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Sunday, October 31, 2004
Today’s WaPo: a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 3:45 pm

48-48

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Corny but True Moment of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

I think it cool that we live in a country where the guys who want to be not only our President, but arguably the most powerful man in the world, has to run around asking for our vote. And, not only do they ask, but they mean it, and that that vote does matter.

Quite cool indeed.

Kerry’s Afghan Amnesia (washingtonpost.com)

By Steven Taylor @ 3:14 pm

Today’s Krauthammer:

Within days of Sept. 11, the clueless airhead president that inhabits Michael Moore’s films and Tina Brown’s dinner parties had done this: forced Pakistan into alliance with us, isolated the Taliban, secured military cooperation from Afghanistan’s northern neighbors, and authorized a radical war plan involving just a handful of Americans on the ground, using high technology and local militias to utterly rout the Taliban.

President Bush put in place a military campaign that did in two months what everyone had said was impossible: defeat an entrenched, fanatical, ruthless regime in a territory that had forced the great British and Soviet empires into ignominious retreat. Bush followed that by creating in less than three years a fledgling pro-American democracy in a land that had no history of democratic culture and was just emerging from 25 years of civil war.

[…]

This election comes down to a choice between one man’s evolution and the other man’s resolution. With his endlessly repeated Tora Bora charges, Kerry has made Afghanistan a major campaign issue. So be it. Whom do you want as president? The man who conceived the Afghan campaign, carried it through without flinching when it was being called a “quagmire” during its second week and has seen it through to Afghanistan’s transition to democracy? Or the retroactive genius, who always knows what needs to be done after it has already happened - who would have done “everything” differently in Iraq, yet in Afghanistan would have replicated Bush’s every correct, courageous, radical and risky decision - except one. Which, of course, he would have done differently. He says. Now.

Indeed.

The whole thing is worth a read.

The funny thing is I have read/heard plenty of Democrats who praise Afghanistan, whilst pretending that the same defense/foreign policy team that “must go” because of Iraq had nothing to do with it.

Filed under: US Politics: War on Terror: 2004 Campaign | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (0)
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Agreeing with Drum

By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

As unlikley as it may seem this close to the election, I agree with Kevin Drum’s basic assessment of BCRA (a.k.a., McCain-Feingold):

I have a feeling we should all be able to agree on one thing: that whole McCain-Feingold deal didn’t work out so well, did it?

Now, Kevin seems distressed by the fact that one of BCRA’s failings was that it did not limit the overall amount of money spent (nothing is going to do that, btw). I am by no means distressed by the amount. I find the twisted ways that the money must flow (e.g., 527s) in order to become speech to be problematic. I think it relieves the campaigns of responsibility for the message being disseminated.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign: Campaign Finance Reform | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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And I am Sure He Will Behave with Utter Propriety

By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

Via the AP: Moore to Have Cameras at Polling Places.

Certainly Mr. Moore is a premiere journalist and will no doubt capture only the more honest portrayal of the events in question.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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  • Barney\’s White House linked with Michael Moore plans to film
Please Don’t Kick the Students

By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

Via the AP: Yahoo! News - Colo. Teacher Kicks Student for GOP Shirt

Fort Lewis College student Mark O’Donnell said he was showing people his College Republicans sweat shirt, which said “Work for us now … or work for us later,” when Maria Spero kicked him in the leg at an off-campus restaurant.

Spero then said “she should have kicked me harder and higher,” said O’Donnell. “To physically take that out on someone because you disagree with them, that is completely wrong.”

[…]

Spero, a visiting instructor of modern languages, apologized to O’Donnell in a letter dated Oct. 29.

“I acted entirely inappropriately by kicking you, giving vent to a thoughtless knee-jerk [literally-Ed.] political reaction that should never have happened,” she wrote. “Before the incident, I did not know you and that you are a Fort Lewis student.” [Would it have been better had the guy not been a student?-Ed.]

A hint to Ms. Spero: it is hard to turn that visiting instructor position into a tenure-track one when one goes around kicking students.

Filed under: US Politics: Academia: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (0)
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They Tend Not to Like that Sort of Thing

By Steven Taylor @ 8:44 am

Via the AP: Man Living in Cave on Los Alamos Lab Land

And here’s a shocker:

Ten marijuana plants were found outside the cave. Moore, 56, has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court documents. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.

[…]

Tucker said that as fire crews and lab security force members approached the cave after its discovery, they saw Moore and discovered “numerous” marijuana plants growing around the cave.

“From the campsite that I saw, he had been there quite a long time. … I was really impressed with his ability to set up a camp,” Tucker said.

Which, of course, makes me wonder out loud: if a guy can live in a cave for years near a major US research facility with high security and grow marijuana plants there, then how in the world can we think that we are going to eliminate coca leave, herin poppies and marijuana plants around the globe?

Filed under: War on Drugs | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (0)
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Vote Early (Just Don’t Vote Often)

By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 am

From the AP via the Opelika-Auburn News: Nearly 2 Million Vote Early in Florida

More than 1.8 million Floridians have cast their ballots through early or absentee voting _ nearly 2 1/2 times the number of people who voted early in 2000.

That’s roughly 20% of the state’s registered voters. Rather impressive.

And in regards to ballot/voting troubles:

Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog, said Saturday it received more than 7,500 calls from Floridians with voting trouble issues.

I will grant, this is just one measure. However, that would account for roughly .41% of the votes cast. That strikes me as a pretty good error rate (although granted, the actual error rate is probably between 2% and 4%). However, if there was as much widespread mayhem as some suggest that there has been/will be, I am guessing Common Cause would’ve found more than 7,500 out of 1.8 million examples.

Further, it begs the question as to what the operationalization of “trobling issues” is.

Polling places were packed Saturday as people continued to stream in to vote early, with some localities reporting lines several hundred deep and waits up to four hours.

At a mall in Broward County, Patti Bryant voted at 1:25 p.m. _ 3 hours, 55 minutes after she got in line.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Don’t We All

By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 am

Reuters: Wall St. Wants a Quick, Clean Election

Filed under: US Politics: The Economy: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Today’s Zogby: Kerry by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 am

White House Race a Dead Heat - Reuters Poll

Kerry and Bush were deadlocked at 48 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, which included one day of polling taken after the airing of a videotape from Osama bin Laden. Kerry led Bush 47-46 percent on Saturday.

In re: undecideds and the bases:

Only 2 percent of voters remain undecided as Bush and Kerry scour about 10 remaining battleground states to find the 270 electoral votes they need to win on Tuesday.

“Each man has consolidated his own base,” pollster John Zogby said.

