion that Republicans don’t want children to have clean water and clean air. Yes, I want my kids to breath smog and drink swamp swill.

    The Film: I have no reason to denigrate Kerry’s service, but the focus on a relatively small slice of his slice continues to strike me as an over-focus on a small slice, albeit a significant one, of an overall career. Especially given that his political career is like a blip in comparison. And let’s face facts: his political career is far more significant than his military one in terms his qualifications for the presidency.

    Kerry quote from the video-"I’m alive today through the grace of a higher being"-gee, way to take a stand for one’s faith.

    Said the narrator (Morgan Freeman): in the Senate Kerry “became known as a foreign policy expert"-that’s news to me. I have never though of him as such, even well before he ran for President.

    Kerry: “I decided to run for President because I was frustrated.” This is supposed to be a compelling reason to elect him to the presidency of the United States?

    Film II: Indeed, if the time devoted to specific elements of Kerry’s life in the film were proportionate to the time that element actually occupied in his real life, then the conclusion to draw would be that Kerry was a careerist in the military who only lately got involved in politics.

    The Band of Brothers: OK, nothing wrong with them being there and supporting Kerry. That is fully legitimate. However, I would like to see the press treat those who served with Kerry, but don’t think he should be President a tad more respect. It is as if the pro-Kerry veterans are pure and perfect in their motivations, yet the anti-Kerry are considered suspect and shady.

    Max Cleland: Senator Cleland deserves a great deal of respect, if anything for his service to his country and for the fact that he overcame is injuries and lived a successful life in spite of them. However, again with the litany of horrors (bad schools, etc.) that the Republicans would visit upon us.

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    Faux PoliBlog Update VI

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 pm

    The The Seattle Times has changed their blog’s name to “Behind the Curtain.” Here’s their post announcing such:

    Worried we’re a threat to his brand, the Poliblog in Alabama has asked we change our name.

    So we are.

    Behind the Curtain.

    Is it just me, or is that a bit snippy (not to mention a rather incomplete rendition of the situation)?

    Further, I am tired of being referred to as “the Poliblog in Alabama".

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    A Word of Advice: Avoid AT&T Wireless

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:58 pm

    Don’t do business with AT&T Wireless.

    I am too hacked off at the moment to go into the details, but it will make me feel at least a little better to know that my message will hopefully reach a significant number of eyeballs.

    Cell phone customer service is clearly an oxymoron, but AT&T has manged to take that fact to new heights.

    Feel free to link this message at will.

    I have included this post in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    Embassy Bombing Suspect Arrested

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:10 pm

    While reports today that Zarqawi was captured ended up to be false, it looks like there is some good news in the war on terror after all. ABC News is reporting: Pakistan Arrests Embassies Bomb Suspect

    Pakistan has arrested Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian al-Qaida suspect with a $5 million reward on his head in connection with the dual 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the interior minister said Friday.

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    Questions for Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

    New England Republican has five good ones.

    I would add another: if the Democratic Party is the part of the positive and true, why has it embraced Michael Moore?

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    Some Ketchup to Go with your Toast

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:59 pm

    I forgot to post this last night: Kerry’s House of Ketchup #21.

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    Bite-Size Toast: Recapping Wednesday in Boston

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:09 am

    Bite-Size Toast: A Supplement to this week’s Toast-o-meter


    It still appears that no bounce-producing heat has emanated from Boston.

    The week so far:

  • The Pre-DNC Toast-O-Meter.
  • The Bite Sized Toast fort Monday/Tuesday.


  • Kerry rides a Swift Boat water taxi into town: Kerry Returns to Boston With ‘Band of Brothers’.
  • Said the BoGlo: An election with echoes of the ’60s.
  • Viet Nam Fatigue? Writes Kevin Drum:
    It turns out that even my wife is tired of hearing the electrifying news that John Kerry volunteered to go to Vietnam after he finished college. I know why it’s being done, and I’m sure it’s a good idea and all, but I have to admit that they’ve been laying it on pretty thick tonight.


  • If you are looking for full texts, excerpts and video of the speeches, go here.
  • Jay Solo at Accidental Verbosity has a Blogospheric round-up of convention reactions.


  • Said Letterman last night: “Here are the side effects when Dennis Kucinich speaks: drowsiness, headache and sexual dysfunction.”


  • Notes the NYT: Long an Outsider, Sharpton Wins Insiders’ Favor. To which I reply: there’s a reason why he used to be on the outside-and his speech tended to indicate that there is where he belongs.
  • CBS News notes: Standing Ovation For Al Sharpton.

  • Michelle Malkin had some pre-speech words and links on Sharpton.

  • James Joyner wasn’t exactly impressed with Rev. Al.


  • WaPo: Kerry’s Nomination Is Official.
  • The NYT: Edwards Gives Strong Tribute as Democrats Nominate Kerry
  • My basic reaction to the Edwards’ speech is here.
  • I still maintain that John Edwards’ life contradcits his message. More on my thoughts on that topic here.
  • James Joyner thinks that Edwards was caught up in a time warp.
  • Chad Evans has a lengthy analysis of Edwards’ speech.
  • A Single Southern Guy in America pondersEdwards’ forgotten speech.
  • McQ has Edwards quotes from Day III.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:58 am

    Kerry Acceptance Speech to Display Vietnam Experience.

    Man! Those WaPo reporters are good! I smell a Pulitzer.

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    More Critiquing of Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:29 am

    Edwards Gives Strong Tribute as Democrats Nominate Kerry

    The heart of Mr. Edwards’s speech was the theme he sounded throughout his primary campaign, that “we still live in a country where there are two different Americas,” one for people who “are set for life,” the other for “most Americans who live from paycheck to paycheck.” He proudly recounted his own rise as the son of a millworker, paying tribute to his emotional parents in the convention hall, and made the case for a return to Democratic economic and domestic policies to “build one America.”

    I know I am beating a dead horse here, but isn’t the fundamental story here that if you work hard in America your children can do better than you can? Yes, even in America the Son of a MillworkerTM can grow up, become a multi0millionaire attoreny, become a US Senator and be the nominee for Vice President for a major political party? Not to mention that the Son of a MIll WorkerTM can send his daughter to Princeton?

    Does it cause great angst around the Edwards’ household that his kids live in a different “America” than the one Edwards’ supposedly grew up in?

    Doesn’t Edwards’ own experience contradict the following from the text f his own speech?

    Hard work should be valued in this country. So we’re going to reward work, not just wealth. We don’t want people to just get by; we want people to get ahead.

    Quite frankly, the pro-entitlement menality of the Democratic Party would seem to me to work against the idea that hard work should be valued.

    This line of reasoning continues to vex me, to say the least.

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    Wednesday, July 28, 2004
    The Contradiction that is Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 pm

    I still maintain that I don’t understand why Edwards isn’t example of how one is rewarded by hard work in the United States, rather than being the Man Who Sees Two Americas.

    Of course, I’ve said it before and I suspect I’ll say it again-and I still won’t get it.

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    Edwards: “Hope is on the Way” (More Speech Blogging)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 pm

    Ok, so if we elect Kerry-Edwards, people will never have any bills to pay, we won’t have to work long hours ever again, and there wil be no more dangerous wars?

    And I suppose everyone gets a pony, too?

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    Convention Blogging: Edwards’ Various Americas

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:47 pm

    Kevin Alyward is afraid that Edwards lost one of his Americas in his speech tonight-rest assured, that he found them later in his speech.

    I must say, I tire of this idea that most of us live on the brink of utter ruin.

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    Forget Kerry-Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 pm

    Shouldn’t the bumper stickers simply say “Viet Nam Vet-Mill Worker’s Son for President"?

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    • The American Mind linked with Kerry's House of Ketchup #22
    Burn, Baby, Burn (It’s a TechoInferno)

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:14 pm

    King of Fools has the latest Bonfire of the Vanities and it is either a trip down memory lane, or a trip to a museum (depends on one’s age).

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    Mama T

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:31 pm

    From the National Journal’s convention e-mail alert:

    So Does That Make Kerry Papa K?
    We followed Teresa Heinz Kerry for hours today, hoping for a “shove it” sequel. And while the outspoken Kerry didn’t drop any bombshells, a new nickname may have taken hold.

    Addressing the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus meeting, the would-be first lady said: “If nothing else, you will have a mom in the White House… You can call your Mama T. at anytime.” That seemed to please the crowd, which responded with an extended chant of “Mama T., Mama T., Mama T…”

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    • The American Mind linked with Kerry's House of Ketchup #21
    • The American Mind linked with Kerry's House of Ketchup #21
    But Can it Talk?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:58 pm

    Used KITT for Sale

    The “highly modified” 1983 Pontiac Trans Am, which costarred with the suitably buff Hasselhoff on NBC’s Knight Rider from 1982 to ‘86, is among the nearly 500 Hollywood trinkets, treasures and Ten Commandments tablets going up on the auction block Friday.

    Joseph M. Maddalena of the Beverly Hills-based memorabilia dealer Profiles in History said he expects bidding on KITT to open at $35,000.

    Sadly, the car isn’t street legal.

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    Are the Dems Hurting for Actual Speakers?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:55 pm

    Twelve-Year-Old Wows Convention Delegates

    Twelve-year-old Ilana Wexler had some advice for Vice President Dick Cheney


    With her high-pitched delivery and breathy enthusiasm, the seventh-grader from Oakland, Calif., wowed the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night. And when she chided Cheney for using a four-letter expletive in an exchange with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), she brought delegates roaring to their feet.

    “When our vice president had a disagreement with a Democratic senator, he used a really bad word,” Ilana said. “If I said that word, I would be put in a timeout. I think he should be put in a timeout.”

    Ilana, who founded a grassroots group called, was rewarded last week with a phone call from Teresa Heinz Kerry inviting her to address the delegates.

    Ilana recounted how she skipped camp this year to work for the Kerry campaign full time, and how she liked Kerry’s commitment to education, America and kids.

    Ok, I must admit, amusing after a fashion. However, having a twleve year old skip camp to campaign for Kerry)or anyone, for that matter) seems a bit much.

    Still: kudos to the kid for having the wherewithall to address that many people in public.

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    My Kind of Deaniac (More Logic, Less Screaming)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:23 pm

    Dean Esmay is on fire today at Dean’s World. I am not sure if the Queen slipped him extra caffeine this morning of if the DNC has simple got him jazzed up and ready for verbal battle.

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    More Kidnappings in Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:17 am

    Jeff Quinton reports.

    This is starting to remind me more and more of Colombia every day.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Ramadi Governor's Sons Kidnapped
    Bite-Size Toast: A DNC Convention Update (Fortifying your Daily Political Analysis)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

    Bite-Size Toast: A Supplement to this week’s Toast-o-meter


    Rather than wait until the end of the week, when the news would be, well, stale, here’s a bite-sized version (ok, actually it is practically a loaf in and of itself) detailing the first two nights of the DNC. More bite-size toast tomorrow examining tonight’s festivities.

    Initial assessments: the convention’s first two nights have been a tad lukewarm, and hence so far have not been able to toast President Bush in any substantial sense (one guesses that Mr. Bush is feeling more heat from the Texas sun than he has, to date, from the convention). Indeed, Bush may be feeling more immediate heat from Michael Moore.

    I remain unconvinced that the “play it nice/don’t overtly bash Bush” strategy is all that wise. First, it assumes that Kerry has the lead, which is by no means the case (neither of them can claim a lead at this point). Second, the lack of passion isn’t good for the base (which plays to issues such as turn-out, which will be key this year, especially if the tie we see in the polls persists to election day).

    Indeed, Kerry, though confident, could be feeling a tad warm from his own base. For example, this is not the kind of headline Kerry is hoping for, but I guess hell take it: Many in Boston Will Settle for Boring Over Bush.

    And along those lines, Betsy Newmark share the following:

    Mickey Kaus records an actual conversation overheard in a cab.
    Passenger: “Fleet Center, please.”

    Boston cab driver (an immigrant): “You like John Kerry, eh?”

    Passenger: “Well, I’m a Democrat but I don’t really like Kerry that much.”

    Cab driver: “I hear that all day. All day. ‘I don’t like Kerry.’ Why you pick him if you don’t like him?”

    And here’s the re-cap of the first two nights of the convention:


    The big stories on Monday were:

  • Kerry throws out the first pitch at the Red Sox-Yankees’ game (I won’t mention that he didn’t get the ball to the plate…).
  • Mrs. Heinz-Kerry tells reporter to “stuff it". (No word on if Edwards uttered the phrase “Big Time” in relationship to this event). See OTB and and The Moderate Voice for details.

    The Speeches:

  • McQ has a list of Convention Quotes - Night 1.


  • CNN: Carter calls on Americans to repudiate ‘extremist doctrines’.
  • Kevin Alyward, blogging live from the DNC, comments on Jimmy Carter.
  • Is it just me: is having Carter lecturing us on the economy and foreign policy a tad much?


  • In the “Gore just can’t win” category: MSNBC reported that
    Al Gore’s speech was basically torn up, according to two sources, and is now being rewritten, presumably to fit more closely with the party line.

  • On balance, Gore was fine but really, a tad unenergetic.


  • Kevin Drum noted that her speech met with a “tepid” response.


  • As Reuters put it: Clinton Still the Star as He Stumps for Kerry.
  • Said the Denver Post: Clinton revs up Dems.


    The big story on Tuesday was, of course, the Bunny suit and the ensuing BunnyGate.

    Republicans were touting a poll showing Kerry Weakening on Issues, Attributes. Paul at Wizbang blogged the details.

    Some other general stories:

  • On the 2nd Night, Unity Is the Theme for the Democrats (the NYT).
  • WaPo had a near-identical take: Democrats Focus on Healing Divisions.
  • Letterman, after listing the night’s speakers (Teddy, Dean, Teresa), referred to it as “Loose Cannon Tuesday”
  • Here’s CNN’s recap of the night’s speeches: Kerry will restore hope - Jul 28, 2004


  • N.Z. Bear wonders about Teddy’s sense of humor.

    Ron Reagan

  • Ramesh Ponnuru On Ron Reagan & Democratic Convention.


  • Kevin Alyward notes the advent of Obamania.
  • Sully was favorably impressed with Obama.
  • As was Amy Sullivan, guest-blogging at Political Animal. Short version of Sullivan’s lengthy post: “He rocked.”
  • Kevin Drum liked him, too.
  • Even Crush Kerry gave Obama an “A+” for helping Kerry and an “F” in terms of his speech helping Bush.


  • Here’s the Boston Heralds’s take: Teresa relishes moment: Heinz Kerry touts her right to be outspoken.
  • Joe Gandelman has extension comments on Mrs. H-K’s speech.
  • Sully discusses what he terms “The Teresa Problem”.

    Update: cross-posted at Blogs for Bush.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

    Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 68 in Iraq Attack

    A minibus packed with explosives blew up near a police station and a market north of Baghdad Wednesday, killing 68 people and wounding 30 in the worst attack since the handover of power exactly one month ago.

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    Quote of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 am

    “At least we have freedom now. My brother was executed by Saddam in 1983, and when I bought a satellite receiver in 2000, I was always terrified of a knock on the door [because such devices were illegal]. People should be patient and give the government time to work on these problems. Compared to the past, a little hot weather is nothing.”

    -Haider Jawad, 40, an electrician

    Source: WaPo

    Hat tip: Outside The Beltway

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    They Should’ve Gone with Optical Scan

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    Lost Record of Vote in ‘02 Florida Race Raises ‘04 Concern

    Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.

    The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

    Lovely. As I have noted before, the rush to touch-screens was a foolish one-the best response to a mess like Florida 2000 is not to leap forward to the latest (and largely untested) technology. Further, if the issue was voter confusion, did they really think that people who can’t adequately punch a stylus through a piece of flimsy cardboard are going to have an easier time with computers?

    Update: James Joyner echoes my sentiments, and rightly notes that the optical scan system used in almost every county in Alabama is a far preferable system. An additional bonus of the system in question: when one inserts the ballot into the ballot box, it scans the ballot to see if you have engaged in any overvoting (i.e., voting twice for the same office). If you do so, it spits the ballot back at you so you can fix it. And Stephen Green rightly notes that the problem appears to one of simply getting the proper back-up system in place.

    Still, the move to high-tech voting is going to actually fuel the conspiracy-minded, as they will treat it in their own minds as some kind of voodoo that the Powers That Be can manipulate, rather than the cutting edge.

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    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:11 pm

    Glenn has the run-down on BunnyGate and pretty much puts to rest Cahill’s assertion that the photos were part of a dirty trick.

    Indeed, given the number of pictures that were available on the wires this morning, it hardly seemed llike a leak-indeed, I thought it was simply an ill-advised photo op.

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    Bloggers Select History’s Impact Players

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:47 pm

    John Hawkins has polled bloggers to compile a list of History’s Biggest Impact Players.

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    I Couldn’t Believe my Ears

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 pm

    Mary Beth Cahill, of the Kerry campaign, was on Special Report with Brit Hume this afternoon and stated that Ron Reagan was going to be “crossing party lines” to address the Democrats this evening.

    Either Ms. Cahill has been living in a cave since before the Reagan administration, or she thinks we all have. It was obvious when Reagan was president and it certainly has been obvious since Mr. Reagan left office that Ron Reagan may be many things, but he has never been a Republican.

    “Crossing party lines.” Yeah, right.

    (She was also complaining that the pics of Kerry in the spacesuit weren’t supposed to exist and that someone “leaked” them and implied it was a dirty trick of some kind. NASA apparently has a different interpretation of the story).

    Update: As Michael Reagan pointed out in an interview I saw later in the day, and as a reader noted in the comments section, Ron Reagan was a Green supporter in 2000. So technically he crossed party lines. However, I am not sure that that was Cahill’s implication. In US political parlance, “crossing party lines” tends to refer to Dems and Reps. And when one is speaking about a Reagan, the Green Party hardly leaps to mind.

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    Umm, They Were an Investigative Panel…

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

    …so how would keeping them around do any good? It isn’t as if they have any enforcement powers.

    Kerry Urges More Time for 9/11 Panel.

    Senator Kerry ought to well know that the implementation of the panel’s recommendations will mostly have to grow through the legislative process.

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    What’s With Big Media and Google?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:26 pm

    As I have observed, the Seattle Times would never have made the mistake of using the name “PoliBlog” had they just googled the word.

    Likewise, I figured out who Amy Richards was via Google not long after I read the her hideous tale in the NYT magazine. Yet it would appear that folks at the NYT don’t know how to Google either.

    Perhaps it goes along with the Times moniker?

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    Man! I Sure do Feel Drowsy After that Lunch!

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:33 pm

    Indian school serves curry with spirits, marijuana to students

    A state-run primary school in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh resorted to stirring spirits and marijuana into the school lunch to keep meals tasty, a report said.


    “It was found that liquor was added to (the water) to prepare rice and ‘bhang’ to dal (a spicy lentil dish) to make it tasty,” said Manish Kumar Tyagi, the district collector of Mahasamund.

    Bhang is derived from the male marijuana plant.

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    • Modulator linked with Where Shall we Have Lunch Today?
    Being Followed by the Press All the Time Must be Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:30 pm

    Bush Takes Another Tumble on Mountain Bike

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    North Texas Muslim Charity Cahrged with Aiding Terrorists

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:47 am

    Muslim charity in North Texas indicted on terror-related charges

    A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday charges a Muslim charity and seven men with conspiracy and dealing with terrorists.

    The Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was named in the 42-count indictment. Attorney General John Ashcroft and senior FBI officials planned a news conference later Tuesday in Washington to discuss details of the indictment.

    The indictment alleges one count of conspiracy, 11 counts of providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, one count of conspiracy to deal in the property of a terrorist, 12 counts of dealing in the property of a specially designated terrorist.

    The indictment also alleges money laundering, conspiracy to impede an investigation by the IRS and filing false tax returns.

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    Kerry Joins Starfleet (TOS Edition)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:01 am

    Keeping up my image as the political analyst with the Trek edge, I bring you the following comparison:

    I report, you decide.

    Update: Jay Solo has some observations on the topic as well. (ya gotta luv the Oompa Loompas).

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    • PoliBlog » What are the Handlers Thinking? linked with a pingback
    Convention Blogging: More on the Gore Speech

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

    According to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Gore didn’t give the speech he intended to give:

    So the word is out: the liberal wing of the party is being told to avoid any harsh rhetoric. That could already be affecting tonight’s headliners: last night, Al Gore’s speech was basically torn up, according to two sources, and is now being rewritten, presumably to fit more closely with the party line. The other challenge tonight is to avoid having two Democratic party stars.


    Hat tip:

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    Building Democracy in Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

    Stories like this one are quite encouraging, and do not get enough attention, especially on the nightly news: Early Steps, Maybe, Toward a Democracy in Iraq

    Caucuses like the one Dr. Abu-Raghif attended have been convening around Iraq to select roughly 1,000 delegates, who will hold a national conference in Baghdad in the next week.

    The concrete goal of the conference is to vote - openly and freely - on a 100-seat transitional council that will oversee the government of Iyad Allawi, the interim prime minister, until national elections are held in January. But the conference is also meant to function as an opportunity for a national dialogue, in which for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqis from all religions, regions and political and ethnic groups begin to discuss the way forward.

    Consider where these people were pre-invasion and where they appear to be heading now. The poetry-writing despot of Baghdad would hardly have ever allowed this type of activity.