In re: new registrants:

The Massachusetts senator had a 51-41 percent edge among newly registered voters

I re: battleground states:

Kerry had the lead on Saturday in six of 10 battleground states being polled separately, but Bush expanded his lead to five percentage points in the showdown state of Ohio.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Hawaii is in Play

By Steven Taylor @ 6:20 pm

The Democrats have sent Al Gore and the Reps have sent Cheney.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Today’s WaPo: Bush by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 5:24 pm

49-48

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Newsweek Poll: Breaking to Bush?

By Steven Taylor @ 3:30 pm

Breaking to Bush?

In a two-way trial heat, excluding Nader, Bush/Cheney would defeat Kerry/Edwards 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters. Last week Bush led 48 to 47 in the two-way contest.

The poll finds the race closer among registered voters. Forty-eight percent of registered voters would vote for Bush and 44 percent would vote for Kerry. One percent would vote for Nader. In a two-way race, 48 percent would vote for Bush/Cheney and 45 percent would vote for Kerry/Edwards. The worse news for Kerry: in the last lap of the race, the number of %u201Cpersuadables%u201D is falling. Now, 9 percent of registered voters say they haven%u2019t made up
their minds, down from 13 percent last week. And just 6 percent of likely voters say they haven%u2019t decided.

Hat tip: Paul at Wizbang.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(2)
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  • The Glittering Eye linked with RCP trends
  • The Glittering Eye linked with RCP trends
Poll Shows CO Amendment Going Down to Defeat

By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

Via the NYT: Colorado: As the Race Tightens, Enthusiasm for a Ballot Proposal Wanes

In mid-September, a poll by Ciruli Associates, a nonpartisan policy research firm in Denver, found that 51 percent of voters surveyed supported Amendment 36. By last week, support had fallen to 36 percent, with 49 percent saying they were opposed. The firm’s president’s, Floyd Ciruli, predicted that Amendment 36 would lose by a two-to-one margin.

Supporters of the measure say that most polls, including Ciruli’s, show about one in five voters still undecided, and that people often forget to vote on ballot initiatives, leaving open the possibility of a last-minute fluctuation in fortunes.

I have always thought that this idea was one that would sound good at first, and then fade in the minds of voters. This seems to be the pattern in question.

I certainly think that it is a bad idea for the state.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Explaining the Polls (Or, Maybe Not)

By Steven Taylor @ 11:55 am

The The Glittering Eye and Paul at Wizbang are trying to grok the meaning of the latest polling trends.

gEye thinks that he sees periodic jump for Kerry in as a result of Sunday talk damage control by Camp Kerry. Perhaps, but on balance the long-term trend is for tracking polls to favor the Democrats over weekends, so that may be what he is seeing. He also thinks that the over trend is Bush. Of course, as I noted the other day, while the RCP graph makes the Kerry-Bush gap look large, the fact of the matter is that that scale is so small it amplies that gap.

Paul looks at the WaPo tracking poll and thinks that Kerry’s lead was the result of the initial al-QaQaa story and the susequent flip back to Bush illustrates the expiration of that story’s power. Again, given that the Kerry surge started as weekend numbers were included, that may be the explanation. Further, the variation is so small (the biggest gap in the last week has been 3 points) it may be that that is nothing more than MOE variations. While it is likely that the al-QaQaa story is affecting voters, one wonders how many it can actualyl sway.

The bottom line for any and all analyses of these numbers: the margins are so small, I am not that any given variation that is within the MOE can be considered significant-nor can it likely be explained by any specific event or issue.

Update: Another thought occurred to me in regards to the WaPo tracking poll: the Kerry surge actually starts well before the explosives story. Further, given that it is three-day tracking poll, the full effect of the explosives story doesn’t register in the poll until later in the week. Really, by the time the story was fully in the consciousness of the news-consuming pubic, the numbers tunr a bit more Bush-ish. No, I don’t think that the surge Kerry got early the week of the 25th is attributable to the explosives story.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments(6) | Trackbacks (1)
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  • The Glittering Eye linked with RCP trends
The Political Fallout of the Osama Tape

By Steven Taylor @ 11:46 am

ABC’s The Noteproffers the following possible impacts:

4. Even poker-faced Republicans believe in this equation: OBL tape = more focus on “who will keep you safer?” = Bush advantage = Bush win.

5. A sliver of Democratic strategists believe: OBL tape aggressive (continued) Kerry attack on Bush record on OBL a break or two = Kerry advantage = likely Kerry win

6. Most Democrat strategists, however believe one of two things:

a. OBL tape Mommy Party status BC04 aggressiveness tightness of the race (3) above = Bush advantage = bad feeling

or

b. OBL tape Mommy Party status BC04 aggressiveness closeness of race (3) above the public mind about OBL among voters who matter Kerry pushback = a wash = no one knows = possible Kerry win

That pretty much covers it, expect what I suggested yesterday:

OBL tape + Kerry’s debate insistence that WoT=OBL+Bush 2002 “not concerned” remark=advantage Kerry.

I think that #4 list and 6a are actually the more likely, but would not dimiss the “helps Kerry” possibility entirely.

Filed under: US Politics: War on Terror: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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¡Que hilaridad!

By Steven Taylor @ 11:39 am

Via the LAT: Un ‘Sabado Gigante’ for Bush, Kerry

Tonight, President Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry will be guest stars on “Sabado Gigante” (Giant Saturday), a variety show that airs across the United States on the Univision cable network. It holds the distinction of being the longest-running television program in the Americas.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thanks for the Links

By Steven Taylor @ 11:26 am

Here’s the latest round of new linkage to PoliBlog. Each has been added to The List.

  • David Limbaugh
  • NixGuy.com
  • Passionate America
  • Suman Palit

If you have linked me, but have not received a reciporcal link, just drop me an e-mail.

Want a link at PoliBlog? Here’s my link policy.

Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
On al-QaQaa and the News Coverage Thereof

By Steven Taylor @ 7:52 am

Writes Jack Shafer in Slate:Al-Qaqaa Reconsidered - The competition throws stones at the New York Times scoop

That there are two sides to every story is not something that would automatically occur to the man who reads only one newspaper. If you’ve followed the Al-Qaqaa news only in the New York Times, where it broke, you might believe that the United States committed an unspeakable blunder in failing to guard the 380 tons of high explosives it knew Saddam harbored in the Al-Qaqaa weapons complex. The Times’ Oct. 25 scoop and its Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 follow-ups give that impression. But if you’ve consumed the Washington Post alongside the Times, your certainty about an American miscue would have evaporated by now. The Post’s Oct. 27 catch-up piece and its Oct. 29, Page One naysayer, “Munitions Issue Dwarfs the Big Picture,” portray the missing munitions as an overplayed story.

Journalists live to knock down what their competitors write: Nobody at the Gazette ever made his mark by re-reporting and confirming what the Bugle published. But the Post isn’t zigging on the Al-Qaqaa story simply because the Times zagged. It’s whittling away at the Times account, as I noted earlier this week, because the Times scoop raises questions about Al-Qaqaa that Times editors should have answered before they sent the scoop to print.

The bottom line:

always remember to read more than one newspaper a day.

Indeed.

Filed under: Iraq: MSM: The Press | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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Today’s Zogby: Kerry by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 7:18 am

Kerry Has One-Point Lead Over Bush - Reuters Poll

Kerry led Bush 47-46 percent, well within the margin of error, in the latest three-day national tracking poll. Bush and Kerry were tied at 47 percent on Friday.

In re: rookie voters:

The Massachusetts senator had a 48-41 percent edge among newly registered voters, an unpredictable group that could be a wild card on Tuesday depending on how many actually turn out to vote.

And in re: the battleground states:

Bush gained ground in some of the critical swing states that will decide who accumulates the 270 electoral votes needed to win, leading in six of the 10 battleground states surveyed in a series of Reuters/Zogby state tracking polls.

Bush led in Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada. Kerry led in Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, October 29, 2004
Today’s WaPo: Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 4:02 pm

50-47.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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Bin Laden Lives; Sends Videotaped Message About Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 3:57 pm

Via Reuters: Bin Laden Accuses Bush of Deceiving Americans

Bin Laden, appearing in a video on Al Jazeera four days before the U.S. presidential election and gesturing at the camera with a finger to stress points, made his clearest comments yet taking responsibility for the Sept 11 attacks.

“Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened,” said the al Qaeda leader, making his first video appearance for more than a year.

[…]

A U.S. official said U.S. intelligence agencies believed that it appeared to be bin Laden on the tape.

I am not sure what that statement is supposed to mean, but this is interesting, if anything because I was beginning to wonder if he was alive or not.

The immediate political question: does this help Kerry because he insists that bin Laden is essentially the totality of the war on terror, or does this help Bush in reminding the American people of the threat since in the polling Bush outscores Kerry on who will do the best to hanndle terrorism?

Much more on the tape here.

Update: The Jawa Report has more.

Filed under: US Politics: War on Terror: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(5)
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  • Diggers Realm linked with New Video Of Osama Bin Laden Aired On Al-Jazeera [ Update 6 ]
  • protein wisdom linked with a few cursory thoughts on bin Laden's "address to the Americans"
  • Never Sway linked with Osama bin Laden pulling for a Kerry win
  • Diggers Realm linked with New Video Of Osama Bin Laden Aired On Al-Jazeera [ Update 7 ]
  • The Moderate Voice linked with On Osama bin Laden's Newest Tape
US Took Explosives: So Says Soldier

By Steven Taylor @ 11:39 am

U.S. Team Took 200 Tons of Iraqi Explosives

A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday and said a team from the 3rd Infantry Division took about 200 tons of explosives from the Al-Qaqaa munitions base soon after Saddam Hussein’s regime fell last year.

Major Austin Pearson appeared at a Pentagon news conference to say it was his mission to go the facility and clear explosives from the base. He said he did not discover that the International Atomic Energy Agency had reported 377 tons of explosives were missing until Tuesday night and he said he promptly contacted military officials.

The announcement, made at a Pentagon news conference, is the latest twist in the mystery over what happened to the explosives. The IAEA reported the disappearance to the United Nations on Monday and suggested they had fallen into the hands of looters while U.S. military officials suspected the dangerous material was taken before Saddam was ousted from power on April 9, 2003.

The officer’s story comes as new videotape has surfaced that supports the contention that tons of the explosives were still at the base following Saddam’s fall on April 9, 2003. U.S. officials had said they suspected the explosives were taken before U.S.-led forces took Baghdad.

Videotape shot by a Minnesota television crew traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq when they first opened the bunkers at the Al-Qaqaa munitions base nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels and bearing the markings of the International Atomic Energy Agency

I caught part of the press conference, but missed part due to a phone call. It sounds like the soldier stated that they used some of the explosives in question to destroy other weapons.

And the story takes yet another turn.

Filed under: Iraq: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(2)
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  • Read My Lips linked with A wee bit of the Kerry campaign's big pile of crap crumbles
  • bLogicus linked with More Facts Contradict Kerry's Charges about Al Qaqaa
And This is a Surprise, Because?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

War wives often share husbands’ politics.

Indeed, I would guess that most spouses shares political views. Indeed, I am not sure how Carville and Matalin do it.

Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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See What Happens When Lawyers Get Involved?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:21 am

Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Kinda Like “Man Bites Dog”

By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 am

Dog saves woman’s life by calling 911 - Oct 29, 2004

Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
He Said. No He Said. No There’s Video! No…

By Steven Taylor @ 11:11 am

Here’s the latest twist in the al-Qaqaa explosives story: U.S. Team Took 200 Tons of Iraqi Explosives

A U.S. soldier is coming forward Friday to say a team from the 3rd Infantry Division took about 200 tons of explosives from an Iraqi military facility soon after Saddam Hussein’s regime fell last year.

The soldier will appear before reporters at noon, EDT.

We shall see.

My guess is that the political effects of this story depends on which team your rooting for.

Filed under: Iraq: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
EU Constitution Signed

By Steven Taylor @ 6:36 am

Leaders Sign European Union’s First Constitution [RSS]

Filed under: Global Politics | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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Today’s Zogby: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 6:29 am

Bush and Kerry Locked in Dead Heat - Reuters Poll

Bush and Kerry were tied at 47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll as the Massachusetts senator gained two points on Bush. Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent on Thursday.

The deadlock sets up a frantic race to Tuesday’s finish in another tight U.S. presidential election, with neither candidate able to establish a clear advantage or break 50 percent.

“The election is four days away and we are right back where we started, in a toss-up,” pollster John Zogby said. “Kerry had a good day today.”

And in the state-by-state races:

Bush gained ground in some of the critical swing states that will decide who accumulates the 270 electoral votes needed to win, leading in five of the 10 battleground states surveyed in a series of Reuters/Zogby state tracking polls.

Bush led in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Nevada, while Kerry was ahead in Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin. The crucial state of Pennsylvania was tied.

Bush gained a two-point edge in Michigan after being 10 points behind Kerry when the state tracking poll began on Sunday. Bush led by one point in Florida and Kerry had a three-point edge in Ohio. All three of those results were within the margin of error.