    The article rightly notes the problems associated with the process: the security problem, and mechanical issues such as assuring adequate representation.

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    Spot the Irony

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 am

    From Bill Clinton’s Remarks to the Democratic National Convention

    On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the “right” people - their people - in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to. They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on important matters like health care and retirement security. Now since most Americans aren’t that far to the right, our friends have to portray us Democrats as simply unacceptable, lacking in strength and values; in other words, they need a divided America. But we don’t.

    Can you Spot the Irony? (I bet you can).

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    Problematic Punditry

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

    James Joyner has more info on why I can’t take Ann Coulter seriously.

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    Monday, July 26, 2004
    Convention Bloggging III

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 pm

    One thing’s for certain: Bill Clinton has more energy and charisma in his left hand than Kerry has in his whole body. And he has a far great facility with words and phrases in a speech.

    I think that he is wrong on most of what he says, but I will admit he says it a whoooole lot better than Kerry does.

    That whole cop thing really annoys me, because it isn’t the Federal government’s job to fund police officers in New York City or any other locality. I really wish these guys would read the Constitution.

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    Ron Reagan ain’t too Bright

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 pm

    He just claimed on MSNBC that “Gore won Florida” and that the media recounts showed that “in every recount, Gore won"-which is wholly false. In all the recount methods that the media engaged in, save one, Bush won.

    From the Conservative Network of Record, CNN, we have:

    If a recount of Florida’s disputed votes in last year’s close presidential election had been allowed to proceed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican George W. Bush still would have won the White House, two newspapers reported Wednesday.

    The Miami Herald and USA Today conducted a comprehensive review of 64,248 “undercounted” ballots in Florida’s 67 counties that ended last month.

    Their count showed that Bush’s razor-thin margin of 537 votes - certified in December by the Florida Secretary of State’s office - would have tripled to 1,665 votes if counted according to standards advocated by his Democratic rival, former Vice President Al Gore.

    “In the end, I think we probably confirmed that President Bush should have been president of the United States,” said Mark Seibel, the paper’s managing editor. “I think that it was worthwhile because so many people had questions about how the ballots had been handled and how the process had worked.”

    Gore won the media recount only vua one method, one Gore never asked for:

    Ironically, a tougher standard of counting only cleanly punched ballots advocated by many Republicans would have resulted in a Gore lead of just three votes, the newspaper reported

    Without getting into the basic problems with recounts, this situation simply shows that Mr. Reagan should follow the maxim: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you’re stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

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    • linked with An Open Letter to Gore
    Convention Blogging II

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 pm

    Gore’s speech was fine-and I think he has hit a number of the key Democratic talking points. Howeevr, in tryin gto put the kibbosh on the Bush-bashing, I think maybe the Kerry people have put too much of a muzzle on Gore. Clearly the crowd wants to get into the spirit of the event, but Gore is trying too hard not to get overly exuberant. The lack of energy on Gore’s part is quite evident.

    Further, a lot of it was the whole “we’ll do better by magic” quality of most of Kerry’s campaign (the whole “leadership” and “strength” schtick).

    I think he said more nice things about Bill Clinton tonight than he did the whole 2000 campaign.

    At least he didn’t make-out with Tipper.

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    • Rooftop Report linked with Gore's Speech
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    • Blogs for Bush linked with Rounding-Up The First Two Nights of the Convention
    Convention Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 pm

    I am time-delayed via TiVo, and am just now watching Gore.

    Three initial reactions:

    1) What’s up with that intro music and who chose it?

    2) Did they give Gore a valium? He’s gone from Fire-and-Brimstone Al to Open Mic at the Improv Al.

    3) Ok, humor is nice and all, but how many lame recount jokes can you tell in five minutes?

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    • linked with Convention Coverage
    • Rooftop Report linked with Gore's Speech
    • Rooftop Report linked with Gore's Speech
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    Faux PoliBlog Report V: Victory

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:40 pm

    I received a response from Stanley Farrar, the Managing Editor of the Seattle Times and they have agreed to change the name of their blog. Here’s the e-mail:

    Mr. Taylor

    Yes, because we’re a morning paper a couple of the editors with whom I had to touch base aren’t here until early afternoon but we’ve talked and decided we’ll change the name of our blog. We’ll have to vet a new name, arrange for someone in graphics to create new templates for the pages and change all the refs to it in print and online but I’m hoping that can be done within a day or two. I’ll keep you informed.


    Stanley Farrar
    Managing editor/

    So, it should be wholly settled this week. Thanks again for everyone’s support.

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    • Outside The Beltway � linked with Down to One PoliBlog
    • linked with The Good Guys Win One
    More Blogging in the Press

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:58 pm

    Web Scribes Join Political Conventions

    Look out Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings. There’s a new crop of reporters on the block, er, balcony. Welcome to “Bloggers’ Boulevard,” a section of the FleetCenter where independent Web scribes post their musings about the Democratic National Convention on personal Internet sites as events play out on the floor below them.

    So-called bloggers are in the hall covering a national political convention live for the first time ever, joining the estimated 15,000 traditional mainstream broadcast and print media staffers chronicling the event.

    Democrats accredited about 35 writers of Web logs or “blogs,” choosing from more than 200 applications, in an effort to expand the media bullhorn that will amplify the messages of the convention.

    I can’t decide if the traditional press is taking the blogging seriously or just treating it as a side-show. I tend to favor the latter categorization.

    And, why “so-called"?

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Is it time?
    Convention Condiments

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

    Sean Hackbarth has the latest House of Ketchup.

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    Yet Another Reason Why I Rarely Read Poetry

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:56 pm

    Saddam Writing Poetry in Prison

    My guess is that the stuff is like this poem Eddie Murphy recited as Mister Robinson back in the 80s on SNL:

    Images by Tyrone Greene (Performed by Eddie Murphy (date unknown))
    Dark and lonely on a summer’s night
    Kill my landlord
    Kill my landlord
    Watchdog barking
    Do he bite?
    Kill my landlord
    Kill my landlord
    Slip in his window
    Break his neck
    Then his house
    I start to wreck
    Got no reason What the heck
    Kill my Landlord
    Kill my landlord
    C-I-L-L my l a n d l o r d

    (It may not read funny, but it viewed funny)

    Just substitute “Bush” for “Landlord” and suspect that we are pretty close.

    Update: This poetic interlude is part of today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    • Legal XXX linked with What Kind Of Poetry Would Saddam Write?
    The Price of Being Sully

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:15 pm

    As did James Joyner and myself last year, Michelle Malkin ponders the cost of being Andrew Sullivan, blogger (she was inspired by Wunderkinder).

    I don’t mind if Sully wants to ask for cash, nor do I mind if people give it to him, but I must admit, I wonder at to whether the costs he is incurring comes anywhere near to the income he makes off the blog. One would think his ads would pay for hosting and bandwith. And while I know he has noted that blogging takes away from his writing time, I would note that on balance I have found blogging facilitates my writing, not the other way around (although I will grant that sometimes I get hung up on blogging, using time I ought to be using on writing projects). And for that matter, many bloggers produce more volume than Andrew does-OTB and PoliBlog being examples of such-and I know that James has a full time job, and last time I checked, I did as well (and OTB almost always outstrips me post-wise). I am not slamming Sullivan-just making an observation.

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    • Simon World linked with Enemablog
    Google is Proud of Their Stock

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

    Or so the per-share price of their IPO would indicate. Barry Ritholtz reports.

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    More Polling

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    Barry Ritholtz has some polling data from the WSJ that is worth a look.

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    Things I am Pretty Sure We Don’t Need

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:05 am

    The return of Devo, for example.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

    Kerry’s Wife Tells Reporter to ‘Shove It’

    Teresa Heinz Kerry urged her home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to American politics, then minutes later told a newspaperman to “shove it.”

    “We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics,” the wife of Sen. John Kerry told her fellow Pennsylvanians on Sunday night at a Massachusetts Statehouse reception.

    Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term “un-American,” according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE.

    Heinz Kerry said, “I didn’t say that” several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied: “You said something I didn’t say. Now shove it.”

    Update: James Joyner has far more extensive comments.

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    • The Moderate Voice linked with Question 4 U: Is The Political Class Suffering From Memory Loss? (OR Fun with John, Dick and Teresa)
    Permanent Toast

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 am

    If you want a permanent link to the Toast-O-Meter, it can be foundhere.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Another Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:32 am

    A blog I forgot to mention last night: Conservative and Right.

    My thanks to Grace for the link.

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    Faux PoliBlog Report IV

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

    Today I am supposed to hear back from the Managing Editor of the Seatle Times regarding their doppleganger blog which is currently using my name. I will post news when I have it.

    Meanwhile, my thanks to Stephen Bainbridge, James Joyner, Bryan of AWS (here and here), and to others who have sent supporting notes/made references to the situation on their blogs.

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    • Outside The Beltway � linked with Washington Post Best Blogs Contest
    Blogs in the News

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 am

    Daily Kos got a mention on NPR’s All Things Considered this morning-noting in a very brief snippet that the site had raised over 400k for the Democrats this campaign season.

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    The Power of Alabama Democrats

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 am

    I found this from yesterday’s Montgomery Advertsier to be a tad amusing:

    Members of the Alabama delegation will sit in the nosebleed seats at the Democratic National Convention, a measure of how little clout the state has in party politics this year.

    Delegation members will watch the convention speeches behind the seats reserved for Mississippi and next to the delegations from Guam and the Virgin Islands, whose residents aren’t allowed to vote for president.

    When you are behind Mississippi and next to Guam, you know you ain’t exactly important.

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    Sunday, July 25, 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:58 pm

    Thanks to the following for linking to PoliBlog. As per my linking policy, you link to me, I link to you, so each has been added to the reciprocal linkage list on the left-hand sidebar.

  • Dear Free World
  • my thoughts, without the penny charge
  • Speed of Thought…
  • Eye of the Storm
  • LeatherPenguin
  • She Who Will Be Obeyed!
  • blog

    Also, the following non-blog linked to me earlier this week:

  • Young Elephant

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    The Pre-DNC Toast-O-Meter

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 pm
    Just when you thought it had crumbled and blown away in the wind, it’s back!

    The Pre-Democratic Convention Toast-O-Meter is here!

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

    Handicapping of the Race for to be the next President of the United States.


    The true contest to either turn George W. Bush into Texas Toast, or John F. Kerry into

    Burnt French Toast has finally begun and the Toast-O-Meter is back in business to

    provide you with a weekly round-up of news and commentary links, as well as to assess

    the current state of the contest.

    This Week Reading on the the Toast-O-Meter: both Bush and Kerry are a nice shade of light brown, as they come into this week tied in the polls, and with neither enjoying a particular trend in one direction or another.

    Kerry remains unknown to many in the electorate an must come out of the bread box this week and introduce himself to the non-political junkies in the US. Meanwhile, President Bush is hanging out in Crawford, hoping that Kerry’s dough doesn’t rise too much after this week.


    The spin is already out. Earlier in July the GOP let it be known that they the expect the Democrats to get up to a 15 point bounce out of the convention while on Meet the Press on 7/25, Ed Rendell proclaimed that the Democrats already got their bounce out of the Edwards pick. So, the expectations game has been set in motion.

    Rightfully, the pundits have noted that this week is nothing more than an infomercial for Kerry and that he must get the attention of swing voters. Nothing all that new there.

    One amusing bit that I have noticed in the coverage is that the press nostalgia for conventions past is no longer about brokered fights about nominees (practically no one in the press is old enough to remember those), now it is over the Reagan-Ford negotiations in 1980. This is, of course, amusing, because that means that the key memory of “

    convention drama” had to do not with the nominee, but with the veep selection.

    The other bit of nostalgia to look for: the riots! such as 1968 and 1972.

    Here’s some of the pre-convention coverage:

  • Security is, of course, a major issue: Confusion reigns as security rules
  • Speaking of security, John Hawkins has a picture of one of the free speech areas at the convention.
  • Joe Gandelman blogging at Dean’s World has the low-down on convention bloggers.
  • Daniel W. Drezner comments on blogs and the convention as well.
  • Kevin Drum has more on bloggers at the convention as well.
  • I know that this is a relief for Kerry:

    2004-07-22-kucinich-kerry_x.htm">Kucinich endorses Kerry-I mean we wouldn’t want a

    floor fight or anything.

  • Bill Kristol has

    Opinion / Op-ed / What you won’t hear” href="


    pg=full"> 12 topics Democrats will duck at convention. (Note to Ralph: the reason we won’t hear that stuff is not because Kerry is in the pocket of coroporate America, but because your list is largely leftist tripe).

  • Kerry won’t have to worry about crossing any picket lines: Firefighters deal averts DNC picketlines
    Boston firefighters reached a contract agreement Sunday with the city after a marathon session of negotiations, averting union picketing at delegation welcoming parties for the Democratic National Convention

  • Kerry is going to have do some serious nuancing in regards to Iraq: Delegates Lean Left And Oppose the War
    NINE out of 10 of the Democratic delegates gathering in Boston this week think the United States should not have gone to war in Iraq and say the gains from the war were not worth the loss of American lives, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows.

    The delegates are much less supportive of the war than the public is over all, than Democratic voters generally are, and than is reflected by the more nuanced positions of Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, whom they will nominate this week for president and vice president.

  • Indeed, the same story notes that the convention floor audience and the audience he is going to have to try and reach with this convention, are two different entities:
    The delegates think of themselves � and Mr. Kerry, for that matter � as politically moderate.

    But on divisive social issues like abortion, the death penalty and gay marriage, the delegates are not only much more liberal than voters in general but substantially more liberal than typical Democratic voters. At every Democratic convention, the delegates hold more liberal positions than rank-and-file Democrats, just as Republican delegates

    are always more conservative than their voters. That is the nature of political activists.

  • And, the shocker of all schockers in pre-convention coverage: Media Say DNC Restroom Facilities Lacking (Hat tip: Dean’s World (Joe Gandelman))


  • Dave Wissing has the national numbers from all the sources that are fit to note, and, of course, RealClearPolitics has the averages.
  • The USAT/CNN poll has a statistical tie, with Kerry having the edge by 2 points among likely voters.
  • Kerry Has Strong Advantage Among Latino Voters:
    Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) holds a strong lead over President Bush among the nation’s Hispanic voters, with a majority rejecting the president’s handling of the economy and the war in Iraq, according to a survey by The Washington Post, Univision and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.

    At a time when Bush and Kerry are running about even among all registered voters, Kerry enjoys a 2 to 1 advantage over Bush among Latino registered voters. Hispanics give Bush lower approval ratings than the overall population does, and the poll shows that the bulk of the Latino community continues to identify with the Democratic Party.

  • James Joyner notes and analyzes the current polling that demonstates the polarization in the electorate.

    THE OL’ COLLEGE TRY (The Electoral College: That’s Where People Go to Learn to Vote, Right?)

  • here.

  • Dave Wissing has the state-by-state numbers and the E.C. projections.

  • Scott Elliot has his latest projections at, well, Election Projection.

    THAT AIN’T THE PRESIDENT’S JOB (Wherein we examine candidate promising things that ain’t

    the president’s job)

    Sure, it sounds nice, but… (just one entry this week):

  • Kerry to Tell Urban League He’d Fight Gang Violence

    If you come across a news story, commentary or blog entry that you think would be good for the Toast-O-Meter, please submit it to:

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    • The American Mind linked with Hurrah for Toast!
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with The Pre-Democratic Convention Toast-O-Meter
    • Mark the Pundit linked with The Toast-O-Meter Returns
    • Wizbang linked with Morning Toast
    • VodkaPundit linked with Handicapping
    • Priorities & Frivolities linked with Convention Preparations
    • linked with Toast-o-Meter Returns
    • The Moderate Voice linked with The Essential Political Guide Is Back
    • Blogs for Bush linked with Rounding-Up The First Two Nights of the Convention
    • Accidental Verbosity linked with Blogging Kerry and the Dems
    • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Convention Round-Up
    My News Consumption

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:49 pm

    Given all this talk about media, I thought I would detail my normal news- acquisition by category.

    Feel free to play along with your own list-and link back to this one if you do.

    1. Newspapers

    I peruse the NYT and WaPo daily. I also acquire basic news via the AP, Reuters and aggregations of the wires via Yahoo.

    The only dead tree newspaper I read is the local one: the Montgomery Advertiser.

    I frequently check out USAT and the LAT

    2. Television News and Commentary

    Daily/semi-daily: Special Report with Brit Hume, Hardball, Countdown with Keith Olberman.

    Occasionally: Dennis Miller, Kudlow and Kramer

    Sabbath Punditry: Weekly, Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, The Chris Matthews Show. Occassionally, This Week with George Stephanapolous and CNN’s Late Edition.

    During a major event (breaking news story, State of the Union, etc.) I tend to set up “base” on Fox or MSNBC and flip around to CNN and the broadcast networks

    I haven’t watched the network news on a regular basis since 1998-prior to that I often watched the ABC version more than any other.

    3. News/Opinion Magazines.

    I currently subscribe to Newsweek, and recently allowed a subscription to Time to lapse. I frequently read Slate as well.

    4. Radio

    -NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered largely daily.

    -Talk Radio: Michael Medved and Rush Limbaugh, semi-daily. I occasionally listen to Laura Ingram.

    5. Blogs

    Partially it depends on who has updated when I am online (if you are the blogroll, I read likely visit your site multiple times a week at least), but most mornings I invariably check out OTB, Dean’s World, Betsy’s Page, The World Around You, Wizbang, Arguing with Signposts, The Corner and Vodkapundit.

    Beyond those in a given day I am almost certainly going to visit the following whenever I see they are updated: Political Animal, Daniel Drezner, Viking Pundit, PoliPundit, Priorities and frivolities, The American Mind, Signifying Nothing, Michelle Malkin, InstaPundit and Prof. Bainbridge. (Although to be fair, I visit more than even those, usually and I am no doubt leaving someone out).

    My Essentials

    If I have limited time in the day, I am likely to at least listen to NPR and some talk radio (I am in the car at least 1:30 daily) and will skim the NYT and watch at least part of Special Report. An “essentials” Sunday means MTP and Fox News Sunday with some fast-forwarding in places.

    My self-evaluation is that I get a pretty diverse news/opinion flow and that the only glaring omission is that there is almost no CNN programming on the list. My obvious spots of right-wing bias come in terms of the blogs I read the most and talk radio (but, of course, there isn’t any liberal talk radio for me to choose from around here, and I do listen to a substantial amount of NPR).

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    • The Kudzu Files linked with Where I get my news
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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with The news roundup
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    Another Comment on the NYT’s Admission

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    The most interesting thing about the NYT’s rather public admission of what we all already knew (as Joe Gandleman noted, “DUH!"), it is the very willingness to make the admission. The mainstream press (by that I mean the broadcast networks, NPR, CNN, WaPo, the NYT, the LAT, and the major news weeklies) see themselves as just that, “mainstream". They present themselves, and seem to think of themselves as the moderate, “normal” media, and then there is that obviously partisan, right-wing media (i.e., Fox News, the WSJ, WaTi and most talk radio). In short: the press that favors the right is “partisan” or “not mainstream” (and therefore inferior) while The Mainstream Press was to be seen as the real journalists (and centrist, moderates, and all of that). I have always found that position to be disingenuous, to say the least (and, largely, based on self-delusion). It certainly is false-both in terms of the categorization and the degree to which one side or the other provides acceptable reportage.

    As such, it is healthy for elements of The Mainstream Press to simply come clean and view themselves realistically.

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    Congrats to Lance Armstrong

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:47 pm

    He has officially won his record-breaking sixth-straight Tour de France.

    Not only is that an amazing feat, but it is always good to see a Texas boy do well on the international stage. Plus, in today’s international sports climate, having an American win a French event is as close as we can get these days to the 1980 Miracle on Ice.

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    So Much for Being the Paper of Record

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:46 am

    This column in today’s NYT, Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?, is the talk of the Blogosphere, and James Joyner has a round-up.

    I concur with his basic conclusions. I will further say that it is nice to hear (ok, read) the Times admitting as much. I will say that while true objectivity is impossile to achieve, it is the case that the litany of examples that Okrent gives in hs column do demonstrate that the clear biases of the Times make it rather difficult, indeed impossible, for the paper to pretend it is truly the “paper of record” or that it is the elite of elite papers that hovers above all the others.

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    Kerry’s Campaign Slogan?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:35 am

    Listening to the Kerry-Edwards folks (both the candidates themselves and their surrogates), it seem to me that perhaps Mr. Kerry’s slogan perhaps ought to be:

    Kerry’s America: Better, Stronger, Faster! (We Just Won’t Tell You How!)

    At a minimum it seems like it perhaps should be:

    John Kerry’s Promises: Less Filling but Tastes Great!

    In short: I would like to hear how Mr. Kerry is going to make us “stronger” or “more respected” and so forth.

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    Wishful Thinking

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:28 am

    Tom Brokaw on MTP, immediately after seeing his own network’s poll stating that 93% of Republicans are planning to vote for Bush, and only 3% are voting for Kerry (the similar number’s for Kerry were 86% an 6%), stated that “you are starting to here about Republicans who say thy can’t vote for Bush"-to which I say, pardon? Perhaps Brokaw knows that 3%.