Filed under: General | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Novak on Zogby and Security Moms

By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 pm

Writes Bob Novak: Kerry unable to crack Bush base

Pollster John Zogby surprised the political world back in April with a long-range prediction that John Kerry would defeat George W. Bush for president. On Monday this week, Zogby told me, he changed his mind. He now thinks the president is more likely to be re-elected because he has reinforced support from his base, including married white women.

That conclusion would be a surprise for frantically nervous Republicans and cautiously upbeat Democrats entering the campaign’s final days. In fact, nobody, including Zogby and all the other polltakers, can be sure who will win this election. Yet, it is clear that President Bush’s strategists have succeeded in solidifying his base to a degree that makes it much harder to defeat him next Tuesday.

The long, tortuous presidential contest has come down to who the ‘’security mom'’ thinks can best protect her family against terrorism. Based on current polling data, Bush has won that argument in the face of Kerry’s relentless attacks. That explains why the Democrat this week was not talking about health care or other standby issues of his party, but was trying to pierce Bush’s security shield by harping on the disappearance of munitions in Iraq.

The difficulty that Kerry now encounters has been shrouded by misleading overnight tracking from last weekend, showing a Democratic surge that is common in Friday-through-Sunday polling. Otherwise, Kerry is in trouble. When Zogby had second thoughts Monday, he found Bush with a national lead of three percentage points and an undecided vote of only 2.7 percent.

We shall see.

However, if this is true, then it seems to me that Bush wins:

Zogby shows Kerry’s advantage among women is only 3 percentage points, the same margin reflected in nightly tracking by Republican pollster Ed Goeas.

If Bush is tied, or slightly ahead with women, I am not sure how he loses. He lost by double-digits with women last time, and came within 500,000 of Gore in the popular vote.

One thing is clear: security is the issue, as I have thought since at least the 2002 elections, if not before. Kerry’s harping on the explosives issues underscores that fact. And if the so-called “security moms” do, in fact, exist, then it will be Bush for four more years.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark, who could be considered a Security Mom herself, I would think.

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The Alabama Senate Race

By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

It really is amazing that this is the best the Alabama Democratic Party can muster against Richard Shelby: ‘I’m the mystery candidate’

The first time many voters will have heard of Wayne Sowell will be when they look at their ballots on Nov. 2.

Although Sowell secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate and the ballot access that goes along with it, he’s received almost no support from a party that seems to have conceded defeat at the hands of the entrenched Republican incumbent, Sen. Richard Shelby. Sowell has had no television commercials, few signs and no funding from his party. He hopes a combination of straight-ticket voting, media appearances and a last-minute sign campaign will give him enough momentum to pull an upset.

[…]

Sowell has held neither a public office nor a college degree. The 27-year Army veteran first tested the political waters in 1996, when he was taking a political science course at the University of Alabama.

Sowell entered the gubernatorial race in 1998, but garnered few votes. But in 2000, when Sowell entered the race for U.S. Congress against U.S. Rep. Earl Hilliard, D-Birmingham, he took 7 percent of the vote. By 2002, Sowell earned enough votes in the Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate to force a runoff between the top two candidates.

Then there’s the issue that got Sowell into politics to begin with: his attempt to overturn the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which would make the use of medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp legal. While this might not be a priority for many conservative voters in Alabama, Sowell feels it should be.

Certainly legalizing marijuana is a sure vote-getter in Dixie!

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O’Reilly Settles

By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 pm

Via the AP: O’Reilly, Producer Settle Legal Dispute

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Ronald Green, issued a statement Thursday saying both sides “regret that this matter has caused tremendous pain, and they have agreed to settle. All cases and claims have been withdrawn, and all parties have agreed that there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O’Reilly, Ms. Mackris, or Ms. Mackris’ counsel, Benedict P. Morelli & Associates.”

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Today’s WaPo: Bush Back on Top by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 4:09 pm

49-48

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More on SP2

By Steven Taylor @ 4:07 pm

Ironically, Savid Pogue’s NYT’s NYTimes.com: Circuits Newsletter is on SP2 because of the e-mails he has gotten from people who have had problems when installing it.

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Aaaarrgghh!!!!!!!!!!

By Steven Taylor @ 3:22 pm

So, I go to install one of 17,000 vital upgrads for Windows.

So, it freezes during updating, resulting in the need to reboot.

So, a DLL was damaged, resulting in utter inability of Explorer.com (not Internet Explorer, Explorer) to open, hence the inability to access any of my files.

So, I try to open in Safe Mode (grapsing at straws, dontcha know). No go.

So, I dig up my recovery disks. Can’t do the quick recovery, as it would erase everything on my drive (did I mention that I have been intending to back up my machine, but haven’t? The CDs are to my right even as I type).

So, I find the OS disk. I try the Repair option. It wants the admin password. I ask myself, what freakin’ admin password?

So, I finally get it to fix XP, but then it wants the fricky-frack 25 digit product id.

So, I look in my file. I can find one for an old Win98 machine. I can find one for Works 4.something. I find one for Works 2000. I can’t find one for XP. It won’t let me continue. I go to call HP, when I turn over the machine to get a serial number, I found the *%^&! number.

So, after what amounts to a serious loss of work time, I am posting this.

So, I am seriously considering a Mac or Linux machine next go ’round.

UGH.

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Remarkable

By Steven Taylor @ 12:06 pm

Rehnquist May Return to Work at Top Court

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Have I Ever Mentioned…

By Steven Taylor @ 9:36 am

…that I despise comment spam? After a brief respite from it when I moved to WordPress, it has resumed with vigor of late. While WP does a better job of stopping the things before the hit the blog (although it still isn’t perfect), I am still getting a ton of messages held for moderation for various online poker games and a variety of pharmaceutical products.

When I think of comment spammers and thier little, annoying webbots, I am reminded of perhaps my favorite all-time Peanuts cartoon. It was a Sunday strip in which Snoopy is trying to obtain, as he was wont to do, Linus’ blanket. As he sneaks up on Linus, Linus informs him of the following consequence should he suceed:

I will destroy you. I will destroy you and the place where you were born. I will destroy the records at the court house. I will pounce on you like the last days of Pompeii

(I think that is the whole quote, the last line being the best. I half think I may be leaving out something in the middle).

In regards to comment spammers I can be say, if only.

Indeed, this should be the Blogger’s Anti-Spam Creed.

(And if anyone has a scan of the above-mentioned Peanuts strip, or knows of its existence on the web, I’d love to have a copy-or even just the date of the strip).

Of course, I am not the only one hacked at these folks, as Michele Catalano and Buzz ain’t none too happy with these folks either.

Update: The Creed is now parked in the OTB Taffic Jam, where it won’t be considered spam.

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If You Need a Break from Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

This is quite fascinating: A Saturn moon with echoes of Earth

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 7:52 am

Bush Leads Kerry by Two Points - Reuters Poll

Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, gaining one point on the Massachusetts senator in a day. Bush led Kerry 48-47 percent on Wednesday.

Bush’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, leaving the White House rivals in a statistical dead heat entering the final dash to Tuesday’s election.

“It’s close, it’s close, it’s close,” pollster John Zogby said. “The candidates are locked in a dead heat among Catholics, young voters, voters over 70, men and women, and independents.”

While it makes perfect sense that they would be deadlocked amongst independents, why/how could if have been the case that on Monday Zogby had reported a 12-point lead for Bush among independents on Monday?

The sounds tie far more plausible, but is there really that much volatility with those voters?

And on the state-by-state front:

Kerry leads in five of the 10 battleground states surveyed in a series of Reuters/Zogby state tracking polls, with Iowa and Michigan tied.

Kerry took a slim lead in the showdown state of Ohio and held his lead in Pennsylvania, while Bush leads Kerry in Florida. The results in all three of the biggest toss-up states were within the poll’s margin of error.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Interesting

By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 pm

Via WaPo: Likely Voters Narrowly Prefer Bush to Pick Justices

Likely voters narrowly prefer President Bush over Democratic nominee John F. Kerry to make appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the latest Washington Post tracking poll.

The survey found that 49 percent of all likely voters surveyed said they had more confidence in the president to choose future Supreme Court justices while 42 percent favor Kerry - preferences that were sharply shaped by party identification. Three in four Democrats - 76 percent - believe Kerry would do a better job filling future vacancies while 89 percent of Republicans chose Bush. Political independents split equally between the two candidates.

Interesting. It may not mean anything, but interesting nonetheless.

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Today’s WaPo: Kerry by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 pm

49-48

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The Fun Never Stops

By Steven Taylor @ 3:43 pm

Betsy Newmark points to this WaPo piece: Electoral College Calculus which gives us this pleasant thought:

Computer Analysis Shows 33 Ways To End in a Tie

Setting aside the need for Rolaids that some of these might induce, some of the scenarios are fun for the Inner Political Junkie in all of us.

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Fun with Correlations

By Steven Taylor @ 3:28 pm

Via the AP: Redskins May Predict Presidential Winner

Since the Redskins became the Redskins in 1933, the result of the team’s final home game before the presidential election has correctly predicted the White House winner. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins. If they lose, the incumbent party is ousted.

[…]

Until recently, the Redskins had been the subject of another political quirk. For 52 years %u2014 from 1946 to 1998 %u2014 they failed to make the playoffs under a Democratic administration. That one went by the wayside when the team won the NFC East in 1999, when Bill Clinton was president.

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What!? Say it Ain’t So!!

By Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

Via a USAT op/ed (Once again, big donors find new ways to skirt the rules):

Trying to control the flow of money corrupting politics is a lot like trying to contain flooding on the Mississippi. Dikes can channel the torrent. But when there’s a downpour, the river will keep on coming, breaking through at the point of least resistance.

So it has gone in this presidential campaign. The walls erected by the last set of political engineers, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., will largely have achieved their purpose: slowing the flow of illegal contributions %u2014 sometimes seven-figure checks %u2014 to political parties. But by the time the last vote is counted, a record $3.9 billion will have been showered on this year’s campaigns for president and Congress, delivered through diverted means.

That number, projected last Thursday by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan monitoring group, is up 30% from four years ago. And that’s conservative. Lax disclosure rules mask the scale of special-interest involvement.

Hmm, where have you all heard that before?

Of course, the author’s solution is public financing, which I wholly oppose, but at least there is agreement on the fact that the current set of rules is an utter failure.

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The Aging Supremes

By Steven Taylor @ 12:40 pm

Via the Houston Chronicle: Ills, age catching up with Supreme Court

Besides Rehnquist, Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have been treated for cancer, and there has been much speculation as to which of them, if any, will be next to retire.

Justice Clarence Thomas is the youngest, at 56. The rest of the justices are 65 or older.

So far, no plans have been indicated by any of the nine justices. But after a decade of service together-one of the longest stretches in modern times-it’s increasingly likely that there will soon be at least one vacancy on the high court bench.

Hence one the many significant factors in this election.

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Amen

By Steven Taylor @ 11:57 am

Writes Robert J. Samuelson in Newsweek, A Close Vote? Let’s Hope Not.:

We don’t need a repetition of Florida, perhaps on a grander scale. The danger is not simply a delay in knowing who the next president is, or the prospect that he’ll be handicapped in governing or the probable fury of the loser’s supporters that the election was “stolen.” The more unsettling danger is that, having engaged in two rounds of post-election combat, party warlords will make this a permanent part of the political process.

Election by litigation is a sensationally bad idea. Undertaken piously to guarantee voters’ “rights” or to prevent “fraud,” it would erode popular confidence in elections’ integrity. We’d be bombarded (as we already are) by endless complaints about how compromised or corrupt voting practices have become. Sooner or later, many Americans might cynically conclude that the side with the busiest poll watchers, cleverest lawyers and friendliest judges had secured an unfair advantage.

[…]

Campaigns can never be “fair,” but elections should be. People need to have confidence in the honesty of the process. The next president ought to fashion a bipartisan consensus over acceptable election procedures and technologies. But this will be hard if there’s a post-election legal slugfest and the outcome is settled by litigation. Here’s what we really need: the winner takes 52 percent of the popular vote and enough electoral votes so that a few close and contested states don’t matter.

Indeed2.

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Interesting

By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

TiVo, NFL Tackle Tech Discord

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Around the Blogroll
Don’t We All

By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 am

And in more than one way: Madison Avenue Ponders the Potential of Web Logs

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Brits on the Move

By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 am

Via Reuters: British Troops Head North for Mission Near Baghdad

British troops moved north from Basra Wednesday to take over a deadly area near Baghdad and free up U.S. troops for a possible attack on Falluja.

[…]

About 850 British troops, mainly from the Black Watch regiment, are due to deploy in a restive region just south of Baghdad, allowing U.S. troops to reinforce units fighting insurgents in rebel-held Falluja and elsewhere.

American forces would spearhead any assault on the Sunni Muslim city, which Iraq’s interim government has vowed to retake before nationwide elections planned for January.

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Leads Kerry by 1 Point

Bush led Kerry 48-47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, as the Massachusetts senator gained 2 points on Bush in a day. Bush led Kerry 49-46 percent on Tuesday.

Bush’s lead was well within the poll’s margin of error, leaving the White House rivals in a statistical dead heat heading into the stretch run.

“Today was a big day for Kerry,” pollster John Zogby said.