    Indeed, I keep hearing these anecdotal statements from reporters and commentators that Bush might be in trouble with “some” Repubilcans. However, it certainly seems to me that the empirical evidence suggests otherwise, and has for months.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:21 am

    From today’s Mobile Register, I have a piece proposing the replacement of the two-round primary system with one of an instant run-off:

    Sunday, July 25, 2004
    Special to the Register

    The June 1 primaries set a record for low voter turnout, with only 16 percent of registered voters bothering to show up at the polls. What’s worse: That number represented a percentage not of eligible voters, but instead is calculated from just those who bothered to fill out a registration card.

    The cost of the primary was approximately $3 million. Four weeks later, on June 29, with a turnout of only 1 percent of registered voters, the price tag was about the same.

    The whole thing is here.

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    Saturday, July 24, 2004
    Well, it Beats Attack of the Clones

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:08 pm

    Lucasfilm Unveils New ‘Star Wars’ Title

    The final “Star Wars” prequel is just “Episode III” no more. Lucasfilm announced its new title Saturday: “Revenge of the Sith.”

    Of course in Lucas’ style of remaking the old (I mean isn’t part of the plot of Jedi the same as the plot of the first flick? And didn’t the end of Phantom Menance seem a lot like the end of Jedi?), it sounds an awful lot like Revenge of the Jedi, which was once supposed to be the title of Episode VI. I suppose it is supposed to be clever symmetry.

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    You Have Got to be Kidding Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

    Parent, agency disagree on sex ed

    Despite complaints from a Santa Fe mother, the state Health Department is standing by a sex-education instructor who encouraged ninth-graders to taste flavored condoms.

    Lisa Gallegos said that when her 15-year-old daughter balked at putting a condom in her mouth, instructor Tony Escudero told her, “Come on, sweetie, have a little fun.”

    Gallegos said her daughter also told her that, when a male student suggested sex between two men is repulsive, Escudero told him, “Never say never because you never know. Someday you might like it that way.”


    Beth Velasquez, spokeswoman for the department, said Escudero, who has done sex-education seminars for high-school classes in the Santa Fe area for years, told her this is the first time anyone has complained about his presentation.

    “He didn’t really tell them to just put (condoms) in their mouth,” she said. “What he does, basically, in his classes, depending on the age appropriateness of the class, is to try to get them … used to condoms and kind of destigmatize them.

    “He tells them, if they’re comfortable, they can open up the packages, they can touch them, they can stretch them out and those kind of things. And he has told them, if they’re the flavored kind, they can go ahead and taste them if they want to. But it’s generally to desensitize the whole stigma of ‘Oh my God, it’s a condom.’ “

    Velasquez said Escudero does not recall the “Never say never” remark, but that he does address sexuality and encourages students to be tolerant of those different than them.

    For one thing, I find it rather hard to accept that use of a condom requires extensive training-I can understand talking about them, but handing them out and playing with them in class, let alone distributing flavored ones they can taste if they want, seems a bit ridiculous.

    Hat tip: Slobokan’s Site O’ Schtuff.

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    A Trip Down Memory Lane (Campaign Finance Press Coverage Version)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:08 am

    My previous post on the Kerry’s campaign finance success led me to take a trip down memory lane to see if my recollections about press coverage of Bush’s 2000 fundraising were accurate. They were. I didn’t recall, nor could I find, glowing tales of how anti-Clinton sentiment (and, by extension, anti-Gore sentiment) was unifying the GOP and allowing Bush unprecedented access to campaign funds. Instead there were stories about 1) Daddy’s help, 2) the fact that money was coming from fat cats, and 3) fears that Bush had broken the campaign finance system by foregoing the matching funds and caps.

    This is to be contrasted with practically every Kerry campaign finance story I have read or heard/seen on radio/tv in which the storyline is inevitably how a unified Democratic Party, combined with clever people in the Kerry campaign, has led to a windfall of cash.

    It is also noteworthy that a large number of stories in 2000 were dedicated to the supposed ills of soft money.

    Here are some examples.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times of 7/30/2000:

    With no suspense over the presidential nominee, Republican and Democratic conventions have become unrestrained bazaars of influence peddling, fund-raising and nonstop stroking of mega-donors.

    Donors, not delegates, are the first-class citizens in Philadelphia, where Republicans open their convention Monday, and in Los Angeles, where Democrats start meeting Aug. 14.

    “This is the intersection of power and money in full view if you are invited, and it is not a pretty sight. I think the whole thing is obscene,” said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, which follows the political money trail.

    Much of the most exclusive corporate entertainment, which is aimed at members of Congress, does not have to be disclosed and occurs at invitation-only parties.

    At the crack of dawn Monday, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert will lead a fly-fishing trip on the Delaware River for donors who have contributed a minimum of $ 5,000, mainly to Hastert’s various federal and state campaign funds. During convention week, Hastert alone will be raising $ 2.5 million.

    The Washington powerhouse lobbying firm of Patton Boggs signed up to be Wednesday’s sponsor of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Hospitality Suite at the First Union Center arena. The $ 100,000 tab for just that one night will be divided among the firm’s clients, including the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Options Clearing House on La Salle.

    High rollers from each party have access to the best hotels, parties, golf outings and officials at the conventions.

    The story also criticizes Gore fundraising, although the above is the beginning of the story.

    From the 7/19/00 issue of the Sun-Times:

    Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush on Tuesday made his first campaign foray into Illinois in four months, helping his party raise more than $ 3 million - $ 1 million more than ever raised at a single GOP event in Illinois - and making a pitch for bipartisanship.

    “There needs to be a new spirit and a new attitude . . . an attitude of cooperation,” Bush told a national gathering of state legislators. “There’s too much argument in Washington and not enough discussion.”

    But the Texas governor did not engage in any discussions with average voters or the group of reporters covering his visit.

    From the 6/28/00 edition of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution

    In the Bryant Conference Center at the University of Alabama, with no fanfare to mark the moment, a key phase in the nation’s most successful presidential campaign fund-raising operation ended.

    Fifteen months and more than $ 92 million into the effort, probable GOP nominee George W. Bush attended his final “Bush for President Reception” last Friday in Alabama, collecting more than $ 400,000.

    From Day One, the events were called “receptions,” as in Bush receiving money, lots of it. They were part of a campaign that broke all fund-raising records.

    “People will be writing books about this a few years from now,” said Larry Makinson of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit watchdog group impressed and depressed by Bush’s ability to collect cash.

    The fund-raising will continue for a few weeks through direct mail and e- mail. But in early August, after the Republican National Convention, the Bush campaign becomes a federally funded effort that will get $ 67.6 million in government money.

    The Al Gore campaign will get the same amount after he is formally nominated at the Democratic National Convention in mid-August.

    Money raised prior to the conventions can’t be spent during the general election campaign. So far, Bush has collected more than $ 92 million, including $ 1.1 million in interest, and spent more than $ 83 million.

    Bush’s numbers dwarf those amassed by Gore. Unlike Bush, Gore — who has raised $ 34 million and has $ 8.2 million on hand — is accepting federal matching money for the pre-convention campaign. That should produce an additional $ 15 million for Gore to spend before his party’s convention.

    Though direct fund-raising for the presidential campaigns ends with the national conventions, neither candidate will get out of the fund-raising business. In fact, the game now becomes largely unlimited as Bush and Gore can concentrate on raising “soft money” — unfettered by the $ 1,000 limit on individuals’ contributions to candidates — that goes to the parties and goes a long way toward helping the presidential candidates.

    Throughout the campaign, as the dollars flowed in — and out — Bush has worked hard to couch it in the positive, as in “I am honored and humbled by the broad-based support.”


    By passing on the federal money for the primaries, Bush avoided state-by- state spending limits that can hogtie a candidate. Bush now has spent more than twice as much as he could have if he had accepted federal money for the primaries.

    Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway said Tuesday that Bush played by the rules, but showed “he is not at all serious about reform.”


    Makinson says the money was the message. “The thing that propelled George W. Bush to the top was the absolutely extraordinary effort of raising money,” he said. “It was a show of support by people who can afford to write $ 1,000 checks. We are talking about such a rarefied class of Americans.”

    From the 6/30/00 edition of the NYT:

    Gov. George W. Bush of Texas began his campaign last March with an unassuming one-page letter that announced the formation of his Presidential Exploratory Committee. Almost as an aside, the recipients were asked to contribute a few dollars.

    Within four weeks, Mr. Bush had collected an astonishing $7.6 million, including 500 checks for $1,000, the maximum amount that individuals may donate to a presidential candidate. Half of the first flurry of checks came from Texans, but far more important were the thousands of checks signed by longtime supporters and old friends of former President George Bush.

    “The old man’s network is probably 50,000 people, and I think they were looking for some sort of vindication for the president,” said John Ellis, a first cousin of Governor Bush who is a columnist at Fast Company magazine. “I don’t think you can possibly overstate the hatred of Bill Clinton in the Republican Party. The disgust with him. And so Governor Bush became the vehicle to win back the White House. He was a brand name. And it was so easy.”

    Governor Bush’s record-shattering fund-raising feat was accomplished with the assistance and connections of the Pioneers, a group of 200 fund-raisers who each raised $100,000 for Mr. Bush’s campaign.

    They were enlisted by Mr. Bush months before he mailed his exploratory letter last March, and their early organization and coordination was what helped the governor raise so much money so quickly last year.

    Now, Republican fund-raisers say the Pioneers have begun to line up pledges of the unlimited contributions known as “soft money” from individuals and corporations.

    There were a number of these stories starting in late 1999: that Bush was only able to raise money because of his Daddy’s help.

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    What?! Money in Politics?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:23 am

    Redefining Democratic Fundraising

    John F. Kerry has created the most effective fundraising machine in Democratic Party history by tapping disparate interests - trial lawyers, financial services executives, social liberals, teachers, Hollywood figures and others - united by their antipathy to President Bush.

    I will readily agree that Mr. Kerry has been quite successful in raising money. However, the special thing that he did was to eschew the primary season spending caps and the federal matching dollars (a move I applaud as both smart and kinder to the federal treasury).

    However, the breathless coverage of this has been amusing. For one thing, by choosing to forego the matching funds and therefore not having to abide by caps he was destined to be a record-breaker for a Democratic candidate. That is to say, such record-breaking is no surprise.

    For another, I don’t recall this kind of coverage when Bush also eshewed the caps and matching funds in 2000. Back then it was a more sinister “oh no, here comes big money Republicans” tone to the coverage.

    And thirdly, since when it is a feat of political prowess for a Democrat to raise moeny from trial lawyers, teachers, Hollyood types and so forth?

    I do think that the Kerry campaign has done a good job of fundraising. Still, there are two key elements that (and very basic ones) that these stories ignore: 1) is the refusal of the matching funds/dropping of the caps mentioned above and 2) with the changes to the soft money rules under McCain/Feingold coupled with the lack of caps means that money is flowing directly into the coffers of the candidate in way it never did before.

    This really isn’t all that mysterious. In short, while the Kerry people deserve credit for hard work and the smarts to know what to do with the situation, it is more the structural changes to the fundraising situation that have allowed for the money to flow as it has-not because of anger directed at the President or because of something extra special amazing that the Kerry folks have done. Further, the trend is that every campaign cycle more money is raised and spent than the one before. Hence, records aren’t really all that impressive.

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    Cox and Forkum Make it to the Bigs

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 am

    Dean Esmay reports that Cox & Forkum have hit the big time with a regular feature in The Detroit News.

    I wish them luck and send my congratulations!

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    Friday, July 23, 2004
    Everybody Wants to Get ino the Act

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:53 pm

    Christopher of Legal XXX notes that Chris Matthews and company have launched a new blog: Hardblogger. It appears to be a group blog consisting of five liberals, a reporter about whom I don’t know enough to classify her, and Joe Scarborough.

    Let’s just say they didn’t consult Scarborough for the blogroll ;)

    Update: As I noticed last night, and as a reader also notes, they’ve added Andrea Mitchell to the line-up.

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    Egyptian Diplomat Kidnapped

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:50 pm

    Egyptian Diplomat Seized by Militants in Iraq

    Militants have seized an Egyptian diplomat in Baghdad and demanded that Egypt should not cooperate with U.S.-led forces, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

    The Arabic satellite television station showed a video tape of Mohamed Mamdouh Qutb - the first diplomat known to have been abducted in a wave of hostage-taking that has swept Iraq - sitting in front of six masked men dressed in black.

    “The group said the abduction was in response to comments by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif that Egypt is ready to offer its security experience to the temporary Iraqi government,” Al Jazeera said.

    So, again, we have the seizure of a fellow Muslim and Arab and the standing in the way of aid to the Iraqi government and the rebuilding effort.

    How the Arab press can ignore the implications of these events is beyond me. Clearly the terrorists are as uch at war with the Iraqi people, and indeed with anyone civilized, as they are with the West.

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    Faux PoliBlog Report, III

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:08 pm

    I received a reply from the Seattle Times’ managing editor promising to get back to me on Monday after conferring with some others at the paper.

    We shall see, and I will keep you all posted.

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    5.5 Tons of Cocaine Seized

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

    Colombian Police Make $110 Million Cocaine Haul

    Colombian police have seized 5.5 tons of cocaine with a U.S. street value of $110 million in the biggest haul of the illegal drug for years, the police said on Friday.

    Officers grabbed the cocaine in two busts. In the biggest, they confiscated 4.5 tons in a rural area of the northern province of Antioquia under the control of far-right paramilitary outlaws, the police said.

    One person was arrested. The other ton was found near the city of Cali, hidden in a generator in a wooden case set to be shipped to the United States.

    The last single haul of comparable size by Colombian authorities was made in 1998, when they seized four tons.

    However, as the story notes, despite seizures and crop eradication:

    But the price of cocaine in the United States has yet to rise, leading critics to suggest that exports are holding up despite the onslaught. The United States is the largest consumer of the stimulant, money from which funds Marxist rebels and far-right paramilitaries fighting a four-decade-old war.

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    I Would Probably Watch the Watchmen

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:18 pm

    ‘Watchmen’ Unmasked for ‘Pi’ Guy

    “Watchmen,” the seminal DC Comics limited series credited with redefining the superhero genre, has landed at Paramount Pictures.

    One would think it could be a very good movie.

    And the series was top-notch, but this may be a tad over the top:

    “Watchmen,” created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, was released as a critically acclaimed 12-issue comic book in 1986 and is often referred to as the “War and Peace” of comic books. It is a crime-conspiracy story that provided the first realistic look at the behind-the-heroics lives of superhero archetypes.

    Further, if I was going to pick a single comic that may have helped re-define comics in the 1980s, it would be Frank Miller’s Dark Knight mini-series.

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    Dow 9k

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

    The Dow has dipped below 10k (indeed, it has been below 10k since almost the opening bell).

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    Berger, bin Laden and Lessons on Anti-Terrorism Policy

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:58 pm

    InstaPundit notes a New York Sun column that details some of Sandy Berger’s involvement in US anti-terrorism policy vis-a-vis bin Laden. The column concludes:

    according to the commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times — Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action. Had he been a little less reluctant to act, a little more open to taking pre-emptive action, maybe the 2,973 killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be alive today.

    I ould not lay those bumbers at Mr. Berger’s feet-that isn’t the point. The point is: a passive, overly cautious, wait-and-see approach is a potentially quite deadly one when it comes to anti-terrorism policy.

    I personally looked up some of the references from the column in the 9/11 Commission Report and found the following:

  • Tenet apparently walked National Security Advisor Sandy Berger through the basic plan on February 13. One group of tribals would subdue the guards, enter Tarnak Farms stealthily, grab Bin Ladin, take him to a desert site outside Kandahar, and turn him over to a second group.This second group of tribals would take him to a desert landing zone already tested in the 1997 Kansi capture. From there, a CIA plane would take him to New York, an Arab capital, or wherever he was to be arraigned. Briefing papers prepared by the Counterterrorist Center acknowledged
    that hitches might develop. People might be killed, and Bin Ladin’s supporters might retaliate,perhaps taking U.S. citizens in Kandahar hostage.But the briefing papers also noted that there was risk in not acting. “Sooner or later,”
    they said, “Bin Ladin will attack U.S. interests, perhaps using WMD [weapons of mass destruction].” (112)

  • In Washington, Berger expressed doubt about the dependability of the tribals. In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted. (113)
  • By late June [1999], U.S. and other intelligence services had concluded that al Qaeda was in pre-attack mode, perhaps again involving Abu Hafs the Mauritanian. On June 25, at Clarke’s request, Berger convened the Small Group in his office to discuss the alert, Bin Ladin’s WMD programs, and his location. “Should we pre-empt by attacking UBL facilities?” Clarke urged Berger to ask his colleagues.

    In his handwritten notes on the meeting paper, Berger jotted down the presence of 7 to 11 families in the Tarnak Farms facility, which could mean 60-65 casualties. Berger noted the possible “slight impact” on Bin Ladin and added,
    “if he responds, we’re blamed."183 The NSC staff raised the option of waiting until after a terrorist attack, and then retaliating, including possible strikes on the Taliban. But Clarke observed that Bin Ladin would probably empty his camps after an attack (141).

  • NSC note, Clarke to Berger, Dec. 4, 1999; Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004). In the margin next to
    Clarke’s suggestion to attack al Qaeda facilities in the week before January 1, 2000, Berger wrote “no.” (footnote 11 for Chapter 6).

    In short: we see a combo of the law enforcment paradigm and a general tentativeness in Mr. Berger’s approach to anti-terrorism policy. And as a result we see policy failure.

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    Berger, bin Laden and Lessons on Anti-Terrorism Policy

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:58 pm

    InstaPundit notes a New York Sun column that detaisl spome of Sandy Berger’s involvement in US anti-terrorism policy vis-a-vis bin Laden. The column concludes:

    according to the commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times — Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action. Had he been a little less reluctant to act, a little more open to taking pre-emptive action, maybe the 2,973 killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be alive today.

    I ould not lay those bumbers at Mr. Berger’s feet-that isn’t the point. The point is: a passive, overly cautious, wait-and-see approach is a potentially quite deadly one when it comes to anti-terrorism policy.

    I personally looked up some of the references from the column in the 9/11 Commission Report and found the following:

  • Tenet apparently walked National Security Advisor Sandy Berger through the basic plan on February 13. One group of tribals would subdue the guards, enter Tarnak Farms stealthily, grab Bin Ladin, take him to a desert site outside Kandahar, and turn him over to a second group.This second group of tribals would take him to a desert landing zone already tested in the 1997 Kansi capture. From there, a CIA plane would take him to New York, an Arab capital, or wherever he was to be arraigned. Briefing papers prepared by the Counterterrorist Center acknowledged
    that hitches might develop. People might be killed, and Bin Ladin’s supporters might retaliate,perhaps taking U.S. citizens in Kandahar hostage.But the briefing papers also noted that there was risk in not acting. “Sooner or later,”
    they said, “Bin Ladin will attack U.S. interests, perhaps using WMD [weapons of mass destruction].” (112)

  • In Washington, Berger expressed doubt about the dependability of the tribals. In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted. (113)
  • By late June [1999], U.S. and other intelligence services had concluded that al Qaeda was in pre-attack mode, perhaps again involving Abu Hafs the Mauritanian. On June 25, at Clarke’s request, Berger convened the Small Group in his office to discuss the alert, Bin Ladin’s WMD programs, and his location. “Should we pre-empt by attacking UBL facilities?” Clarke urged Berger to ask his colleagues.

    In his handwritten notes on the meeting paper, Berger jotted down the presence of 7 to 11 families in the Tarnak Farms facility, which could mean 60-65 casualties. Berger noted the possible “slight impact” on Bin Ladin and added,
    “if he responds, we’re blamed."183 The NSC staff raised the option of waiting until after a terrorist attack, and then retaliating, including possible strikes on the Taliban. But Clarke observed that Bin Ladin would probably empty his camps after an attack (141).

  • NSC note, Clarke to Berger, Dec. 4, 1999; Richard Clarke interview (Jan. 12, 2004). In the margin next to
    Clarke’s suggestion to attack al Qaeda facilities in the week before January 1, 2000, Berger wrote “no.” (footnote 11 for Chapter 6).

    In short: we see a combo of the law enforcment paradigm and a general tentativeness in Mr. Berger’s approach to anti-terrorism policy.

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    THE Report

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:37 pm

    It can be found here

    Mathhew Yglesias will be pleased to know that the PDF is in text format.

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    Kerry’s Foreign Policy Allies

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:32 am

    One thing is for sure: many of the visible pro-Kerry foreign policy types haven’t been doing Kerry any PR favors of late.

    To wit:

    Joe Wilson: After a very public and much ballyhooed campaign to demonstrate that the Iraqis never even thought about trying to get yellowcake uranium from Niger, he is shown to be untruthful (to be kind).

    Sandy Berger: Best case scenario: a sloppy individual who, despite his previous high office, doesn’t know how to follow basic security-related rules. Worst-case scenario: guy who sutffed classified documents in his socks.

    Richard Clarke: Orginally seen as a strong voice of criticism aimed at the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policy and one who extolled the Clinton administration’s approach. However, the 911 commission report doesn’t back either claim, it would seem. And in the realm of the symbolic: despite the implications in Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 that Bush personally favored bin Laden family Saudis in the US, who were allowed to fly out of the country soon after the attacks, the 911 commission’s report confirmed that it was Mr. Clarke who authorized those flights.

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    It’s More Complicated than Just al Qaeda

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

    Via WaPo’s story on the 911 commission’s report, The 567-Page Story Of a Humbled America, we have:

    It begins with a view of the enemy larger than just Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda operation. “The problem is that al Qaeda represents an ideological movement, not a finite group of people. It initiates and inspires, even if it no longer directs,” the commissioners found. “Killing or capturing [bin Laden], while extremely important, would not end terror.”