Kerry has consolidated his base support just as Bush did early in the race, taking a 2-to-1 lead among Hispanics, 90 percent of blacks, 84 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of union voters and 65 percent of singles.

Only 4 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

So much for the doubling of the black vote for Bush, assuming these numbers are accurate (i.e, the standard poll discussion caveat).

Certainly between the WaPo poll and now this shift, things are looking more Kerry-ish. OTOH, we are talking about 2 and 3 percentage points. Gets us back to the turnout question.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004
The Story That Just Won’t Die

By Steven Taylor @ 9:05 pm

AP: New Bush Guard Papers Leave Questions

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with Late Night Roundup
Hey Look: A Judge Who Stays out of the Way

By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 pm

Judge Rules in Electoral College Lawsuit

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Today’s WaPo: Kerry by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 5:18 pm

50-48

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Explosives Update

By Steven Taylor @ 12:29 pm

The timeline has a wrinkle.

Redstate has discovered that the the 3rd Infantry Division was at QaQaa a week before the 101st and the NBC reporters: Allies Find Signs of Iraq’s Chemical Preparedness.

It also notes that UN inspectors were there as late as March 8. No mention of the explosives in this story.

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The Explosives Story

By Steven Taylor @ 12:14 pm

Reports MSNBC: Timing of theft of Iraq explosives remains a mystery

In reporting the theft on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the explosives had been looted from the sprawling Al-Qaqaa military base, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, since January 2003 due to a “lack of security” at the former Iraqi military facility.

An NBC News crew that accompanied U.S. soldiers who seized the Al-Qaqaa base three weeks into the war in Iraq reported that troops discovered significant stockpiles of bombs, but no sign of the missing HMX and RDX explosives.

It remains unclear, however, how extensively the U.S. forces searched the site in the immediate aftermath of the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

The timeline in the story itself goes like this:

January 2003: UN inspectors inventory the explosives in question.

April 2003: US troops, who were accompanied by NBC embedded reporters, do not find the weapons in question.

October 2004: Letter from UN notes that the weapons are gone-NYT reports it as if they were recently stolen (Tracking the Weapons: Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq). Of course, in reading the piece there is no timeline-just the implication that it is a recent event.

Bottom line: we don’t know when the explosives went missing, and if the NBC account is accurate, there is a very high probability that they were moved before the invasion-indeed, the likelihood is that a great number of weapons and dangerous materials were moved in advance of the attack.

Of course, as the NYT reports today: Iraq Explosives Become Issue in Campaign. The issue becomes now: how will the story shake and to whom will it redound positively? That issue is up in the air at this point, methinks.

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Bush by 8 in Florida?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

So says CNN: CNN poll has Bush ahead in Florida

President Bush outpolled Democratic challenger John Kerry by 8 points among likely Florida voters surveyed in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, but other polls indicated a tighter race.

In the CNN poll, Bush had 51 percent and Kerry 43 percent among likely voters interviewed. The result was similar among registered voters: 51 percent for Bush and 42 percent for Kerry. Independent candidate Ralph Nader drew the support of 1 percent of respondents in both categories.

The poll interviewed 909 registered Florida voters Thursday through Sunday. Of those, 768 indicated they were likely to vote in the presidential election.

The margin of error in both categories was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The results were consistent with the last poll Gallup conducted in Florida, which found in late September that 52 percent of respondents chose Bush and 43 percent Kerry.

I take this one with a grain of salt. Of course, if true, would not only give Kerry scant hope of winning the election, but more importantly would mean that there would be no Florida II in 2004.

We shall see.

Hat tip: Pejmanesque

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Thanks for the Linkage

By Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

Some more folks to thank and add to the reciprocal link list:

  • Just On The Other Side
  • Let’s Try Freedom
  • Powerpundit.com
  • Shaking Spears (which has nothing to do with Britney)

If you have linked me, but have not received a reciporcal link, just drop me an e-mail.

Want a link at PoliBlog? Here’s my link policy.

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Better than a Fetid Pair of Dingo’s Kidneys

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 am

Overtaken by Events has CotC 69!.

It appears to be mostly harmless.

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Penultimate Toast

By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am


-Rounding-up, analyzing and handicapping the 2004 election-


Texas Toast or French Toast?
Tracking the race to the White House.

T(oast)-minus 7 Days and Counting

Less than a week from right now the officially polling for Election 2004 begins. We start this final week of the race with no clear view of where the race will end up, as the polls are largely within the MOE, whether it be the national numbers or the Battleground states.

The strategies of the two candidates are as follows:

BUSH: Security, security, security. And: surety, surety, surety.

KERRY: The clear strategy the last two weeks has been the pounce on any and all stories in the news that might underscore the theme of “Bush is incompetent” and/or “Bush can’t be trusted”. The obvious examples are: the flu shot, the social security “January surprise” and now the Iraqi explosives story.

Reading the toast: It’s too close to scrape. The numbers are slightly Bush-ish, but since we aren’t sure if the numbers can be relied upon, one has to wait and see. Kerry’s gets some burning bread because of the poll numbers and his continued inability to close the deal, while Bush has the whole undecided problem, not to mention the Iraqi weapons story.

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

  • The Big Three: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
  • If Iowa and Wisconsin indeed go to Bush, it will make Kerry’s task more difficult, even if Kerry wins Ohio.
  • It’s cliched but true: turnout.

Questions: To know who will get those Keys, there are some questions that need asking. If the answers to the first three are “yes” then Bush shoudl win-however, if the answers are, indeed, yes, then why are the national polls so close? The final question is Kerry’s main hope.

  • Does Bush really have twice the African-American support this year than he had in 2000?
  • Does Bush have a slight lead amongst women? A new poll
    has determined that President George W. Bush holds a narrow 1.7% lead among women voters nationwide. Yet Senator John Kerry holds a slim lead in two of three key battleground states. Kerry leads among women voters in Florida (50.0% to 45.5%) and Pennsylvania (50.0% to 44.0%), while the race is a dead heat in Ohio (47.1% to 47.1%).

  • Does Bush have a lead amongst independents? Zogby says he does.
  • Will the undecideds indeed break heavily for Kerry? The debate over whether this is empirically the way it normally works is somewhat debated (see here, here (with response here) and here). Of course, if Zogby’s numbers are correct (a three point lead for Bush, with only 3% undecided), it may be a moot issue.

BREWING ISSUES

We know the basics: Iraq (how it was handled and how it will be handled), the War on Terror generically, jobs, taxes (especially the famed cuts for those making over $200k) and other domestic policy flotsam and jetsam. So, what stories are likely to dominate the campaign trail in the final days of the campaign?