    This is why any myopic focus on “al Qaeda” (and, by extension, bin Laden) as if it is an organization like SPECTRE in James Bond novels/movies (take out Blofeld and you can destroy the organization and its threat).

    Further, it is part of the main reason that I supported the war in Iraq. First, the elimination of a regime known to be overtly supportive of terrorism (not just al Qaeda) was a worthwhile endeavor-and along those lines, a clear demonstration of US power to other such states (e.g., Libya) struck me as a worthwhile effort also. Second (and, to me, more importantly) the potential to establish a secular, successful, quasi-democracy in the heart of the Middle East has a much larger potential for combatting the ideology of death that permeates Islamofascism than any increased security on the homefront can provide. I am not convinced that any amount of money, training, bureaucratic reorganization or vigilance can protect us from these fanatics. Hence, there are only two things that we primarily need to do: 1) take the fight to them and attempt to eliminate as many of them as possible (and by “them” I mean radical Islamic terrorists), and 2) work to provide an alternative vision for the region so as to hopefully allow for hope outside of a Sixth Century interpretation of the Koran.

    I am not saying that there aren’t things that can and should be done on the homefront, but let’s be real: it is truly impossible to search every ship, car and truck that enters the United States-utterly impossible. We haven’t stopped illicit drugs or illegal immigrants, and we aren’t going to ever be able to do so. As such, it is foolish to think we can make our borders terrorist-proof. Hence, the main policy alternative is clearly as I have outlines. This is part of what I mean when I make the war paradigm v. law enforcement paradigm comparisons in terms of anti-terrorism policy and why I am supportive of the Bush approach (flawed as it is in places) to the likely Kerry approach.

    Indeed, I would like the administration to present its policies in Iraq and elsewhere (in terms of terrorism) more along the lines of what I have described. I think one of the administration’s biggest failings is that it has often done a very poor job of explaining itself.

    James Joyner had a post along these lines a few months back at OTB in which he noted a Christopher Hitchens piece in which Hitchens noted that we are at war against a worldview of jihad. He noted the terminology more in terms of war on terror v. war on jihad, but I would note that it is clearly the case that instead of being at war with al Qaeda, we are at war with any group of a jihadist nature.

    I have posted a similar set of thoughts back in June.

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    • Outside The Beltway � - Better than the Seattle Times linked with It's the Jihadists, Stupid
    Faux PoliBlog Report, II

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 am

    Upon further reflection, like many of you I find the assurances of the Seattle Times to be insufficient. I have written the managing editor for more specifc, written asurances that they will, indeed, shut down in November and that they have no larger plans for their “blog.”

    I am especially uncomfortable with their continued references to geography (as if they are “only” in Seattle and I am “only” in Alabama). There seems to be a profound misunderstanding about the nature of the internet, and of blogging in specific on their part.

    I also have a legal question for the lawyers in the audience: if I decided to register the mark “PoliBlog” would it be more accurate to classify it as a trademark or a servicemark? Having worked for patent and trademark attorneys in the past, and having done some work with trademarks and copyrights, I am well familiar with the basics. However, a trademark is for a product, and a servicemark is for a service. Now, in the production of political analysis a “product” or a “service"? I lean toward it being a product, but I was curious as to anyone’s informed opinion.

    I do know that despite the lack of registration, I can claim the mark legally without registering-and I will shortly place legal notifcations on the site.

    Update: I have parked this post in Friday’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Another poliblog update
    Thursday, July 22, 2004
    Faux PoliBlog Report

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 pm

    Here’s the update on the “PoliBlog” at the Seattle Times. I e-mailed the fellow running the site and he apologized for not googling the name, and he noted that they planned to shut down in November and that they did not plan to establish a serious blogspheric presence. I found that to be acceptable-given that if they are going to shut down, why cause a stink? He posted the following today:

    First, a note on the other Poliblog [You mean, original, right?-ed.], professor Steven Taylor of Troy State University in Troy, Ala. This Poliblog apologizes to that Poliblog for not taking the simple step of Googling “Poliblog” before we decided on it, but we’d also like to thank professor Taylor for recognizing that the country is big enough for the two of us. So check out the other Poliblog, and bookmark him.

    Given that according to my Hosting Matters stats I have received all of 8 hits from the faux PoliBlog site, I am guessing that I shouldn’t be too worried about its influence at the moment ;)

    Of course I do find the concept of a web site having a geographical significance to be somewhat amusing.

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    What I Think I Think about the Sandy Berger Story at this Stage

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:46 am

    In no particular order:

    1. There are two parts of the story, both incontrovertible, that utter baffle me. a) It is clear that he did take documents out that he knew he shouldn’t have-the hand-written notes alone makes one wonder what in the world he was thinking, and b) it is clear that he did this more than once. How in the world could a former National Security Adviser be so, well, stupid?

    2. I remain dubious about the socks/pants-stuffing, but hold out the possibility that it is an accurate account. I also hold out the possibility that someone is making it up for any number of reasons. It is noteworthy that the stories I have read on the stuffing business cite sources (plural) not just “a source” as witnesses to said stuffing activities.

    3. He should’ve told the Kerry campaign that he was under investigation.

    4. At this point I feel kind of sorry for him, because if this ends up being a wholly innocent story, he has substantially damaged his career for absolutely no good reason.

    5. The political fall-out of this story is likely to be slight-it strikes me as no more than a small example of the general Republican charge that Democrats shouldn’t be trusted with with national security. However, directly linking this to Kerry isn’t going to work too well, one would think. Still, having the Berger and Wilson stories out do blunt, to some degree, the whole Kerry line of argument that states that the country should “trust” the Democrats with the nation’s foreign policy.

    6. The timing issue is bogus: no matter when this was revealed, the Democrats would have claimed that the timing was suspicious. Indeed, one could argue that it would have been better to waiting until October, when the buzz would likely have been the Berger might by the SecState in the new Kerry admin, and then break the story (or, as reader Steven noted in the comments of a post, why not wait until he was an “official” advisers to Kerry, rather than an “unofficial” one). Indeed, even Kevin Drum notes that the leak’s timing is more advantageous to the Democrats than the Republicans, if one assume that the story was going to come out at some point prior to the November elections.

    7. The partisan flavor of the coverage from the NYT has been utterly remarkable. The initial story was buried, and one knows full well that if this was a former Bush administration official accused of these kinds of activities that it would be a front page story on a daily basis. As it stands one has to hunt their website for the latest updates. Indeed, the suggestion in today’s story (White House Knew of Inquiry on Aide; Kerry Camp Irked) is more aimed at who might’ve leaked the story than the story itself. After all, if the White House knew, it must mean that someone in the Bush administration leaked the story! And certainly leaking the story is far more important than what Berger did.

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    Same Song, Different Verse

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:18 am

    Starting with the advent of cassette tapes and video tapes (and most recently with Napster and the like), don’t we go through this story over and over again with each new technology?

    TiVo’s Plans Lead to Fight On Copyrights.

    Like the p2p music brouhaha, which Steve Jobs figured out to make money with while the rest of the industry fought the inevitable, this strikes me as part of the ongoing merger of tv, computers and the internet. They can fight all they like, but they aren’t going to win.

    The better way to go is to figure out how to get on the new technowave and ride it to profitability. Instead, it seems that the default position is to simply fight the new tech as long as one can.

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    It’s Chock Full o’ Lycopene!

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:08 am

    Sean Hackbarth has the latest House of Ketchup.

    *Sniff* the HoK is now 19. And I remember when it was born.

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    Give Me Whoopie Pies (I’ll Pass on the Whoopi Goldberg)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:28 am

    I’m with Will Collier:

    I love Whoopie Pies. They’re what a Moon Pie ought to be if Moon Pies were actually edible.

    Oh, and he notes a nice story about President Bush visiting the Amish.

    (Yes, all of a sudden the Amish seem to be a major theme here at the Real PoliBlogTM-accept no substitutes).

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    You Know You are Approaching Middle Age When…

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:22 am

    …you get birthday cards from your bank and the company that manages your 403(b).

    I know it’s got nothing to do with the amount of my money they have, so it has to be an age issue.

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    Wednesday, July 21, 2004
    I Don’t Suppose they Would Agree to Keep it There?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 pm

    UPN Keeping ‘Amish’ Reality Series Under Wraps

    UPN has rejected requests by congressmen and its affiliate stations to preview the controversial reality show “Amish in the City” ahead of its July 28 premiere.

    “Amish” - a reality series that chronicles a group of young Amish men and women ages 18-24 as they first encounter the modern world - was shot secretly in a Hollywood Hills hideaway after initial news of its development provoked some outcries.

    Two reactions:

    1) Is this the definition of bad taste, or what?


    2) Why in the world would a member of Congress be requesting an advancd viewing.

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    The Timing, it Appears, is Everything

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:56 pm

    Forget the substance: timing is everything.

    “The timing speaks for itself,” said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. (USA)

    ‘’The timing is very curious, given this has been underway now for this long,” said Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, Democrat of South Dakota. (BoGlo)

    “The timing of this leak suggests that the White House is more concerned about protecting its political hide than hearing what the commission has to say about strengthening our security,” the Kerry campaign said. (Reuters)

    My main question is: when would the appropriate timing be?

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Timing
    • the evangelical outpost linked with Interesting Timing: Are the Clinton�s Sabotaging Kerry?
    Mirror Kirk?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:42 pm

    Interesting: Enterprise Spoilers Revealed

    Rick Berman, executive producer of UPN’s Star Trek: Enterprise, revealed to SCI FI Wire several spoilers for the upcoming fourth season, including the possible casting of original Star Trek star William Shatner (Capt. Kirk) in a familiar role. “We’re still discussing it with Bill,” Berman said in an interview at UPN’s fall press preview in Los Angeles. “He had a terrific episode [idea], and we had a nice long lunch meeting with him a couple of weeks ago. And there’s a lot of things that need to get ironed out in terms of scheduling, in terms of money. … But he would play an incarnation of a Kirk, yes. He would not be playing another character.”

    The only other “incarnation” of Kirk that I can think of would be the Mirror, Mirror Kirk.

    Could be interesting.

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    Multiple Helpings of Sloppy Bergers

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:17 pm

    For a variety of reasons I haven’t had much time for extensive news consumption since about 1:30 yesterday afternoon. However, aside from issue involving clothes-stuffing (which I currently considered uncofirmed), there is another aspect of this tales that is truly vexing, and not disputable:

    After one of his visits to the Archives last fall, one of the government officials said, Berger was alerted to the missing documents and later returned some of the materials. On subsequent visits by Berger, Archives staffers specially marked documents he reviewed to try to ensure their return. But the government official said some of those materials also went missing, prompting Archives staffers to alert federal authorities.

    Source: USAT.

    I am not going to accuse Mr. Berger anything at this point, but one has to ask: how does one do this twice?

    For more on this aspect of the story and more linkage, see
    Outside The Beltway.

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    I’m Shocked!

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

    I mean, I thought everyone listened to and complied with the UN.

    Israel Defies U.N. Vote Against West Bank Barrier

    Israel vowed Wednesday to press ahead with construction of its West Bank barrier despite a U.N. resolution demanding it be torn down, but Palestinians called for international sanctions to force compliance.

    I must admit, I was not a big fan of the fence when it went up, and the basic idea still doesn’t really sit well with me. However, it does seemed to have contributed to a decrease in suicide bombings. As such, I can’t blame to Israelis for building it, or wanting to keep it up.

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    You Know You are Specialized When…

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 am

    While I fully understand that importance of the topic to development politics, for some reason I find the fact that there is a Journal of Peasant Studies to be somewhat amusing.

    (Ploughing through three weeks of accumulated mail in my office…)

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    Minor Morning Rant

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:29 am

    It never ceases to amaze me that administrative types on a university campus can be surprised when faculty aren’t hanging out in their offices in the summer. Given that most faculty are on 10-month contracts, why in Heaven’s name would they be on campus? Indeed, isn’t one of the things that is the hallmark of the professoriate is that we are often hard to locate? Along with absent-mindedness, isn’t being difficult to find one of the key stereotypical traits of professors? It ain’t like one gets a ton of writing done in one’s university office.

    The summer thing truly floors me, however, such as when someone will try to schedule a meeting once classes are over with, and then be surprised that no one shows up. (That happened this year in late May. I warned the Chair that no one (myself included) would come to a committee meeting after classes were done. He thought we should try, but eventually decided to postpone until the Fall).

    What further amazes me is that in this day and age that someone will leave one a voicemail, but not just send an e-mail. Or, if one really needs to talk to someone, surely a phone call to the person’s home would be in order.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Summer daze
    Stealing my Schtick

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 am

    Thanks to an e-mail from Stefan Sharkansky of Shark Blog for pointing out that the Seattle Times has launched (looks like in June) their own in-house blog. It’s name? PoliBlog.

    I mean, gee whiz, they couldn’t do a Google search to see if the name was already in use? I am the first result, after all.


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    Tuesday, July 20, 2004
    My Thanks to Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:12 pm

    My thanks to Dean Esmay for adding me to his blogroll and for his kind post.

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    Misc Stuff

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 pm

    I have returned the blogroll to the front page (it was bugging me on its own page) and I have moved it to the right-hand column so if it hangs when loading, it shouldn’t stop the main text from coming up. I plan to set up a cache for it, but haven’t done it yet, along with numerous other blog-related projects I have been planning to do.

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    Socks II

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:49 pm

    CNN is also reporting the socks bit, and this is more detail than this morning:

    Law enforcement sources said archive staff told FBI agents they saw Berger placing items in his jacket and pants, and one archive staffer told agents that Berger also placed something in his socks.

    Most strange.

    These allegations triggered the following response:

    That latter allegation drew a sharp response from Berger associate and former White House lawyer Lanny Davis, who challenged any unnamed official who makes such an accusation to come forward publicly.

    “I suggest that person is lying,” he said. “And if that person has the guts, let’s see who it is who made the comment that Sandy Berger stuffed something into his socks.”

    This is the kind of allegation that is either some bizarre hallucination by a staffer or it is highly suggestive that Mr. Berger was trying to smuggle documents. I can think of no other possibilities.

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    Prepare to be Amused

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:27 pm

    Even if you saw the edited version this on Special Report with Brit Hume last week, this is worthy of a full viewing.

    (Thanks to Citizen Smash for the reminder).

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    His Socks?!?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:00 pm

    Come again?

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Berger Reaction: Left v. Right

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:49 am

    While the rightish side of the Blogosphere has been talking about the Berger business, the leftish side hasn’t gotten into the act yet. At 11:30am central I checked Kos, Liberal Oasis, Kevin Drum, Hellblazer, Matthew Yglesias, Brett Marston, Crooked Timber and Atrios and found nothing (now, I will note that I searched only their front pages-it is possible they commented yesterday in regards to the initial story and that the post has already cycled off the main page. I searched Kos’ archives, but still came up with nothing about this story). If anything, the righty blogs are talking about this right now, the lefty blogs appear not to be.

    However, I did note a number of posts by Joshua Marshall and Oliver Willis had a response that mirrored my own initial response.

    On the other hand, there have been numerous posts at Vodkapundit (here, here and, here. Also, InstaPundit reacted, as did Jeff Quinton (who has a link of others blogging on the story), dito James Joyner. Other right-leaning examples would be Michelle Malkin
    and Wizbang. Indeed, there are more refs than I have time to note.

    I am not drawing any inference from this observation save that it does seem to indicate that this story flows through the filter of partisanship in specific ways, at least in terms of piquing interest.

    Indeed, the main reason I noticed is because I was curious as the more Democratic side of the Blogosphere’s reaction, which was muter than I expected.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Sandy Berger Pilfered Classified Docs?
    • Outside The Beltway linked with Sandy Berger Probed in Terror Memos
    The New Oliver Willis

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:29 am

    Oliver Willis has updated his site (it is easier on the eyes, IMHO) and is using a new engine for his blog.

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    “Sticking Them” in his Pants

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:21 am

    Exactly what does this mean?

    Berger and his lawyer said he knowingly removed notes he had made while reading anti-terrorism documents by sticking them in his jacket and pants.

    Does “sticking them” in his pants mean putting them in his pockets, or literally putting them in the legs of his pants? If it means the latter, that is both odd, and suggestive that he was trying to remove them without detection. And why do some (not all, by any stretch) news accouns note the pants angle?

    Source: LAT

    Stephen Green has an amusing (and also quite serious in places) riff on the pants thing here

    The Chicago Sun-Times, building on an AP story, notes:

    However, some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration’s handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing, officials and lawyers told The Associated Press.

    This could end up being quite serious.

    This version of the story using the phrase “placing them in his jacket and pants” to describe the removal of the documents,

    It also notes that

    Breuer said Berger believed he was looking at copies of the classified documents, not originals.

    Even if that is true, it hardly exonerates Berger, who should full well know that even copies of classificed documents can’t be taken out of the archives. And for that matter, since Berger states he “inadvertantly” took the documents, or what relevance is it that he thought they were copies?

    CNN’s version of the story notes the following:

    But the sources close to Berger said there were other copies of the drafts, that the commission had the final version of the report and that Clarke had said there were not significant changes during the drafting process.

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    Vlade to the Lakers

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 am

    So reports the LAT: Lakers Turn to an Old Favorite.

    While I have been a Spurs fan since 1991ish, I had followed the Lakers from the mid-1980s until the early 90s (when I returned to Texas for grad school). Vlade was a Laker at the end of that period of time, and so this is a real blast from the past. Not a bad move for the Lakers, I suppose, but he is 1) old and 2) no Shaq. I will say that he had a decent run in Sacramento.

    For those who wonder as to my basketball fickleness: I didn’t grow up watching the NBA (gee, whiz, the Dallas Mavericks were a new team when I was a kid, and the team we got on tv, and they used to stink back then. Plus, my Dad watched baseball, football and golf only back then, so the NBA was never on at our house). However, when we moved to SoCal in late 1983, we started watching the Lakers (the old Lakers: Kareem, Magic and Harold Kurt Rambis in those black glasses). However, once I moved back to Texas, I got the Spurs games and ended up converting. The Lakers were about to fall apart and David Robinson’s Spurs were simply move appealing.

    I guess if one doesn’t acquire one’s sports loyalties at a very early age, it is easier to switch. I would never depart from my beloved Cowboys (and I remember rooting for them at like 4 years of age, or even younger), and I even maintain my loyalty to the Rangers (who are having a surprisingly good season this year). However, I didn’t solidify my college football loyalties until I went to UT for grad school.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 am

    Congrats to Bryan at Arguing with signposts for moving into the Large Mammal category.

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    “Sloppy” Berger?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:43 am

    At the moment, I am willing to assume that Berger was simply sloppy. However, having said that, I’m with Dean: “, what the hell was Sandy Berger thinking?”

    As Will Collier points out, Berger should know better.

    FYI: Here’s the WaPo version of the story.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Clinton, Kerry Advisor Sandy Berger Pilfered Classified Docs?
    Things that are Annopying me Today (Iran/Iraq version)

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

    Ok, the fact that the Iranians allowed safe passage to a number of men who would become part of the 911 attacks is disturbing and requires more investigation. The information in question comes from an advance leak of part of the forthcoming 911 commission’s report.

    Now, the part that annoys me is that this one piece of information led to a flurry of questions yesterday from commentators and politicians along the lines of “did we invade the wrong country"? I find this annoying because:

    1) This is one rather small piece of information, perhaps we could wait for at leas what the report itself says before we start leaping to conclusions. This is just sloppy reasoning.

    2) I note that most of the folks who are asking these questions are critics of the war in Iraq. As such, one has to wonder as to the degree to which they are genuinely asking the question, and the degree to which they are simply using one data point to criticize the administration (and one doesn’t have to wonder long).

    3) The question presumes that the main rationale for going to war in Iraq was Iraqi ties to the 911 attacks. As we know, it wasn’t.

    4) Are we really to believe that many of these anti-war types wold have supported a war with Iran because of the safe passage issue? As such they are setting up a false dichotomy in their question, as I do not believe that a) they would have supported such a war, or b) that this one piece of information would have been sufficient to lead to war.

    5) It isn’t as if this is the first hint we have ever had that Iran has cooperated with al Qaeda or that they are a state sponsor of terrorism. We do all remember the “Axis of Evil” do we not?

    6) Part of the policy rationale of democratizing Iraq is that it might have the effect of aiding the reformist in Iran to topple the mullahs.

    The part that annoys me the most is #1, because it really is some pretty sloppy thinking.

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    Monday, July 19, 2004
    Log Cabin Republicans Respond to the “Girlie Men” Flap

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 pm

    BoiFromTroy has the following statement from Log Cabin California:

    “The Governor’s use of the term “girlie man” was not a slur aimed at the gay and lesbian community and Senator Kuehl knows that", Bissiri stated. “Where was her outrage when the Bustamante campaign referred to candidate Schwarzenegger as a ’sissy’ for not agreeing to an endless series of debates?” Bissiri added. “As tax paying Californians, members of Log Cabin Republicans are offended by some State Legislators’ desire to distract us from their own negligence on the State Budget with frivolous accusations of homophobia. Log Cabin agrees with Governor Schwarzenegger that our elected representatives should focus on representing their constituent’s best interests and make the hard choices necessary to restore fiscal order,” Bissiri concluded.


    Hat tip: Dean Esmay.

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    Parental Maxim of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 pm

    “You can lead a two year-old to the toilet, but you can’t make him pee.”

    (And yes, he is potty trained-just stubborn).

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    The Girlie Man Rancor Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:47 pm

    The SacBee has the latest on the Schwarzenegger flap: Politics - Democrats condemn Schwarzenegger comment as sexist.

    First, here’s the initial quote:

    “If they don’t have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, ‘I don’t want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers … if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie men,’” Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario.

    In other words, he called them wimps/spineless/gutless. Hardly the height of insult in a political climate in which former Vice Presidents toss around terms like “Brown Shirt.”

    And at least a news story finally refs the SNL source:

    The governor lifted the term from a long-running “Saturday Night Live” skit in which two pompous, Schwarzenegger-worshipping weightlifters repeatedly use it to mock those who don’t meet their standards of physical perfection.

    And, of course, the victims of this joke appear to be legion:

    Democrats said Schwarzenegger’s remarks were insulting to women and gays and distracted from budget negotiations. State Sen. Sheila Kuehl said the governor had resorted to “blatant homophobia.”

    All I can say is that Ms. Kuehl may or may not be a girlie girl, she is clearly sense of humor deprived.

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    The Georgia Primaries are Tomorrow

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:35 pm

    Will Collier has some interesting things to say about GOP candidate Herman Cain.

    I have heard Cain interviewed on the Michael Medved show a number of times (including today) and have been favorably impressed. He seems to be the kind of conservative that I would very much like to see make it to the Senate.

    The Georgia primaries are tomorrow, and the GOP winner will be favored to win in November, so this is one to watch.

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    • Eye of the Storm linked with Georgia Senate Primaries tomorrow
    Israeli Judge Murdered, Terrorists Claim Responsibility

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

    Israeli Judge Shot Dead, Palestinians Claim Attack

    An Israeli judge was found shot dead in a car near his home outside Tel Aviv on Monday and a Palestinian militant group claimed responsibility.

    Justice Minister Yosef Lapid reported the killing in Israel’s parliament but said it was not known who targeted the judge, identified by Israeli media as 49-year-old Adi Azar. Police said criminal motives were not being ruled out.

    Local media said Azar was shot at close range three times in his upper body in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon.

    The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, claimed responsibility in a phone call to Reuters in the West Bank.

    The caller said Azar was shot for suggesting that the Palestinian Authority be fined for suicide bomb attacks on Israelis, and also in revenge for the slaying of senior Hizbollah guerrilla Ghalib Awali in a Beirut bombing Monday.

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    Arnie Hurts the Feelings of Sacramento Girlie Men

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:20 am

    About this whole “girlie men” bit-doesn’t anyone remember Hans and Franz? Meguesses that they are the source of the remark, which was clearly made with humorous intent.

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    The CSM on Allawi

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

    The CSM has a round-up of the status of the Allawi prisoner shooting story. It is the closest thing to major US media coverage that I have seen on the topic. It appears to contain nothing especially new, but is comprehensive in its summary and is quite linkful.

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    Things that are Annoying me Today (the WMD/16 Words Edition)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:30 am

    The Wilson/Plame/Yellowcake story (as well-discussed by Bill Safire) annoys me for at least three reasons:

    1) The Bush administration should never have panicked and have stated that the “sixteen words” shouldn’t have been in the State of the Union Address.

    2) The press was far, far (inded, far, far, far) more interested in plastering Wilson all over TV and talking about how the “sixteen words” were false than they have been in noting how the evidence clearly indicates that those words were correct.


    3) This all means that there is substantial evidence that Saddam was trying to reconstitute his nuclear program, which is what the administration has been saying from the beginning.

    As James Joyner notes:

    So far, the Big Lie seems to be working on this one, though. The retractions aren’t getting nearly the attention that the drumbeat of lies got and the impression that Bush got us into the war on the basis of lies is now received wisdom, despite a steady flow of evidence to the contrary.

    And Stephen Green rightly entitles his post on this subject Oh, That WMD Program.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    I was reading Michele Catalano’s post on the Amy Richards business (see here and here), and was struck by the following:

    When you become a mother, you give up your life whether you have one, three or five children at a time. Motherhood is a selfless thing. Your life belongs to your child. Or children.

    To which I say: indeed.

    While I suspect many people who do not have kids can intellectually understand Michele’s statement, let me tell you: the reality that you are truly on call twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, and that you will be such for likely two-decades per child, is a profoundly life-changing fact. (It is why people who say things like “our pets are like our children” don’t know what they are talking about). Indeed, as my Mother has pointed out: even once your kids move out on their own, your sense of responsibility does not evaporate. And how many us have had the gift of being able to call on our parents for help, advice or just emotional support, even well into our adulthood?

    I love my three children very much, and they bring a joy to life that is difficult to describe (although Mark Hasty is correct-they can be annoying on a frequent basis as well…;). However, it is true that from the moment you bring that child home from the hospital that your life change and from that point onward you are needed. It doesn’t matter if you are fast asleep at 2am and have an important day at work tomorrow or if you have the flu or if you just need to relax, they may need you (and in the truest sense of the word). They are helpless and do not understand the world. It is your job to teach and guide them. It is profond responsibility, and I have oft noted that you don’t understand or appreciate what your own parents did for you until you have children of your own. Yes, you can intellectually comprehend it, but trust me, you don’t understand until you have kids of your own. (And I don’t say that to denigrate anyone without children-I just think it is a fact).

    In short: the same way the gravity well of a star affects a solar system, so too do children shape the motion of your daily existence.

    I remember a conservation I had back in graduate school almost eight years ago now. I was walking with two female colleagues, one of whom was pregnant, one who was not (and my wife was also pregnant at the time with our first child). We were, not surprisingly, chit-chatting about children when the non-pregnant one opined that having kids was a selfish and egotistical act, because what parents are trying to do is simply recreate themselves. I disagreed with that sentiment then, and I wholly disagree with it now. The selflessness that is required to be a parent far outweighs any desire by any parent to see that child follow in their footsteps. Further, I have seen how while it is true that you pass on a lot of yourself to your children (both good and bad), that you can no more train a child to be your clone that you can wish yourself onto the surface of the moon.

    As such: I concur with Michele: parenthood is a selfless act, and motherhood especially so.

    Update: This post has been included in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

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    Hizbollah Leader Killed

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 am

    Bomb Kills Senior Hizbollah Member in Beirut

    A bomb killed a senior member of Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday in an attack the group blamed on Israel.


    In a statement, Hizbollah said the blast killed Ghalib Awali - who it said “had a long history of jihad with the Islamic Resistance” - as he left his home at about 8.30 a.m. (0530 GMT).

    Given that negotiation has been a hopeless dead end, I see no other option for Israel but to take the fight to the leadership of these groups.

    And I would note that I support the creation of a Palestinian state. However, I wonder as to the degree to which the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and their Islamic terrorist allies want that outcome.

    Filed under: Middle East | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Sunday, July 18, 2004
    Amy Richards

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 pm

    I am guessing this has to be the Amy Richards from the NYT story below. The essay notes she “freelances” and “speaks at colleges and universities” and the graduate date of 1992 comports with the age of 34 cited.

    An unimportant, but odd fact in the story: if she is a freelane author, why is the essay an “as told to"?

    Clearly she is the product of the philosophy she expounds.

    Indeed, according to this piece in The Nation, she also had an abortion when she was 18. Ironically, the article seems to think that if abortion restrictions were associated with real people like Ms. Richards, that there would be less of them:

    If abortion were connected to actual women-people like my friend Amy Richards, who had an abortion at 18 and a selective reduction last year when she found she was pregnant with triplets, or Nancy Flynn, who was a single mom finishing her BA at Cornell when she had an abortion and who told me she would “never have been able to have the rich life I’ve had and help my son as much as I have if I’d been the single mother of two children"-perhaps the mounting restrictions wouldn’t pass so handily. To paraphrase the late poet Muriel Rukeyser: What if women told the truth about their abortions? Even if the world didn’t split open, this paralyzing issue might.

    So we see more narcissism: she wouldn’t have been able to have as “rich” a life, had she not had an abortion.

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    • the evangelical outpost linked with Selectively Reducing the Facts: Abortion and Bias in the New York Times
    Pentagon Day Care is a Microcosm of the Whole World?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 pm

    Who knew? Clearly if the Pentagon doesn’t think its day care is sufficiently safe, then Bush’s claims that the world is safer today is obviously flawed.

    The Pentagon day care center is the bellweather by which all security should be measured.

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    A Picture of Narcissism

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:32 pm

    This is one of the most nauseating and sad things I have read in some time: When One Is Enough

    Now I’m 34. My boyfriend, Peter, and I have been together three years. I’m old enough to presume that I wasn’t going to have an easy time becoming pregnant. I was tired of being on the pill, because it made me moody. Before I went off it, Peter and I talked about what would happen if I became pregnant, and we both agreed that we would have the child.

    I found out I was having triplets when I went to my obstetrician. The doctor had just finished telling me I was going to have a low-risk pregnancy. She turned on the sonogram machine. There was a long pause, then she said, ‘’Are you sure you didn’t take fertility drugs?'’ I said, ‘’I'm positive.'’ Peter and I were very shocked when she said there were three. ‘’You know, this changes everything,'’ she said. ‘’You’ll have to see a specialist.'’

    My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?

    I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ‘’Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?'’ The obstetrician wasn’t an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.

    A truly remarkable exchange (and the word isn’t “get rid of” or “eliminate"-it is kill). Even for those who are pro-choice, the idea that we should be “eliminating” fetuses because people find them inconvenient should be a difficult thing to justify. This was not even a case of someone who coudn’t have taken care of the children, had she wanted, but the case of someone who couldn’t see fit to make any personal sacrifices (as she puts it in the piece: “now I’m going to have to move to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don’t think that deep down I was ever considering it.")

    Since, to me, one of the key elements of being a parent is the fact that one makes sacrifices for one’s children, this is an especially abhorent tale (such as how she gets the cell phone call at the Boston Pops concert about how the specialist can “eliminate” two of her children).

    Really, it is almost as if some pro-lifers wrote this as an anti-abortion tract. It is a wholly remarkable piece.

    And the story also has a personal element: we found out via sonogram that one of our sons had been a twin, but that one of the babies hadn’t made it. Every once in a while I see my son and think that there might have been another one just like him in our lives. It is a very sad thought. One wonders if some years down the line this woman will realize the crime she has committed, and further, one wonders what psychological effect this will have once the son who was “chosen” realizes that his mother could easily have decided he was the one that could have been eliminated.

    Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

    Update: Bryan of Arguing with Signposts has an even more personal reaction.

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    • Outside The Beltway linked with Lives: When One Is Enough
    • The Bemusement Park linked with BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN
    • The Bemusement Park linked with BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN
    • Sha Ka Ree linked with This Just Makes Me Want to Weep
    • Obsidian Wings linked with Numb.
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Limbaugh on Richards
    • Flynn Files linked with The Casualness of Baby Killing
    • Flynn Files linked with The Casualness of Baby Killing
    Good News for the Pinging Public

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:13 pm

    Kevin of Wizbang has updated his Standalone Trackback Pinger. It works with MT- and WP- powered blogs.

    Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:06 pm

    I have joined the wireless revolution and set up a wireless network in my home yesterday. Not only does that mean total freedom with my laptop, but that both my TiVos are now linked, allowing the sharing of programs between them, online scheduling and the ability to play music and view photos from my computer wirelessly on my tvs.

    For those interested in networking their TiVos I would point out that they only support the 802.11b wireless devices-something that was immediately apparent from the TiVo docs (and that I found out by first trying a “G” device).

    I would note that the D-Link DWL-122 units work wonderfully (and aren’t on TiVo’s online list of hardware they know that works).

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    Robert Byrd?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

    He was the best guest the bookers on MTP could get?

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Saturday, July 17, 2004
    It’s a Pretty Good Economy, Stupid

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:16 pm

    Kerry Takes Gamble on Economy

    Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards are gambling that there is enough lingering uneasiness about pocketbook issues that their message about a struggling economy and loss of jobs will resonate despite rising public optimism.

    “It’s the best issue they’ve got, especially in some of the swing states,” said Democratic consultant Dane Strother.

    When it comes to voters’ anxiety about the economy, this election year is a far cry from 1980, when Ronald Reagan famously asked: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

    Nor does 2004 measure up to 1992, when Bill Clinton’s team summed up the campaign’s theme with the memorable phrase: “It’s the economy, stupid.”


    I am not sure if this is a very good gamble for Kerry to take, although I understand why he is taking it. This election will turn on Iraq specifically and the war on terror generally. The economy, though an issue that redounds to Democrats on balance, is a plus for Bush, not a negative.

    Further, if one of the key issues of this campign going to honesty and trustworthiness (and it will be), then talking down the economy in the face of emipirical evidence that suggests otherwise could mightily backfire on Kerry-Edwards.

    And these numbers don’t show a very effective basis for the Kerry-Edwards economy gamble:

    In June 1980, three-fourths of Americans disapproved of Carter’s handling of the economy at a time of rising inflation and little growth.

    In June 1992, three-fourths disapproved of the elder Bush’s economic performance when the economy was just starting to revive.

    An AP-Ipsos poll this month found that voters were about evenly divided about the current president’s handling of the economy, with 49 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. Also, consumer confidence has been on the rise.

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    Truly Remarkable

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:10 pm

    Anyone who has done any serious writing can’t help but be awed by these numbers (I know they mean more to me know than when I read about his writings when I was a teen):

    By the time he died in 1992, at the age of 72, Asimov had published more than 470 books, ranging from science-fiction classics to annotated guides of great literature to limerick collections to The Sensuous Dirty Old Man, a defense and celebration of lechery. “His first 100 books took him 237 months, or almost 20 years, until October 1969, to write,” his New York Times obituary observed. “His second 100, a milestone he reached in March 1979, took 113 months, or about 9 ½ years—a rate of more than 10 books a year. His third 100 took only 69 months, until December 1984, or less than 6 years.” By the end, Asimov achieved the Grand Slam of book writing, turning out at least one volume for each of the 10 classifications in the Dewey Decimal System.

    That’s a lot of words (none of which, I suspect, were written on computers-and even if some were, most weren’t) and a lot of work.

    I have only ever read his fiction (a considerable amount of it, although by no means all of it). There was a point that I would have dubbed him my favorite scifi author, and he still ranks. At any rate, I must admit the following rings true:

    In fact, the rap on Asimov the fiction writer is that his stories are too simple, too obvious, too easy to be the stuff of great literature. In Wired, the science-fiction writer Cory Doctorow recently described Asimov’s work as “proto-fiction … from a time before the field shed its gills and developed lungs, feet, and believable characters.” True. But if Asimov is so easy, why do so many people—including Alex Proyas, the director of I, Robot, and the movie’s screenwriters, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Vintar—keep getting him so wrong?

    It strikes me as a rather valid question.

    Source: Isaac Asimov - How I, Robot gets the science-fiction grandmaster wrong. By Chris Suellentrop

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    • Outside The Beltway linked with The Prolific Isaac Asimov
    More on the Allawi Story

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:45 am

    More Blogospheric reactions to Allawi allegations:

  • Roger L. Simon: Yellowcake or Yellow Journalism?. One of his commenters raised a question in my mind: are any of his secuirty detail American? Perhaps not his immediate bodyguards, but surely there are Americans nearby (I know this is the case in Afghanistan for Karzai). Given that shooting seven people in cold blood is noisy and messy, it seems like if there were Americans about, they would have noticed somethinh amiss (and this is the assuming that all the Iraqis who witnessed the event were okay with it and no one reported to Bremer or others). Again, just thoughts.
  • Joe Gandelman, guest-blogging at Dean’s World makes the following observation:
    Actually, two sources on a story with this kind of allegation would not have been sufficient for some newspapers when I worked in the media. The papers I worked on required three. But journalistic standards have changed.

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    Young Conservatives on the Prowl

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:40 am

    A couple of reactions to this NYT piece: Young Right Tries to Define Post-Buckley Future.

    1) I concur that it is difficult to easily define contemporary American conservatism.

    2) However, that may not be as new a thing as the article states, as it is an over-simplification to state that conservatism used to only be about anti-communisim, shrinking the federal government and maintaining social traditions.

    Indeed, I think that defining the concept has always been a tad more complex than the piece allows. Clearly US conservatism is branch of classical liberalism that is skeptical of the state, it has always had various factions within it, not the least of which being that of the role of religion and textent of personal liberty.

    3) It is a tad frightening that seeing all the ages of these folks as being in their mid-to-late 20s comes across to me as young (yet, it does).

    4) Why is this piece in the Arts section of all places?

    5) How can a guy wearing that jacket call himself a conservative?

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    Who Thinks These Things Up?

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:20 am

    Dress Code May Hinder Their Work, Air Marshals Say

    Beards are out. So are jeans and athletic shoes. Suit coats are in, even on the steamiest summer days.

    That dress code, imposed by the Department of Homeland Security, makes federal air marshals uneasy - and not just because casual clothes are more comfortable in cramped airline seats. The marshals fear that their appearance makes it easier for terrorists to identify them, according to a professional group representing more than 1,300 air marshals.

    Sheer genius.

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    Another Round of Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:15 am

    No Poll Boost From Edwards

    Senator John Edwards is viewed far more favorably than unfavorably by Americans in the aftermath of his introduction as Senator John Kerry’s running mate, and the intensity of feeling for Mr. Kerry has deepened, among his backers in the presidential race, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

    But naming Mr. Edwards did not immediately win over any substantial number of voters for the Democratic ticket, and the campaign between Mr. Kerry and President Bush remains statistically deadlocked as Mr. Kerry heads toward the Democratic convention and his best opportunity to make a strong impression on the country, the poll found.

    None of that surprises me. Despite all the hoopla about how great a candidate Edwards was during the primaries and all of that, the simple truth is that he won practically no states, and only looked good because he exceeded expectations in Iowa and New Hampshire and because Dean and Gephart imploded. Liberal commentators may love his “Two Americas” speech and they may be enamored of the fact that the man is a liberal with a southern accent, but where was there hard evidence to suggest that Edwards was going to produce a bounce? Indeed, the fact that so many thought that Edward’s “energy” was going to be good for Kerry always struck me as an acknowledgement that Kerry has troubles that his supporters were hoping that Edwards’ smiles would somehow gloss over.

    Of course, there is bad news for Bush as well:

    Mr. Kerry’s greatest opportunity appears to remain Mr. Bush’s handling of Iraq. Fifty-one percent of respondents said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, up from 46 percent in April, May and June. Forty-five percent said taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do, down slightly from the past several months.

    Sixty-two percent said the war was not worth the loss of American lives and other costs, a figure that has risen steadily over the past few months.

    And despite all of this this, the numbers remain tight. I fear another late, late election night at the rate we are going.

    It is all going to boil down to whether Kerry can convince the handful of swing voters out there that a change is warranted under the current circumstances-because even if there is disapproval over Iraq, everyone knows that we are staying, and both candidates acknowledge such (unless there is a surprise nomination of Kucinich at the end of the month). So, Democrats cannot take full solace that 51% think we should have stayed out. The issue won’t be in or out at this point, it will be who should lead us now that we are there?

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    Friday, July 16, 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

    This is really starting to get on my nerves. I just heard a CNN Radio Network news break which continues to float the “Cheney might go” rumors, noting, among other things, that Cheney was campaigning with John McCain who, the story noted “has been rumored to possibily replace Cheney.” At this point this is getting embarassing for the press, as the story that Cheney is going to be replaced has been thoroughly debunked, yet they persist. What’s the deal?

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    • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
    Cheney Problem? What Cheney Problem?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:17 pm

    Bill Quick notes the following Gallup study entitled Most Americans Want Dick Cheney to Stay on GOP Ticket, which is subtitled “Little evidence of change in public sentiment about Cheney.” Says the first paragraph:

    Despite the fairly consistent “buzz” in recent weeks about the possibility of President George W. Bush dumping Dick Cheney from the Republican presidential ticket, a review of recent polling evidence suggests that there is little support for such a change based on public opinion. A majority of Americans, including 7 in 10 Republicans, want Cheney to remain on the ticket, his favorable ratings are no lower now than they were earlier this year, and Cheney is actually less of a polarizing figure than is his boss, George W. Bush.

    This bolsters my personal opinion that the reason we have seen all these Cheney stories is a combo of reporter boredom and the fact that the press corps, on balance, doesn’t like Cheney.

    His numbers really aren’t that bad at all:

    There is no evidence from Gallup polling that Cheney is viewed more negatively now than he was earlier this year. Cheney’s favorable rating is now at 46%, with a 42% unfavorable rating. These ratings are almost identical to what Gallup measured in February, before the recent controversies in which Cheney has been so publicly involved.

    Further, the public sentiment for dumping Quayle in 1992 was considerably higher than the current numbers on Cheney.

    The current sentiment also stands in fairly stark comparison to the situation in July 1992, when only 37% of Americans felt that George H.W. Bush should retain Quayle.

    This is clearly a media-driven story.

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    • Priorities & Frivolities linked with Is Dick Cheney Reeling?
    Allawi Executed Prisoners?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 am

    The Rooftop Report notes several stories from the Australian press that allege that Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi executed up to 6 suspected terrorists with his own hands not long before he took power.