  • Rehnquist: voters who are paying attention won’t need t be reminded of the significance of this situation. However, how will the candidates find a way to point out that Rehnquist will likely have to retire (and could well pass away) in the next four years and therefore underscoring that there will be an almost guaranteed opening on the Court for the next President to fill?
  • This will no doubt be a hotly debated issue: Increase In War Funding Sought
  • The weapon’s tale. No doubt this one will be heard with partisan filters. Bush supporters will note the relztive numbers issue (and also question the timing the story), while Kerry supporters will use the event to underscore incompetence and the lack of troops.

For all the polling and Electoral College Info you can take:


  • Daly Thoughts and Dales’ Electoral College Breakdown 2004

  • Election Projection - 2004 Edition
  • RealClearPolitics.
  • The Hedgehog Report
  • PollingReport.com

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  • Overtaken by Events linked with Oh, What a Relief It Is!
  • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with T-Minus 7 Days and Counting
  • Wizbang linked with The 5 Spot
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with The Toast is Done
  • bLogicus linked with It�s Too Close to Scrape (Toast-O-Meter)
  • The Kudzu Files linked with Toasting the election
  • VodkaPundit linked with One Week to Go
  • The Glittering Eye linked with The next-to-last thing you've been waiting for
  • The MUSC Tiger linked with 7 Days Till Election Day...
  • Diggers Realm linked with Around The Blogosphere In 80 Seconds
  • Dean\’s World linked with Toast-O-Meter
  • Dean\’s World linked with Toast-O-Meter
  • Secure Liberty linked with My View Of The Election
  • Intermittent Stream linked with Linky Link
  • The Moderate Voice linked with Political Sciehtist Steven Taylor: Race Too Close To Call (Toast-O-Meter)
Say it Ain’t So!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:26 am

Kerry to Give Final 2004 Campaign Speech

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  • Overtaken by Events linked with Oh, What a Relief It Is!
Today’s Zogby: It’s Still Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 6:57 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Keeps Three-Point Lead on Kerry

Bush led Kerry 49-46 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, maintaining a stable lead on the Massachusetts senator as the White House rivals head down the stretch. Bush led Kerry 48-45 percent the day before.

With the campaign winding down, the poll added voters leaning toward either Bush or Kerry into their totals for the first time. That left only about 3 percent of likely voters undecided.

“If Kerry, as suggested, is looking to undecideds, look again - there may not be enough left,” pollster John Zogby said.

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Monday, October 25, 2004
Hitchens on Bush v. Kerry

By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 pm

Christopher Hitchens has an interesting piece on the Nation that is worth a read.

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Yet More on the Polarization Issue

By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 pm

Apropos of my recent postings on the issues of ideological polarization in the US (or the lack thereof) was a commercial I heard on the way home today. It was for Congressman Terry Everett of Alabama’s 2nd District.

The ad proclaimed Everett “Alabama’s conservative voice in Washington” and touted three specific accomplishments: 1) voting against same-sex marraige, 2) protetecting social security and 3) protecting medicare.

Now, on the one hand an anti-same-sex marriage vote is conservative, yet on the other there is widespread opposition to same-sex marriage, so while it is an emotionally charged and controversial issue, it is hardly a polarizing one like, say, abortion. Indeed, given that 55% of Democrats polled oppose it, it is hard to call it a solely conservative issue, either.

Then there are those two of the pillars of the American welfare state: social security and medicare. Not exactly bedrock conservative issues, if one is speak from the perspective of pure ideology. Yet, here we have “Alabama’s conservative voice” letting all the good folks in southern Alabama know that he has protected them nonetheless.

And while this is but a single commerical, it is reflective of the voting patterns in the Congress. And, the proof of polarization is in the policy-making, not in agitation of some party hacks during a presidential campaign.

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Amusing Headline of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 5:35 pm

Schwarzenegger Laughs at Kennedy’s Weight

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Today’s WaPo: Kerry by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 5:33 pm

49-48.

This is the first second time Kerry has led since the daily traking poll started (he led on th 13th as well).

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The CotC is Up

By Steven Taylor @ 3:19 pm

And its at the The Big Picture

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More on Rehnquist

By Steven Taylor @ 12:21 pm

Via the AP.

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Rehnquist Diagnosed with Cancer; Hospitalized

By Steven Taylor @ 11:20 am

Reuters: Chief Justice Rehnquist Has Thyroid Cancer

U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 80, has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and is in the hospital after undergoing a tracheotomy, the Supreme Court said in a statement on Monday.

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Zook no More

By Steven Taylor @ 11:16 am

My ears must be pretty good: Source: Florida fires football coach Zook

The University of Florida has fired coach Ron Zook and his staff, effective at the end of the season, an assistant coach on the staff confirmed Monday.

Hat tip: Chris Lawrence

Update: Clint of Southern Sense has his own predictions related to this event.

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And I was on Pins and Needles!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

Karzai Win Assured as Afghan Poll Count Winds Up

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 6:33 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Holds Three-Point Lead on Kerry

Bush led Kerry 48-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, gaining one point on the Massachusetts senator eight days before the Nov. 2 election. Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent the day before.

About 5 percent of likely voters are still undecided heading into the final full week of the campaign, but Bush has opened a 12-point lead on Kerry among independents.

[…]

The poll of 1,204 likely voters was taken Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The rolling poll will continue through Nov. 1 - the day before the election.

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Sunday, October 24, 2004
Zogby’s Newest Battleground Numbers

By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

Dave Wissing has them.

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Today’s WaPo: Bush by a Mere 1

By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 pm

49-48

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Presidents and the Economy

By Steven Taylor @ 6:59 pm

Here’s a interesting little piece from the CSM on the economic effects of presidencies: The economic limits of politics.

The short version, as I have noted before, is: not so much.

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Dallas Looks Awful

By Steven Taylor @ 4:42 pm

The ‘Boys are looking terrible in their game at Lambeau today.

If this keeps up, it will be time for the Drew Henson Era to begin.

(and what’s with the cheesebras on the dudes in the stands?)

Update: The most remarkable part is how woeful the defense has been this season-especially in this game.

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Thanks for the Links

By Steven Taylor @ 3:58 pm

Thanks to the following for linking to PoliBlog:

  • The Astute Blogger
  • Democracy Project
  • Mungowitz End
  • NewsHawk Daily
  • PiratesCove
  • Some Great Reward
  • Winning Again!

Each of the above is now listed in the bottom left-hand column.

If you have linked me, but have not received a reciporcal link, just drop me an e-mail.

Want a link at PoliBlog? Here’s my link policy.