    This would qualify as a developing story, to be sure.

    This strikes me as hardly impossible, but also the kind of story, if fabricated, that would be a very effective means of discrediting the interim government. Since it is possible to get people to blow themselves up, I suspect it wouldn’t be too hard to get a number of people to lie.

    I shall reserve judgement until I know more facts. I find it odd that this allegedly happened before the hand-over. It would have more immediate credibility with me if it was supposed to have happened after the turn-over, because it seems to me that doing something like this before the hand-over would have jeopardized his position rather radically-and why not wait until the Americans aren’t looking over your shoulder?

    It also makes a better disinformation story if it happened before the hand-over, because it would implicate the Americans, i.e., how could this happen without Bremer knowing, so, therefore, the Americans endorsed the situation, at least tacitly.

    Plus, if one wants suspects shot, there are more effective ways to have them killed without implicating oneself. This just strikes me as odd.

    I am not saying that it didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened, I am just skeptical.

    Not surprisingly, Eschaton assumes that the story is 100% true.

    Clearly, if true, it is very disturbing.

    Update: Kevin Drum comments as does James Joyner-oddly, they have different takes.

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    • Outside The Beltway linked with Allawi Shooting Insurgents?
    • Blogs of War linked with Witnesses Claim Iyad Allawi Shot Prisoners
    Red State/Blue State?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:34 am

    Take the Red or Blue Quiz. Some of the questions are pure trivia that I don’t think measure much (e.g., won’t most readers of Slate know who John Stewart is?).

    Ends ups I am pretty Red State. Go and figure. (Although I am on the left edge of Red-kina pinkish…I wish the thing had a numerical score for better cross-blog comparisons).

    Update: Dan Drezner reports he is purple, as is Virginia Postrel.

    Update II: Kevin Drum scored only slightly to the left of me-the quiz seems to be as much a test of cultural literacy as anything else. Some of the questions are better indicators (e.g., have you ever fired a gun) than others (one doesn’t have to be a red-neck from a red state to know a Toby Keith song). Further, it isn’t hard in most cases to figure out the “right” answer) based on context.

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    • Eye of the Storm linked with Am I red or blue?
    New Digs

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    Or, at least a new template. Go check out the new and improved Vodkapundit. I really like the new design.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Martha to Jail

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 am

    Martha Stewart sentenced to 5 months

    Martha Stewart was sentenced Friday to five months in prison and five months of home confinement for lying about a stock sale.

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    Thursday, July 15, 2004
    Fun With University Computer Systems

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:26 pm

    Just ask Brad DeLong.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Isn’t that Sweet?

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:40 pm

    Kerry Asks Sen. Clinton to Introduce Bill

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Or, if you had Rather be Positive…

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:25 pm

    You can scoot on over to the Living Room and Celebratethe Underblogs.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Obsidian Wings linked with I guess that we're neither...
    Griping About High-Traffic Blogs

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:23 pm

    If you are in the mood to offer your opinion on which high traffic blogs don’t deserve the traffic they generate, hop over to The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles and join in the discussion.

    • Obsidian Wings linked with I guess that we're neither...
    Debate Debate Starts

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:19 pm

    Kerry Accepts Debate Schedule

    The Commission on Presidential Debates has proposed limiting two of the three debates by topic. The first meeting on Sept. 30 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., will deal with domestic policy. The third on Oct. 13, on the subject of foreign affairs, is scheduled to be held at Arizona State University in Tempe.

    The second forum on Oct. 8 would be a town hall-style format at Washington University in St. Louis where undecided voters question the candidates on any issue.

    The commission proposed a single debate between the vice presidential nominees on Oct. 5 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, to cover the full range of issues.

    The Bush people have not replied yet, leading the Kerry people to criticize them. In short: business as usual for these kinds of things.

    The format looks identical to the 2000 slate, but in a different order.

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    Today’s Required Reading

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:15 pm

    How Much Worse Off Are We?.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    WH Responds Regarding Cheney

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:26 am

    Annoyed White House says Cheney will be VP candidate

    “Yes, he will be on the ticket,” Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. “You all amaze me sometimes, playing to this kind of speculation when it was asked and answered long ago.”


    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Outside The Beltway linked with Time to Dump Cheney?
    Now That’s News!

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    ‘Doonesbury’ Artist Trudeau Skewers Bush.

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    This is Worthy of an AP Story?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 am

    John Edwards Quizzed on Milk, Beer Prices.

    This was silly when they did it to 41, and it is silly now. Yeesh.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Why Let Facts Get in the Way of a Good Rant?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:29 am

    Two things that have been bugging me this week:

    1) Wilson-Plame: The current spin from many on the left is that it doesn’t matter if Wilson lied, the bottom line is that a crime was committed. Well, we don’t know that to be the case, now do we? As I understand it, revealing that Plame was CIA agent was only a crime if the person who revealed that fact knew she was undercover. In other words, the knowledge and motivation of the leaker matters greatly. It is quite possible that Novak’s contact was aware of the memo and simply told him that Plame got Wilson the job-and that, therefore, no crime was committed. The idea that simply telling Novak that Plame worked for the CIA was, in and of itself, a crime is simply false.

    2) Delaying Elections: People on the left and right are bugging me with this one. For one thing, governments are supposed to plan for ridiculously unlikely contingencies. One guesses we have battle plans somewhere in the Pentagon for invading allies “just in case” among other contingency-planning scenarios. Do you all remember the story a few month back about the Pentagon’ global-warming scenarios? Many on the left loved that one, because it seemed to indicate that the Pentagon endorsed radical climate change theories.

    In short: there is nothing insidious about the government considering what could be a real (but I think unlikely) event. Indeed, I would argue it is their job to plan for such outcomes. So those who have opined that it was a horribly stupid idea to have even brought it up really aren’t being logical about the situation (for example, see Nancy Pelosi’s statemet here)..

    Now, I concur that it would be a tragedy for a host of reasons to have to delay the November elections, but given that the offices being elected in November don’t take office until January, it isn’t as if a minor postponement would affect our democracy is any substantial way aside from the symbolic fact that the terrorists would have been able to affect our calendar (bad, but hardly devastating). And might I note, that despite the rantings of some, no one has spoken about cancelling the elections (look up the words: “postponing” isn’t the same as “cancelling").

    But here’s the bottom line: if the events of September 11, 2001 had occurred on November 2, 2004, can there be any doubt that one of the effects of that attack would have been that a large number of New Yorkers would have been unable to vote that day? And what about all the people in airplanes that morning who thought they would go vote once they got home, but instead found themselves stranded in another state. Surely an event like that would call for a reasonable, and brief, postponement of the elections to ensure that the voters actually had a chance to go to the polls. Not to mention, as I noted the other day, that any attack on a major city that disrupted voting in that location would almost certainly harm the Democratic party (in terms of the presidential election) since major metropolitan areas vote overwhelmingly Democratic (are the conspiracy-theorist on the Left thinking about such thing, or are they so paranoid about Bush that they can’t rationally evaluate this situation?

    As such the hyperbolic hand-wringing on this one has really seemed disproportionate in the extreme.

    Update: This post is part of today’s Beltway Traffic Jam

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    Ditka’s Definitely Out

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:04 am

    I can’t say as I blame him.

    Game over: Ditka won’t run

    “Iron Mike” Ditka broke the hearts of Illinois Republicans on Wednesday, telling them he will not suit up and get in the game to take on Democratic Senate nominee Barack Obama.

    “There was a moment when I said, ‘God, I’d like to take this on,’ ” Ditka said. “And then I said, ‘You know, put your head on straight and think about what you’re getting into right now.’ “

    Ditka, 64, said he was not ready to give up his private business deals or undergo the scrutiny that would come with being a political candidate or U.S. senator.

    “I don’t get headaches, and yesterday I got a headache,” Ditka told reporters late Wednesday. “I had so many phone calls, I didn’t know what was going on. It’s just that I’m not used to that since I got out of coaching. I’m not used to the scrutiny, and I don’t know if I would handle it well or not.

    I must admit: being on the end of a media feeding frenzy can’t be much fun. Although what is kind of scary is that a lot of politicians like it.

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    Evidence that the News Media are Bored

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

    Some believe Cheney may have dismissed doctor to get out of race

    Here’s my question: if Bush wants Cheney out, or Cheney wants out, why is such an elaborate scheme necessary? It ain’t like he has to have a doctor’s note.

    And again with the “prominent Republican” label being given to Alfonse “I have been nearly invisible for six years” D’Amato:

    But some prominent Republicans, including former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, believe Bush would do better without Cheney on the ticket.

    Here’s the link to the NYT story which notes:

    Mr. Cook’s column came less than a week after Alfonse M. D’Amato, the once-influential Republican senator from New York, said on the cable station NY1 that Mr. Bush should replace Mr. Cheney with Mr. Powell or Mr. McCain. Mr. D’Amato’s motives have stirred speculation among New Yorkers, although some who know him well said that getting attention might have been primary among them. An assistant in Mr. D’Amato’s office said Wednesday that he would have no further comment on the matter.

    Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said that Mr. D’Amato’s comments had not thrown the White House into any evident frenzy. As Mr. King recounted it, he was recently at the White House with another member of Congress and had a brief conversation with Mr. Bush. The other member of Congress mentioned Mr. D’Amato’s comments to Mr. Bush, Mr. King said, and Mr. Bush laughed.

    “He didn’t seem concerned or angry,” Mr. King said. “And then I said that Al is getting married on Sunday and he’s got other things on his mind.” Mr. Bush responded, Mr. King said, by saying, “Tell him the president wishes him well on his wedding day.”

    At least the Times get’s D’Amato’s status right. And I suspect that they have well-identified his motivations as well as Bush’s reaction to the whole thing.

    Given that an alarming number of people in this country can’t name the Vice President, and further that the empirical evidence suggests that runnning mates make little difference in elections, I find all of this discussion to be somewhat, well, silly.

    Update: Kevin of Wizbang has a similar assessment: Slow News Day.

    Update II: James Joyner comments.

    And I will further add: I expect that Cheney’s numbers wil go up after the debates.

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    Wednesday, July 14, 2004
    Books for Baghdad Website

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 pm

    Here’s the link: Books For Baghdad - Jacksonville State University.

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    Books for Baghdad Makes CNN

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:44 pm

    Books for Baghdad University pour in.

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    But Was it Played on a Gridiron?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 pm

    If reporters can’t get stuff like this straight, no wonder there are so many problems in journalism these days.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Why baseball continues to fail, part 2
    Not, Robot

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 pm

    I had already guessed from the the trailer, but this review further convinces me, as an Asimov fan, that I will be dissappointed in I, Robot.

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    Senator Ditka, We Hardly Knew Ya…

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 pm

    Stephen Green (who has been all over this Ditka story) reports that Da Coach ain’t gonna run.

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    Higher Being Parity?

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:10 pm

    A while back (I want to say last summer), there was a lot of discussion about how right-leaning/libertarian blogs were dominant, and that somehow the left-ish blogs were being ignored or where somehow disadvantaged.

    This is no longer the case, at least not at the upper-echelons of the Blogosphere. If one looks at the The Truth Laid Bear: The Blogosphere Ecosystem list of Higher Beings we see that 4 of the top 10 are left-leaning blogs (Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, Eschaton, and Political Animal (Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly)). Indeed, if one takes out “stewardess’s Xanga Site” (which is mistakenly given all links), then The New Republic’s blog would move into the top ten, meaning the right-left divide for Higher Beings would be 5-5. And since Drudge really isn’t blog (although he is right-leaning), we an take him out, moving Lileks up and maintaining the 5-5 split.

    A casual scan of the Mortal Humans, however, reveals a pretty heavily rightward slant.

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    You Don’t Say?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

    Voters Seldom Swayed by the Running Mate

    And, indeed:

    Bob Dole, the unsuccessful 1996 Republican nominee, tried to rejuvenate a lifeless campaign by choosing Jack Kemp, a charismatic icon of the party’s conservative wing, Rothenberg said.

    “At the of the day, Bob Dole was still Bob Dole.”

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    Hasn’t the Man Been Punished Enough?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:05 pm

    Man Jailed for Shooting Off His Testicles

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    No Shock Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:04 pm

    Senate Scuttles Gay Marriage Amendment

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    Debunking the Debunking

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

    The ‘God gap’: A political myth

    USA TODAY recently reported that in the 2000 presidential election, 87% of those who attend church once a week backed Bush. Earlier polls by Gallup and Pew reinforce an erroneous assumption that a “God gap” favors the GOP.

    At a conference on religion’s role in this year’s election, the God-gap assumption was refuted by Green and Mark Silk, director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Yes, it is true that those who worship weekly tend to vote Republican by a large margin. But Green and Silk note that when other gauges of religiosity are measured - such as attending church services a few times a month, belief, prayer and Bible reading - the gap narrows significantly and even reverses. “So it’s a weekly worship difference,” Green explains, “but not much of a God gap based on other factors.”

    This analysis strikes me as an attempt to explain away a significant political fact, rather than debunking a myth. Indeed, the reason this analysis can “debunk” the “God Gap” is because it makes the variable to measure religiosity far too broad. We know that the vast majority if Americans profess some sort of belief in God, and therefore by casting the measure broadly one dilutes its significance.

    Of the following: prayer, belief, Bible reading and weekly church attendance, clearly the variable that would best measure intensity is weekly church attendance for the simple reason that it is the hardest thing to do on the list, and is far more indicative of commitment to specific religious beliefs than the fact that a person “prays” or “believes” (which could mean an awful lot of things). Further, once you start looking at people who attend church multiple times week (read: Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelical denominations) heavily vote Republican.

    In short: there is something to this “God Gap” idea.

    The irony of the column is that while it is purports to debunk this myth, it is mostly about how it is a good idea for Democrats to pay better to religiosity.

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    What is it with Guys Named “Moore"?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 am

    `Damned to hell’

    Alabama’s ousted chief justice, Roy Moore, told Supreme Court Justice Gorman Houston that Houston was damned to hell for “covering God” when he moved a Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building rotunda, Houston told a civic group Tuesday.

    Houston, who became acting chief justice when Moore was removed from office by the state Court of the Judiciary, told the Birmingham Kiwanis Club he last talked to Moore at 6:54 a.m. Aug. 21, 2003, when Houston was in his office and Moore was at home.

    “Roy told me in that four-minute conversation that I was damned to hell, that there was nothing I could ever do to change that, because I was covering God,” Houston said. “I was speechless.”

    Moore on Tuesday denied making the comments to Houston.

    “That’s absolutely ridiculous and he knows it,” said Moore, who was in New York for a speaking engagement. “I would never say anything like that. Only God is the judge of a man’s soul. He (Houston) tried to hide the Ten Commandments from the public while I was still chief justice, and I wouldn’t allow it.”

    Houston, reached later, stood by his version of events.


    Hat tip: The World Around You.

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    Democratic Convention to be Hillary-less

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

    Mrs. Clinton Will Be in Boston, but Not at the Microphone

    The Democratic National Committee released on Tuesday its lineup of the big-name politicians speaking at the convention this month, and it included every major Democratic star except one.

    There were Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, near the top of the list. Al Gore was there, too, and so was Edward M. Kennedy. Even the wife of the Iowa governor made the cut. But Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior senator from New York and one of the most prominent names in the party, was nowhere to be found.

    From a purely PR point of view, I far prefer the GOP line-up of Schwarzenegger, Guiliani and McCain…

    And I wonder if Gore is going to give one his ranting melt-down speeches? Maybe Ted can regale the crowd with tales of his dog splash.

    Still, it is a bit odd not to include Hillary, especially given all the conspiracy theories that abounded for so long that she would eventually be the nominee. Further, for those who were sure that the Clintons were trying to defeat the Democratic nominee this year so that Hillary could run in ‘08, is it not odd that she isn’t speaking to set up her 2008 campaign?

    At a minimum, and back to the world of reality, it seems to indicate that the Clintons don’t run the show, like many on on the right are convinced is the case.

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    Tuesday, July 13, 2004
    That Darn Internet!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 pm

    Gov’t Search Engines Link to Kerry Critics

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    Square Holes, Round Pegs and the Logic of John Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:04 pm

    Life begins at conception, Kerry says

    Amid a three-day bus tour in which he highlighted his values and cast himself as an acceptable alternative for conservative voters, John F. Kerry was quoted yesterday as saying he believes life begins at conception, but continues to favor abortion rights.


    ‘’I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist . . . who doesn’t share it. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America.”

    So, then, if as a matter of public opinion a lot of people decide that while 1-year-olds are “alive” but that it is okay if their parents dispose of them, would that be ok? If I object to such toddler-slaughter, am I trying to infuse religion into politics? (Isn’t Kerry basic argument that since about half the population supports abortion, that therefore it is something the government should allow? As such, the only moral test in operation here is that at least a large plurality of the population supports something for it to be at least potentially acceptable. Oddly, that is not the logic he applies to gay marriage…).

    And, for that matter, just because one uses religion-based values to argue for a specific public-policy does not mean one is abridging the separation of church and state. By that definition of separation Kerry is creating a de facto religious test for office wherein anyone who says that they are motivated to argue for specific legislation as a result of their religious views shouldn’t be allowed to do so. That is ludicrious on its face.

    I can understand (though I disagree) how people who don’t think life begins at conception can support early term abortions (how anyone supports late-term abortions is beyond me), but if one believe that life begins at conception, how can one support abortion?

    It wholly baffles me.

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    Bulgarian Murdered by Terrorists

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

    Jeff Quinton reports and James Joyner has more.

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    The Technologically Impaired Congress

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:50 pm

    Matthew Yglesias isn’t happy that the SSCI Report was in the form an image, rather than a text document. Complains Matthew:

    Which leads to the question, why did we need some folks at MIT to put this together? Why didn’t the committee release it this way? The document in question, pretty clearly, was typed up on a computer and the technological process for turning a word processor file into a searchable PDF is neither difficult to master, nor some kind of high-level secret. Instead, though, the committee had someone print out a copy of the report, literally black out the redactions (instead of doing virtual redaction on the computer), and then scan the whole thing to create a non-searchable image file.

    I have to agree that it makes no sense that the document is released as a image, rather than text. However, I think Matthew goes overboard on his explanation as to why:

    I can’t help but think that the staff was deliberately trying to create a hard-to-use public version of the text so as to leave reporters maximally dependent on spin briefings from the staff rather than on the primary document. And as I’ve previously stated, an awful lot of stuff has been redacted - I think there are people who don’t really want us to know what this thing says.

    In this case it is better to apply Occam’s Razor: it was done this way because no one really thought about/the people who did aren’t as techno-saavy as we in the Blogosphere would like them to be. (And to be fair, Matthew does offer the idea that it was prepared by “morons").

    The honest to gosh truth of the matter is that most people do not use technology very well. I marvel at watching acquaintances and colleagues use multiple steps to do something simple with Word or IE when only one or two steps would be necessary. I am amazed that the e-mail memos I receive on campus from administrative types are almost always in the form of a Word attachment, rather than just having the text of the message in the e-mail itself. Even my students (who, at their ages, ought to be more on top of things technology-wise) often demonstrate woefully abilities (like the very sharp grad student who didn’t know that Word could be set to save things are one works, and so when the student got a Blue Screen of Death, the paper being worked on was gone).

    I have found that the younger one is (and I think Matthew is over 10 years my junior) the more likely one is to be impatient with the lack of technological smarts by others (or, at least, to assume that the whole world knows by now how to do this stuff). And the more one uses computers, the more one just doesn’t get the seeming ineptitude of others.

    Regardless, I do find the PDF released by the Senate to be annoying and a (a text version is here via Matthew from Josh Marshall).

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    A Modest Thought on the Minimum Wage

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:20 pm

    A post over at on the minimum wage reminded me of an idea that I meant to post a few weeks back when Kerry started talking about raising the minimum wage, so here it is:

    If the concern is that those at the very, very bottom of the wage chain can’t survive, instead of forcing employers to cough up more money (and, by extension, customers of those businesses), why not set a certain level of income at which citizens are exempt from payroll taxes? It need not be only for the most minimum-level wage-earner, but could be a graduated scale from the bottom, and as one makes more, one begins paying a certain percentage. It would not only put more money in the pockets of low wage earners, it would also save employers money and theoretically lead to more hiring, rather than restricting it, as a minimum wage hike woud do.

    I will grant that the EITC is supposed to fulfill this function to some degree, but those funds do not show up in the check of low-income workers each week (when it is most needed).

    This idea not only has a potentially positive impact on employment, it takes the burden off of employers. Further, by letting citizens keep their cash, rather than sending it to the government only to have it sent back to them (minus the cost of the extraction and redistribution) it is a more efficient policy.

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    Bin Laden Ally Surrenders

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:43 pm

    Saudis: Bin Laden aide surrenders

    A close associate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was flown from Iran to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after surrendering to security officials at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said.

    Khaled al-Harbi was believed to have been living near the Afghan-Iranian border.

    Video aired by the Arabic television network Al-Arabiya Tuesday showed al-Harbi being carried from a plane and placed in a wheelchair.

    Others blogging on this: The Command Post, Stephen Green, and Jeff Quinton.

    Thanks to Jeff and Barry Ritholtz for e-mail notification of the story.

    Update: James Joyner has more.

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    Rice Says There Are No Plan to Delay Elections

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:51 am

    Rice: No Plan to Delay National Election

    Rice said the Bush administration, while concerned about the impact of terrorism, is not thinking of postponing the elections.

    “We’ve had elections in this country when we were at war, even when we were in civil war. And we should have the elections on time. That’s the view of the president, that’s the view of the administration,” Rice told CNN on Monday.

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    The Olympic Torch: Fighting the War on Drugs

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:49 am

    Olympic torch relay on a real high after uncovering cannabis plantation

    Greek police said that they stumbled across a cannabis plantation during the Olympic torch relay through the Island of Crete at the weekend.

    The plantation, covering 607 feet (185 metres), was spotted at the base of a gully in the north east of the island by a police helicopter which was carrying out an aerial surveillance of the relay on Sunday.

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    A Good Idea, Methinks

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:47 am

    Windows XP to Get Major Security Upgrade

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    Good for the Iraqis

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:45 am

    Iraq Police Net Over 500 Suspects in Baghdad

    Iraqi police seized more than 500 criminal suspects in raids in Baghdad Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said.


    “The number (of detainees) is more than we expected,” he told Reuters, adding that those held included suspected drug dealers and weapons traders.

    He said the raids would continue in the Rusafa area, and would be expanded to other areas of the capital.

    “Organized crime is present in many areas, and we have to end it,” the source said.

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    The Edwards Effect in NC

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:15 am

    Or, more accurately the lack thereof.

    While I take every poll at this point somewhat lightly (although we are going to hit the point soon where they will start mattering), this one is quite interesting. I have long-maintained that Edwards wouldn’t help Kerry win NC, but one would have thought that in the wake of the EdwardsFest that the numbers in NC would be closer at this point than 15%.

    Thanks to Dave Wissing for pointing to the numbers.

    Betsy Newmark further notes the USAT write-up on NC and points out this rather amusing observation by the Kerry camp:

    Mark Mellman, Kerry’s pollster, points to a huge turnout for Kerry and Edwards at a rally in Raleigh on Saturday and notes the Bush campaign is airing TV ads in the state. “When they take their ads off we’ll know they believe” the state isn’t competitive, he says.

    Hmmm….a double-digit lead v. the fact that there was a big rally and the fact that the opposition is running commercials. I think I’ll take the double-digit lead in the polls.

    And for those who think Edwards will help in the South, the initial indicators aren’t good:

    In the national poll, Edwards didn’t help Kerry’s draw among Southerners, which was 44% before and after Edwards joined the ticket.

    I maintain that just having a running mate with a southern accent is insufficient to overcome the liberal nature of the ticket-which is the real issue for the majority of Southern voters.

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    Monday, July 12, 2004
    This Could Get Very Ugly

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 pm

    Weapons proliferate in Venezuela

    In a Venezuela deeply polarized over President Hugo Chávez, reports of groups arming themselves have raised the specter that an Aug. 15 recall vote on Mr. Chávez could trigger violence if the losing side refuses to accept the result.


    “The government’s thesis is to surround itself with urban and rural militias in order to prevent a loss of power by whatever means it takes,” says National Deputy Pedro Castillo, a member of the opposition who chairs a parliamentary commission investigating the illicit arms trade.

    But Chávez has warned repeatedly that his opponents, who have charged the government with preparing to manipulate the referendum, might take up arms if they lose. “If they go for the route of violence, we will be ready to confront them,” he said on June 27.

    Mr. Castillo says that since January 2003 his commission has investigated more than 10 cases of suspicious or illegal arms shipments, including 120 Uzi submachine guns and 1,200 Croatian pistols imported ostensibly for the police force of a small rural state; a hundred assault rifles from Iran discovered at a port in a container labeled “scrap metal"; and several crates of ammunition.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with An election to turn ugly
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    Line of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 pm

    “We were used to such messages in the communist days. Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda. It was a weak film that tells us nothing new.”

    - VACLAV KLAUS, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the MICHAEL MOORE documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

    Source: Yahoo

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    The Filipino Government Caves

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:31 pm

    Filipino Official Says Troops to Be Pulled

    A Philippine official said Tuesday the country would withdraw its troops “as soon as possible” after militants holding a Filipino truck driver hostage in Iraq advanced their deadline for beheading him by 24 hours.

    Given that they have had indigenous terrorism problems, this strikes me an especially bad precedent to set.

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    Ditka to Da Senate?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:45 pm

    I heard something about this in passing yeterday: Ditka won’t rule out U.S. Senate run

    Hall of Fame football coach Mike Ditka says he’s just a regular guy but that shouldn’t rule him out as a replacement Illinois U.S. Senate candidate.

    The 66-year-old former head coach of the Chicago Bears appeared on television news shows to talk about a possible bid for Senate. More than 6,000 people have signed a petition for Republicans to draft Ditka as the “people’s choice” for November.

    “I’m getting excited about it. I’m just thinking about it,” Ditka told WGN-TV, Chicago.

    And you can’t argue with this kind of logic:

    “If you’re going to tell me I couldn’t be a better senator than Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. - I could be,” Ditka said.

    Hat tip: Will Collier at VodkaPundit.

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    Unfair and Silly

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

    This kind of story annoys me: Crowd Turns Out To See Senator Go To Church, Including Convicted Peeper. Edwards is hardly responsible because some guy in the crowd was a convicted peeping Tom. It says nothing about Edwards, the Kerry campaign or the Democratic Party. One suspects that in any given crowd at a campaign function of either party there is likely to be convicts and kooks-and it is hardly newsworthy. For a reporter to report on such is simply an attempt to either titillate the reader or to embarrass the candidate.

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    Feel-Good Slogans

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:32 pm

    Setting aside the issue of why Clear Channel rejected the ad, and whether they shoud or not, let’s just deal with the slogan:

    “Democracy Is Best Taught by Example, Not by War”

    Like other popular slogans of the anti-war left, this is one is quite vacuous. While, sure, it would be better if countries would look at democracies and follow their examples, I ask: would the Taliban in Afghanistan have looked at Australia and, because of the shining example, democratized? Was Saddam going to look at Spain or Switzerland and call a constitutional convention? I think not.

    War has, indeed, furthered democracy. Numerous examples come to mind: the US Civil War ultimately furthered democracy in the US, and clearly Germany and Japan were democratized as the result of devastating wars.

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    Novack on Buckley v. Reagan

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:22 pm

    From Novack’s column today:

    In a succession of television and newspaper interviews, Ron Reagan Jr. used the occasion to trash George W. Bush by drawing invidious comparisons between his father and the current president. Nobody knew how to respond in a time of national mourning. Nobody, that is, except William F. Buckley Jr.

    The elder statesman of the conservative movement considered Ron Jr.’s remarks a public challenge that ought to be challenged publicly.

    The whole thing is worth a read.

    One non-political tidbit worth noting:

    RR Jr.: Having three cats while being childless “is like having children.”

    WFB: “No, it’s not like having children.”

    Indeed. I noted that one as well when I skimmed the intereview the other day, and almost blogging it. The statement may have been tongue-in-cheek, but I suspect not. Having had cats, dogs and children, trust me: kids are a tad harder to deal with (to understate the situation).

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    Confirmed: Reagan to Speak

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am

    Ron Reagan to Address Democrat Delegates.

    The speech will be prime-time, and allegedly will focus solely on stem cell research policy. We shall see.

    “If they had asked me to say a few words about throwing George Bush out of office, I wouldn’t do it,” Reagan told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “This gives me a platform to educate people about stem cell research.”

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    Mars Needs Women

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:24 am

    And Bryan needs hits. Go give him a visit.

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    Warped Logic

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 am

    Social Conservatives Want More of Their Own to Speak at the G.O.P. Convention

    “I hate to say it, but the conservatives, for the most part, are not excited about re-electing the president,” warned Paul Weyrich, the longtime Christian conservative organizer, in an e-mail newsletter on Friday. “If the president is embarrassed to be seen with conservatives at the convention, maybe conservatives will be embarrassed to be seen with the president on Election Day.”

    Yup, that would be a great idea. It will teach those GOPers a lesson! Meanwhile, President Kerry will be able to appoint likely three Justices to the Supreme Court, which will certainly forward Mr. Weyrich’s policy goals.

    Look, while I can understand the idea that many social conservatives wish they had a more prominent speaker at the convention, need I point out to them: it’s the freakin’ convention!!-what difference does it make policy-wise? (and remember: the reason one wants to win elections is to influence public policy).

    What’s further amusing is that folks on the Left will read the platform and then holler how the right-wing nuts control the Republican Party.

    Note to all: the convention is an infomercial (especially the prime-time speakers) aimed not at the party faithful, but at voters on the fence. As such Guiliani and Schwarzenegger make excellent choices for prime-time speeches.

    Does anyone even remember who the prime-timers were in 2000? And might I point out that Pat Buchanan’s 1992 “Culture War” speech was hardly helpful. Does Weyrich want more of that?

    If social conservatives are interesting in actually influencing abortion policy and similar issues, then their best bet is to do their best to re-elect George W. Bush and not pout over convention speakers.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

    Until I get arond to trying to hack my blogroll so that it won’t stop my page from loading, I have moved it to its own page, with the link up above under the logo.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with And another thing about traffic...
    More on Election Postponements

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 am

    Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I checked the U.S. Constitution for any specific on election dates. Article II, Section 1 states:

    The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    And as James noted yesterday, the federal code sets that date as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

    The basic calender is:

    1. Voters choose the electors in November
    2. Electors cast their votes in their state capitals in December.
    3. The electoral vote is counted in a joint session of Congress in January.

    As such, if so horrible event caused a slight delay of the November election date, it would hardly disrupt the entire process.

    And as predicted: a post over at the Daily Kos is referring to this as “calling off elections” and further proffers conspiracy theories that this is all just “partisan hokum” to scare people and therefore aid Bush.

    However, like I noted yesterday: an attack on a major city would disproportionately affect Democratic voters-and can one imagine the conspiracy theories that woudl crop up if we just soldiered forth, “not letting the terrorist win” and therefore undercounting New York city or LA?

    I can see scenarios in which a postponement would be reasonable. Calling off the elections, which no one is calling for, would, however, be ridiculous.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with How low the left will go
    Sunday, July 11, 2004
    Investigating a Vote Delay?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:37 pm

    This seems to be a growing story in the Blogosphere, and I expect the conspiracy buffs to go hog wild with it: U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack.

    A few initial thoughts:

    1) It seems prudent for Homeland Security to at least investigate the options. If there was a major attack on election day, there can be no doubt that the HS Department would be roundly (and rightly) criticized for not having a plan in place. If there was a truly disruptive attack , issues of whether the votes of certain citizens would be counted or not would be a major issue. For example, imagine the hue and cry if a major attack disrupted Miami, causing strongly Democratic parts of Florida to be unable to vote, or for conditions to be such that voters were afraid to leave their homes. Indeed, any attack aimed at a major city would almost certainly negatively affect Democratic voters (just look at the Red and Blue map and see how almost every major metropolitan area in the country went for Gore).

    2) This whole process is contingency planning.

    3) Those who think this is some master plan for the Evil Bush to stay in power extra-constitutionally are just as looney as the right-wingers who thought Clinton was going to use the Florida kerfuffle to extend his stay in office (for a representative example of that brilliant line of reasoning, go here).

    4) Hopefully mainstream left/Democrat bloggers won’t go nuts on this, but we shall see…

    Joe Gandelman is blogging on this as well, as is Kristopher of The World Around You and James Joyner.

    The main story (brief as it is) is here.

    Best I can figure, it would take a federal law to grant such powers to the HSD. One wonders whether Congress will act on this issue, however.

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    • The Kudzu Files linked with Endangered Election?
    • The Moderate Voice linked with NEWSWEEK: Proposal To Postpone U.S. Elections If Terrorist Attack On Election Eve Or Day
    • Right Moment linked with Democracy should limp forward
    Annoying Car-Buying Facts

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:13 pm

    Has anyone ever noticed that the base model of a car (i.e., with only standard equipment) really never exists-not only do the dealers typically stock ones with numerous options, the actual existence (save by ordering one from the manufacturer) of a base model is pretty much a fantasy.

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    The New CotC is Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:26 pm

    Is it at The Outsourcing Weblog.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Today is the Anniversary of The Duel

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:49 pm

    Hamilton, Burr Kin Re-Enact Famous Duel

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Gushing Over Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:42 pm

    Juan Williams gushed over Edwards’ campaign for the nomination today on Fox News Sunday-a gushing that I have noticed a number of liberal commentators engaged in since his naming. Now, if his “Two Americas” speech was so wonderful and if he was such an awesome candidate, why was it that Edwards lost the primaries? Edwards won what? One state?

    And, again, Kerry is the head of the ticket, and he has to win this race.

    (I will post the appropriate transcript excerpts from Juan when available).

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    Speaking of WordPress

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    Outside The Beltway made the move last week.

    The seamlessness of the switch is noteworhy: it happened on the 8th and I had not yet noticed (I knew he was going to switch, but since I was driving across the Southeast on the 8th, I missed the post).

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    Ronald Reagan to Speak at Democratic Convention

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:22 am

    Ronald P. Reagan, that is. Or so reports Howard Fineman on The Chris Matthews Show.

    I guess it is getting harder and harder for him to maintain that he was digging at Bush in his eulogy wasn’t political.

    At any rate, the idea that he is Democrat is no surprise. However, having him speak at the convention will be a plus for the Democrats.

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    The Power of Veeps

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:09 am

    David Brooks, on The Chris Matthews Show made an excellent point that is of issue of hwo signifiance VP nominees are: Bentsen clearly beat Quayle (indeed, devastated him) in the 1988 VP debate. Further, there was no doubt that Bentsen was better prepared to be president than was Quayle.

    Yet, who won the 1988 election?

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    The “Mill Worker’s Son”

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:02 am

    I continue to tire of the whole “he’s the son of a mill worker” bit vis-a-vis Edwards. As I noted a while back, why is the fact that he emerged from the lower middle class to wealth an example of how horrid the United States is in terms on the ability of people to get ahead? Given that Edwards made the leap across this alleged gap that supposedly divides the “Two Americas” isn’t he an illustration of how one can succeed with hard work in America?

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    Filipino Story Updated

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

    Despite stories yesterday suggesting that the hostage was freed and suggesting that the Philippine government was ready to cave, neither appears to be the case: Manila Rebuffs Filipino’s Captors in Iraq

    A Filipino hostage in Iraq slipped into graver peril on Sunday after Manila rejected his captors’ demands for an early withdrawal of Filipino troops.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with More on the Filipino Hostage
    Saturday, July 10, 2004
    EE, WP and MT

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 pm

    As I noted a while back, I am planning to migrate away from MT to a new blogging platform. I think that I have finally decided to end my flirtation with Express Engine and will almost certainly be going to WordPress.

    As I have done some research, I have found the following resources that may be of interest to others who are thinking about switching or have switched,

  • scriptygoddess has written a number of plugins for WP.
  • has a list of posts about WP plugins and his experience converting MT blogs to WP.
  • Meyerweb has a short list ofWordPress Plugins and Hacks.
  • MtDewVirus � WordPress Plugins And Hacks.
  • Weblog Tools Collection � LinkyLoo
  • Just A Girl has a post on a trackbacking problem she had with WP and solved.
  • Words of Mass Disinterest � Why You Must Be a Programmer to Use WordPress

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with WordPress converts
    Which Means that the Campaign Lacked “Energy” and “Enthusiasm”

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 pm

    Kerry Says Edwards Injecting ‘Enthusiasm’

    Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says his selection of John Edwards as his running mate seems to have injected energy into the campaign. Still, he recognizes the dangers of being swept up by the excitement of the moment and growing complacent.

    The thing is: it is Kerry who ultimately has to generate the energy and enthusiasm. The buzz oer Edwards is going to die off relatively soon.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 2:09 pm

    Due to some loading problems associated with my blogroll, I have temporarily removed the code. I may have to move it to its own page, although I would prefer not to do so.

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    Drug Kingpin Caught in Cuba

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    Drug kingpin arrested in Cuba

    A top Colombian kingpin, Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, has been arrested in Cuba, Colombian police said Friday.

    Bustamante, 46, is wanted by U.S. prosecutors who accuse his Norte Valle Cartel of smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States over the past decade.

    “At this moment he is being held by the attorney general in Cuba and we are involved in discussions to bring him back to Colombia,” Colombia’s police chief, Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro, said Friday, according to The Associated Press.

    Bustamante, whose alias is “Rasguno,” could be deported to Colombia as soon as this weekend. Colombian authorities, in turn, are planning to extradite him to the United States for trial in a U.S. court.

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    That’s a Rather Narrow Definition…

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 am

    Kerry, Edwards blast Bush on values

    “Values are putting the full force of the Justice Department on day one in an effort not to take three years and a few months before the election before you bring Ken Lay to justice,” Kerry told a morning fund-raiser in New York.

    Not only is it a narrow definition of “values” it is a rather lame attempt to make political hay out of the Lay indictment. Kerry, as a law school gradate and former District Attorney, knows full well that these things take time, and that one moves up the pyramid from the least important suspect to the most significant. It is hardly the case that a Ken Lay would be indicted the first day of the investigation.

    The truth of the matter is that the Bush Justice Department has been quite successful in prosecuting these corporate scandal cases (especially Enron) and that it is difficult for the Democrats to make a credible argument that the administration has coddled these individuals.

    And I remain stunned that this is supposed to be some statement about “America values.”

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    Senate Report Contradicts Wilson

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:34 am

    Plame’s Input Is Cited on Niger Mission

    Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.


    Wilson’s assertions - both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information - were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

    The panel found that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union address.

    Yesterday’s report said that whether Iraq sought to buy lightly enriched “yellowcake” uranium from Niger is one of the few bits of prewar intelligence that remains an open question. Much of the rest of the intelligence suggesting a buildup of weapons of mass destruction was unfounded, the report said.

    Good thing he already has sold his books.

    And this info, if true, corroorates Novak’s claims about how Wilson got the job in the first place:

    The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame “offered up” Wilson’s name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations saying her husband “has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” The next day, the operations official cabled an overseas officer seeking concurrence with the idea of sending Wilson, the report said.

    Wilson has asserted that his wife was not involved in the decision to send him to Niger.

    “Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,” Wilson wrote in a memoir published this year. “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.”

    Most interesting stuff.

    Hat tip: Wizbang.

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    Hostage Freed

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:26 am

    Philippines Says Hostage Freed in Iraq

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(2)
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Filipino Hostage Freed
    • Outside The Beltway linked with Filipino Hostage Released?
    For Sean Hackbarth

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    I think that Sean will appreciate this.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Let the Conspiracy Theories Begin!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

    Pentagon: Bush Military Records Destroyed

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 am

    BBC: British PM Blair ‘Considered Resigning’

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    “Books for Baghdad” Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 am

    UA Profs Contribute to JSU’s Books for Baghdad Project

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    That’ll Look Faaantastic When She’s 70

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 am

    I don’t get the appeal.

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    • Outside The Beltway linked with Angelina Jolie Thai Tiger Tatoo
    Headlines Can be Deceiving

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 am

    Reading this: Philippines to Pull Troops From Iraq one gets the immediate impression that the Philippine government was going to withdraw immediately to meet the demands of the hostage-takers. Rather, they are withdrawaing on schedule next month:

    The Philippines will withdraw its peacekeeping contingent from Iraq on schedule next month, the government said Saturday, the day militants vowed to kill a Filipino hostage if the troops were not sent home.

    The story does note that there will be no extension of the deployment, as had been previously discussed. Of course, we are talking about 51 troops.

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    Friday, July 9, 2004
    Senate Releases Intelligence Report

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:05 pm

    US intelligence blasted over Iraq

    U.S. Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said on Friday the Senate would not have voted overwhelmingly in 2002 to approve the war if it had known how deeply flawed the intelligence was.

    “The administration at all levels, and to some extent us, used bad information to bolster its case for war. And we in Congress would not have authorised that war, we would not have authorised that war, with 75 votes, if we knew what we know now,” he said.

    Rockefeller said the Iraq war left the United States less safe and would affect national security for generations.

    I agree that different intelligence would have affected the vote-and that indeed the policy would never have been formulated as it was. I disagree that the war has made us less safe, however.

    This is true, however:

    “Our credibility is diminished. Our standing in the world has never been lower,” he said. “We have fostered a deep hatred of Americans in the Muslim world, and that will grow. As a direct consequence, our nation is more vulnerable today than ever before.”

    The committee chairman, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, said the intelligence community suffered from “collective group think” in reaching the unwarranted conclusion that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.

    “This ‘group think’ caused the community to interpret ambiguous evidence, such as the procurement of dual-use technology, as conclusive evidence of the existence of WMD programs,” he said.

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    You Don’t Say?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:59 am

    Kerry’s Choice of Edwards May Not Affect Election, Polls Show

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    Edwards’ Experience

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

    Let me say that on one level Edwards has wholly adequate experience to be the veep. And, further, I think that the Bush campaign and their allies ought not overplay the experience card.

    However, I do think that this issue has some relevance for the following reasons:

    1) There is no doubt that as a matter of empirical fact, that Cheney’s resume is far more impressive than Edwards’-and I think that in the veep debate that will be obvious. Edwards, who is better spoken that Dan Quyale in my opinion, still has certain Quayle-like qualities. And while Cheney will be unlikely to lay a “you’re no Jack Kennedy” line on Edwards, I think that the veep debate this year will have a quality similar to the Quayle-Bentson debate in 1988: that of the elder stateman versus the kid.

    In an era of terror, I think this will matter. As such, I think Kerry made a mistake with this selection.

    2) Kerry promised to find the most qualified candidate for the slot, and Edwards simply doesn’t qualify for that.

    3) The Bush in 2000 comparison is off the mark for one key reason: 911 hadn’t happened yet. Had we been in the war on terror in 2000, Gore would almost certainly would have been elected, givent he experience differential on foreign policy. 2000 simply wasn’t a foreign policy election, this one is. As such, I find the Edwards pick to be odd.

    Now, ultimately I don’t expect Edwards to have much effect on the race, and, in general, veeps don’t have as much impact as the current media blitz would have us all think they do. Still, I continue to think that Kerry could have picked someone who would have been less flashy, but ultimately a strategially better selection.

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    Thursday, July 8, 2004
    The Edwards Bounce

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:27 pm

    Not so much: AP Poll: Bush Gains Slight Lead Over Kerry.

    This matched other polls I heard noted on the radio today and on what little TV news I have seen since getting home.

    The most interesting part to me is that there are finally signs that the President is starting to reap the benefits of the growing economy-i.e., as predicted by many, the facts on the ground that have been around for months are now finding their way into the minds of voters.

    On the down-side for Bush: the wrong-track numbers are still high. On the up-side for Kerry: one of the days of the poll was pre-Edwards and also part of a holiday weekend for many (meaning the numbers are likely less accurate).

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    Regular Blogging Soon to Resume

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 pm

    Well, back home now and one would expect regular-strength blogging to commence tomorrow.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Wednesday, July 7, 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:14 pm

    No blogging tomorrow, but regular-stength blogging will likely resume on Friday.

    Hopefully the vacation-strength PoliBlog hasn’t left too many of you all in withdrawal ;)

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    Alex, I’ll Take “People Not to Take Advice From” for $300

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 pm

    Ex-GOP Senator Suggests Bush Dump Cheney

    President Bush should consider dumping Vice President Dick Cheney from the Republican ticket this year, an influential former GOP senator said Wednesday.

    Alfonse D’Amato said Bush should consider putting Secretary of State Colin Powell or Sen. John McCain of Arizona on the GOP ticket.

    A) This “dump Cheney” stuff is silly, because 1) it ain’t gonna happen, and 2) it wouldn’t make much difference.

    B) D’Amato isn’t exactly high on my list of politicos from whom I would take advice.


    C) Since when is D’Amato an “influential former GOP Senator"? The last time I heard his name was when he lost his seat back in 1998.

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    • Legal XXX linked with How to Gain Instant Credibility In the Press
    Interesting: Nuclear Materials Removed from Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:01 am

    U.S. Removed Radioactive Materials From Iraq Facility.

    It would appear that this was all leftover material from the previous weapons program, but it is rather unclear from the story. However, it is odd that such materials were still there after the initial wave of inspections. It certainly points to the possibility of reconstituting weapons programs in the future.

    While the promised stockpiles have not materilized, there has been a decent amount of evidence to suggest that WMDs weren’t entirely off of Saddam’s agenda.

    Another unclear issue: which guards abandoned the Tuwaitha facility? I assume Iraqi troops-but if the facility was under seal by the IAEA, how secure is such a seal if the facility was guarded by Iraqis?

    Hat tip: OTB

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    • QandO linked with Quick Hits
    Tuesday, July 6, 2004
    Iranian Agents?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:33 pm

    Jeff Quinton notes a story of Iranian Intelligence agents captured in Iraq outside Baghdad with explosives.

    Meguesses this qualifies as “developing.”

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Iranians Captured in Iraq?
    Carnival of the Capitali$t$

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 am

    It is at pc4media.

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    Dewey Picks Truman

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:05 am


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    Nice Change of Pace

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 am

    Iraqi Group Threatens to Kill Al-Zarqawi.

    A group of armed, masked Iraqi men threatened Tuesday to kill Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi if he did not immediately leave the country, accusing him of murdering innocent Iraqis and defiling the Muslim religion.

    While I am not fond of the masked men routine, if a grouped of armed men in masks have to threaten someone, Zarqawi is a much better canidate than translators, businessmen or other innocent types.

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    K to Stay at Duke

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:51 am

    Coach K to stay at Duke, spurns Lakers offer

    Likely the smart choice-while the money is radically better in LA, he is King of Duke, and will be as long as he wants to be. And I suspect he lives pretty well as it is.

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    Good News: Marine Free

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 am

    James has the details.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Marine Hostage Freed?
    Blogospheric Reaction to the Edwards Choice

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:39 am
  • James Joyner (who has a lengthy round-up).
  • Kevin Alyward (who disagrees with me about Gephardt).
  • Pejman (who was betting on Gephardt and uses the word “embarrassing” a lot in describing Edwards and who has a lengthy round-up also).
  • Mark A. Kilmer (who deems the choice “wise").
  • Glenn Reynolds (who offers additional linkage).

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate
    • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate
    • The Galvin Opinion linked with PHONY TRIAL LAWYER! IS EDWARDS BEST V.P. CHOICE?
    So, It’s Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 am

    No big surprise: Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate. Not a bad choice, but I am not sure that it was the best choice.

    Some thoughts:

    1) The “Bringing a State” Test. Yes, this is an over-rated category, but since it is fairly clear that Edwards was unlikely to be re-elected to the Senate from NC, his electoral impact will be small. And one can throw out the idea that he will help in the South to the degree to which he could swing a Bush state to Kerry.

    2) The “Read to Govern” Test: A scant six years (almost) in elected office isn’t really suffcient to pass this test-and while he is a better looking man thatn Cheney, and more energetic looking, I don’t think he will compare favorably in the debates. To the small degree to which some swing voters may look at the veeps as potential presidents in a time of war, I would think that Cheney would win that comparison.

    3) Senator + Senator: While hardly a death-blow, it seems odd to me to have two Senators on the ticket who have, between them, zero hours of chief executive experience (although, granted, Kerry was Lt. Gov. of Mass under Dukakis).

    4) The “He Adds Energy to the Ticket” Argument: First, whatever energy infusion that Kerry will get will only last through the initial media-fest over the nomination, and second, the excitement over the possibility of some excitement bespeaks poorly about the head of the ticket. LIke the GOP excitement over Jack Kemp in 1996, this situation serves to underscore how un-exciting the nominee is.

    I still think that Gephardt would have been a better choice: a chance at tippping MIssouri to Kerry, a ton of governmental experience, and less discussion about him being chosen for “energy.” Although, granted, there was still a lack of executive experience there.

    The selection does follow the same pattern as that other JFK, i.e., Senator+Senator (and Northeastern+Southerner)-except that LBJ had a ton of experience and could bring Texas, and the top of the ticket had the charisma and energy.

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate
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    Monday, July 5, 2004
    So Much for the Radically Conservative Court

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

    The NYT has an interesting and lengty piece on the SC, The Year Rehnquist May Have Lost His Court. At a minimum it underscore what most even casual Court-observers know: despite having Justices appointed primarily by Republican presidents (7 of 9), this is hardly a monolithically conservative court:

    There were 18 cases this term decided by five-member majorities (17 were 5-to-4 decisions and one, the Pledge of Allegiance case, was 5 to 3 but would surely have been 5 to 4 had Justice Scalia participated; he would certainly have agreed with Chief Justice Rehnquist, in the minority, that the court should rule that “under God” posed no constitutional problem). Of the 18 cases, Chief Justice Rehnquist was in the majority in only eight.

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    Sadr Vows to Continue Fight

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

    Iraq Militant Cleric Vows to Keep Fighting

    Militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who led an April uprising that left hundreds dead, called Iraq’s new interim government “illegitimate” and pledged to resist occupation forces to the “last drop of blood.”

    The cleric’s comments apparently reversed earlier conciliatory statements he made to the government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Members of al-Sadr’s movement had also suggested they might transform their militia into a political party.

    “We pledge to the Iraqi people and the world to continue resisting oppression and occupation to our last drop of blood,” al-Sadr said in a statement distributed Sunday by his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where his al-Mahdi militia battled American troops until a cease-fire last month.

    “Resistance is a legitimate right and not a crime to be punished,” he said.

    Previously, Al-Mahdi fighters accepted cease-fires in most Shiite areas after suffering huge losses at the hands of the Americans.

    That’s certainly constructive…

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    Sunday, July 4, 2004
    Nor Can I

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:10 pm

    Rumsfeld ‘Can’t Imagine’ Revived Military Draft.

    Said Rummy:

    “As a matter of fact, despite all the talk about the stress on the force, today we still are having very good results with respect to recruiting and retention. And we do not have a problem of attracting and retaining the people we need in the military,”

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    4th of July PoliColumn II

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 am

    This is supposed to be running in today’s Birmingham News:

    The Democratic Experiment Thrives

    Steven L. Taylor

    As we celebrate 228 years of freedom from the rule of an outside power on this July 4th it is worthwhile to reflect on the amazing resiliency of the American democratic experiment. The Spirit of ‘76 eventually resulted not just in the independence of the thirteen colonies from the control of the British, but also to a remarkable creation: the first true constitutional republic that the world had ever seen.

    As James Madison noted in “Federalist 39″ (one of many essays written to support the ratification of the US Constitution), there were many countries which had aspired to be called “republics” (i.e., democracies with representative government) but who had “fallen far short of that exalted title.” His key point was that just calling your country a republic was insufficient, but the proof of the democratic values needed to form a republican was in the actual way that the government functioned.

    We can call on contemporary examples to illustrate this point. The full name of mainland China, for example, is the “People’s Republic of China,” yet it is clear that the Chinese people are hardly free, as the tanks of Tiananmen clearly demonstrated in 1989. Further, the letters USSR, the name of the “evil empire” that was our key adversary in the Cold War stood for “United Soviet Socialist Republics.” Again, we full well know that just calling a tyranny by the name “republic” does not make its people free.

    Madison noted that the new government of the United States of America would be one in which governmental power was “derived from the great body of the society” and that those who governed would be answerable to that society. In such a context freedom and self-government could flourish.

    It was a promise made in the 1780s and one that has not only been kept, but expanded upon as we have grown as a people. There is no doubt that there have been considerable failings over the past two and a quarter centuries of existence in the United States as we have sought to wed reality to our ideals. However, the long-term story is one of the triumph of democracy.

    Of course, all fall short when the comparison is made to the ideal, but when viewed through the lens of imperfect reality, the remarkable nature of American democracy shines forth as one compares it to the rest of the world in historical context.

    While we now live in an age of democracy (it is considered the most desirable form of government as the result of our victory in the Cold War), it may seem as if we are simply one amongst many successful democratic states. This is largely true, but when one considers that the part of the world usually cited as being our democratic equal (i.e., western Europe) has largely only been democratic since the end of World War II. Even states such as Great Britain, perhaps the second longest functioning democracy in the world, did not make the transition from a system of monarchical power to one that could properly be described as fully democratic until the mid to late 19th Century.

    Indeed, the strength and longevity of US democratic governance is striking when one really assesses the global state of democracy in the past two centuries. The breadth and depth of our republic is observable in fairly easy ways.

    Consider what may seem a mundane fact: we have had presidential elections every four years since April 6, 1789, even during the Civil War and World War II. During that great expanse of time, no President has sought to illegally extend his stay in the White House-indeed, until Franklin Roosevelt, no president even sought more than two terms in office. Even after the United States became one of the most powerful governments ever to exist on the face of the earth, the men who occupied the office of chief executive left when defeated at the ballot box, or when their time in office expired.

    One can compare this record to many countries where individual presidents, political parties and militaries have decided that a given candidate simply isn’t suited to govern, and therefore we have seen in those cases elections ignored or nullified. Or worse, one can easily conjure examples of brutal dictatorships which emerged, as Hitler did in Germany, from failed democracies. Indeed, while the 20th Century ended on a democratic high note, the preponderance of that period was one of tyranny of various stripes.

    Despite all of this, we in the US are so used to the process working that it never really occurs to us that it won’t or even couldn’t (except in the minds of extreme conspiracy theorists).

    A more specific example would be the 2000 election and the brouhaha that was Florida. Despite the rancor and anger that emerged on both sides of the political aisle, what happened? Did President Clinton declare martial law? Was there rioting in the streets?

    Setting aside one’s personal position on the process itself, if one can step out of time and take an historical perspective on the events, one ought to marvel at the relative ease by which the decisions were rendered. No shots were fired, no blood was shed and at the end of the day the rules were followed.

    The ability to take something for granted is often the surest sign of security. And while there are never guarantees that any governmental system will survive, there is a certain amount of comfort to be taken in the fact that most Americans today will think very little about our democracy today. Democratic governance is so engrained in our minds and culture that, like the air we breathe, we don’t ever consider with any seriousness that it will ever go away.

    While I not advocating taking something as precious as our democracy truly for granted, it is still worth reveling in the fact that, on balance, it is so secure that we really don’t have to worry about it very much. Compare that to the scenes on your television of other parts of our globe where the people seek freedom, only to have it taken from them at gunpoint and consider our good fortune as we celebrate this birthday of our nation.

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    4th of July PoliColumn I

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 am

    This is supposed to be running in today’s Mobile Register:

    Nothing New Under the Sun

    Steven L Taylor

    As the election approached, concerns abounded amongst the various political actors of the day. Some were concerned that the United States had severely damaged its relationship with France, and only a change of administration could salve the wound. Further, partisan division was so bad in the country that one prominent observer of American politics wrote: “the next president of the United States will only be the president of a party.”

    In their grimmer moments, some wondered as to the long-term health of our democracy, given the depth of partisan division in the land and the rancorous and scandalous things being written about both parties.

    One observer of the sitting President noted that he really wasn’t a particularly bookish man, who didn’t write his own speeches, and often misspelled words. Further, this intimate observer of the President wrote in a letter to a confidant that the President was “more an actor than a leader, brilliant at striking a pose” and that he was “excellent at dramatic exhibitions.”

    Am I writing from the perspective of the future regarding the 2004 electoral cycle? No-the election in question was that of 1796, the first seriously contested election in our nation’s history. The concerns over France, as well as the observations about the next chief executive being President of a party only, were both made by Thomas Jefferson, the latter statement being made in a letter to James Madison. The concerns about the health of the republic abounded at the time, as debates over whether our diplomatic fortunes should be attached to the British or the French and passionate conflict raged over the proper role of the federal government to the point that both sides saw the other as treasonous. The observations concerning the sitting President were aimed at George Washington, and were written by none other than Washington’s Vice President, John Adams, in correspondent to his friend Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    These observations and quotes come from the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Founding Brothers” by Mount Holyoke College Professor of History Joseph J. Ellis. The book analyzes the relationships that existed amongst the founding generation of the United States and notes that they were far from harmonious, even if the results of their endeavors were ultimately quite extraordinary. Indeed, he notes that “[t]he politics of the 1790s was a truly cacophonous affair.”

    As we celebrate the independence of the United States from imperial rule, as well as the birth of the greatest experiment in democracy ever attempted on the face of the planet Earth, it is worthwhile to consider that politics is nothing new. Indeed, democratic politics, by definition fosters and invigorates partisanship. It is something that we tend not to like. We want politicians to “get along” and “do the right thing.” Of course, the problem is, we don’t ultimately agree on what that “right thing” is, so we end up not getting along.

    We tend to look down our noses at the current crop of politicians as being unworthy of those who came before. Yet, as the introduction to this column points out, even those men we extol as Founding Fathers engaged in partisan fights, even to the point of pettiness and invention.

    If one is certain that partisanship in the United States has hit an all-time high, consider the following examples from that political generation that we as Americans typically consider to be political demi-gods, whose very likenesses are carved in marble in our nation’s capital.

    There is, of course, the well known case of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who ended up facing each other at pistol-point over Hamilton’s criticisms of Burr in print over many years. The result was Hamilton’s death and Burr’s political ruin.

    There is the case of Thomas Jefferson’s hire of a notorious pamphleteer named James Callender to produce essays claiming that President John Adams was preparing to declare war on France and set himself up as President for Life, with his son, John Quincy Adams, as successor. And this was, mind you while Jefferson was serving as Adams’ Vice President (in the early days of the Republic, prior to the passage of the Twelfth Amendment, the second place finisher in the Electoral College became Vice President, meaning that the President and Vice President were of different parties). Later Callender, on the argument that Jefferson hadn’t paid him adequately for his work, published the story of Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s slaves, whom Callender claimed Jefferson was keeping as “concubine” and with whom he was alleged to have fathered a child.

    Other examples could be produced.

    I cite these not to tear down a generation of clear political geniuses-we owe the fact that we celebrate July 4th to the generation in question. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that they weren’t perfect and, further, that the current partisan wranglings that we endure are not quite as dire as we might think.

    All this reminds us that as Solomon noted, there is nothing new under the sun. This truism is quite applicable to politics, despite the amnesia that sometimes afflicts observers of the United States. We are oft told that we are currently in one of the most partisans times that we as a nation have ever experienced. We are told that there is a profound conflict between the Red and Blue states. And certainly it is the case that there are many great questions of the day that consume us and create great clashes of ideas and emotions.

    However, as this brief look into our political past shows us, this is nothing new. Indeed, even the recent opportunities we have had to peer back into the recent past, via the Reagan funeral and the release of the Clinton biography, demonstrate that partisanship did not start in the 2000 election, or at the inauguration of the current President Bush.

    So, fret now: the doom of the Republic is not at hand. Rather, it is just politics as usual, and that isn’t as bad a thing as it may sometimes sound. Democracy is about argument, and public argument at that. So long as all we do is make each other a little angry, but at the end of the day respect the process, then all is well. President Bush and Senator Kerry (and their various allies) may not be very nice to one another between now and November, but I am confident that shan’t be getting their pistols out.

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    Happy Independence Day!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 am

    Here’s a toon for the day.

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    Saturday, July 3, 2004
    4th of July Weekend Caption Contest

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:52 am

    This photo begged for a CC, so have at it:

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    Speaking of the Press and Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:36 am

    James Joyner has a interesting post on How The Media Get Iraq Wrong.

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    WMD Reporting

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

    It would seem that the appropriate headline should be “Depleted Chemical Weapons Found” (Read this at OTB to see the stories).

    While pro-war types shouldn’t gee all excited about old shells with deteriorating chemical weapons in them, neither should war skeptics act as if this is a non-story. It is not accurate for WaPo to state that no weapons were found, rather it should report that old ones were found. The presence of stored WMDs, even if old and depleted ones, is still significant.

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    Anti-Democracy Foces Damage Pipeline in Iraq (And Other News)

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

    Not good: Saboteurs Halve Iraqi Oil Exports

    Guerrillas set a southern oil pipeline ablaze on Saturday, halving Iraq’s vital crude exports, in the first major sabotage attack since an Iraqi interim government took over from the U.S.-led occupation.

    An oil official said one of two pipelines feeding Iraq’s Gulf terminals was on fire in the Faw Peninsula and a shipping agent said this had cut exports to 960,000 barrels per day.

    Oil exports, Iraq’s main economic artery, had recovered to about two million bpd after being choked off completely by last month’s attacks on both southern pipelines.

    To me this is simply proof that the terrorists and dead-enders have no regard for the Iraqi people.

    Also of interest:

    Yet by postwar Iraq’s violent standards, it has been a quiet week, with nothing like the wave of bombings and attacks that killed about 100 people, many of them policemen, on June 24.

    Of further interest: Iraq declines Jordanian troop offer:

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari declined an offer by Jordan to send troops to Iraq, where a U.S.-led multinational force of about 160,000 has remained to fight insurgents.

    “We welcome the support of Arab and Islamic countries … but there are many ways for these countries to stand with the Iraqi people and offer a helping hand,” Zebari told a news conference.

    Hundreds of Saddam supporters demonstrated on Saturday in the town of al-Dawr, north of Baghdad, where U.S. troops caught the former dictator in December. Witnesses said Iraqi police and national guards joined the crowd waving portraits of Saddam.

    The U.S. military said it had thwarted potential attacks in Baghdad with raids that uncovered a car bomb “factory” and caches of arms and explosives. Fifty-one people were arrested.

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    Friday, July 2, 2004
    Blogging: An 18th Century Invention?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 pm

    In reading about the newspapermen, pamphleteers and independent printers in Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin: An American Life one begins to think that blogging (at least the arugmentative part) ain’t all that new.

    Of course, Senator Bob Graham invented the tedious, “here’s what I did today” version-but that wasn’t until the late 19th Century…

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    PoliColumn at TCS

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:59 pm

    I have a new piece up at Tech Central Station.

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    Simulation: Travel with Small Children

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:55 pm

    Step One: While with your spouse, significant other, or near strangers if need be, ask the following question: “Are we there yet?”

    Step Two: Repeat every ten minutes-with occassional variation to keep your compatriors off guard.

    Advanced Version: Vary the quesiton somewhat. For example “Are we still in Mississippi?” “How long until Texas?” “When will we get there?” etc.

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    Lone Star Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:18 am

    I’m back online, more or less, from Dallas, Texas.

    There should be some normal blogging later today.

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    Thursday, July 1, 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:29 am

    No blogging for the rest of the day and probably only light-to-moderate blogging for the next week.

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    Taking the “Safe” Out of “Safehouse”

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:28 am

    U.S. Says Attacks Zarqawi Safehouse in Falluja

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    More on the Common Good Question

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:26 am

    Steve Verdon has an interesting post on this subject, and adds the important concept of “public goods” (as oppossed to the “common good") to the discussion.

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