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Charting RCP’s Daily Average

By Steven Taylor @ 3:42 pm

Speaking of Mr. Rowan’s Skeptician he points to this chart of the RealClearPolitics daily poll average. While it looks quite Bush-ish, I would note that the smallness of the scale exaggerates the differences in the numbers.

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The Skeptician Returns

By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

FYI: The Skeptician has returned with a new look, new software and a somewhat different approach (i.e., it isn’t all satire any longer).

Look good, except that I think that the font is too small.

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More on the Red and the Blue

By Steven Taylor @ 1:19 pm

Some have read my analysis of the current state of partisanship in the United State and have missed my point (for example: Pennywit as well as a few commenters).

First off, saying that we are not radically polarized as a citizenry is not to say that there isn’t nastiness out there-of course there is. It is likely the case that at the extremes in both parties that there are more intense feelings than in the past-which accounts for any number of unpleasant behaviors. I would further not that a proliferation of news outlets, and especially the internet, have allowed us to learn more of these events and sentiments than ever before. But close competition, as a rule, increases such nastiness. This is normal. If you know you are going to win by big margins or if you are are going to lose by big margins, the incentive to be nasty is highly dimished-but you have nothing to gain by being nasty. If the margins are close, not only does enhanced nervousness lead to additional nastiness, but the fact of the matter is that nastiness in that context might sway undecideds (and, it can also backfire).

Second, just because we aren’t (as I have argued, and as empirical data demonstrate) ideologically polarized doesn’t mean we can’t have a close election or that that election won’t have a fair share of nasty behavior it in (from thuggery to litigation).

The bottom line is not about an event (this election) but about broader political behavior and, more specifically where the rubber meets the proverbial road: and that is in public policy.

To wit, Pennywit takes me to task for my assessment of the current politcal climate:

Let’s explore this thesis a little further. Taylor’s most recent post is actually a follow-up to this Thursday piece, in which he talks about the differences between division and polarization. Taylore notes the various similarities between candidate positions on several issues, as well as the willingness of some voters to cross party lines, and even similarity of behavior of each party’s members of Congress.

However, Taylor’s thesis here floudners on one crucial point: His evidence is all drawn from near the center of American politics, often among those that are apolitical or ideologically oriented toward the center, and does not take into account the emanations from either party’s extreme wing.

I would respond as follows:

1) I am not just arguing from the center-I am pointing out what actually happens in Congress despite the presence of unified government. If the two parties were truly as polarized as the breathless press coverage and partisan political rantings of both sides would have us to believe, one would expect to see far more radical policy-making than we have seen. Where is the radical policies from the last 4 years? No Child Left Behind? BCRA? (whether one likes said legislation or not, they were both bipartisan bills) The tax cuts are the closest to ideological policy-making of a stereotypical sort that I can think of.

The Iraq policy might be argued to be part of an ideologically driven (i.e, “neocon") perspective, but it passed congress with widespread bipartisan support.

In short, if one wishes to argue that the country is an divided as never before, one has to back that argument with actually proof or ideological polarity in policy-making.

2) Depending on how one wants to define “the center” the truth of the matter is that is where most voters reside. Further, in terms of public approval, there is general support for tax cuts, the welfare state, increased educational spending, and for the military. Where is the ideological polarization in public demands?

3) One cannot deduce ideological polarization from electoral polarization. The two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. This may well be counter-intuitive, but it is nonetheless true. If the two candidates/parties running are not representative of ideologically extreme positions, then division over those candidates cannot be attributed to ideological polarization.

4) The presence of lawyers, hateful people, or even passionate partisans does not necessarily translate into a demonstrated polarization in the general population (where, I would note, that somewhere between 40% and 50% won’t even vote this year-hardly sign of widespread extremism).

5) Anecdotes of extremism aren’t proof of anything.

The bottom line: we can hae a nasty election and also have a citizenry that isn’t ideologically polarized-too many people are conflating the two. Indeed, I would caution perspective: if the goal is to evaluate what “Red” and “Blue” american really means, one has to look at more than just the election.

The short version: the election itself is not a microcosm of all things political in the US.

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Trek News

By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

This is precisely the kind thing I wanted to see from Enterprise from season one. The upcoming Soong arc and Vulcan arc (which wisely employs Trek novelists as screenwriters) also fit the bill.

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Worthless Guests

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

As I peruse my TiVo’d selection of Sunday Morning Shows I am reminded of the degree to which representative of either campaign are worthless guests. All they do is state, often in contradiction to empirical data, that their guy is doing wonderfully, while the other guy is really is trouble.

For example:

Sunday Talking Guy: Mr. Rep for Candidate A, doesn’t it trouble you that your candidate is down by ten in State X, which your parrt wonf by 14 last time?

Rep for Canidate A: Not at all Mr. Sunday Talking Guy, we feel quite confident that those numbers are the result of a poor sampling model.

Sunday Talking Guy: So, the fact that your candidate stopped spending money in State X doesn’t mean that yoiu have given up on it?

Rep for Candidate A: Not at all. We are just taking a hiatus. Really, we expect to win by 20 points!

and so forth…

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Backing off of Doomsday

By Steven Taylor @ 11:01 am

You know, it is possible that even if there is a ton of election-linked litigation that it will not affect the election itself. If the margins are such that the winners is certain in the states were lawsuits are filed, then while the suits may be forward, it doesn’t mean that it will be Florida Part II.

Indeed, while issues of provisional ballots, voter registration procedures, voter id, the rights of ex-felons and so forth may still be pumped into the legal system it does not mean that those suits will necessarily result in a delayed result. They may, but the presence of lawsuits, per se, does not automatically mean

Still, the idea that a Plague of Lawyers will be descending on polling places is not one I relish.

The thing I fear the most are judges who set aside existing law on a whim (such as the legal thresholds for recounts).

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Today’s Zogby: It’s Still Bush by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 10:35 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Keeps Two-Point Lead on Kerry

Bush led Kerry 48-46 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, a statistical dead heat that was within the poll’s margin of error. Bush’s lead among likely voters the previous day was 47-45.

The number of undecided voters in the poll fell to 4 percent. Neither candidate has been able to break 50 percent since the poll began on Oct. 7, although Bush reached 50 percent in the last of the three days of polling on Saturday that went into the survey.

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PoliColumn II: Alabama’s Amendment II

By Steven Taylor @ 10:25 am

This piece is supposed to be running in today’s Mobile Register, but none of their op/ed stuff made the web today:

In Support of Amendment 2

As usual there are a plethora of amendments on the ballot this year. And, as usual, many of them are quite trivial in nature; for example, one of the Amendments is about promoting the shrimp and seafood industry. However, there is one in particular that is quite significant on a variety of levels, and that has come under attack—an attack which I would argue is misguided.

The Amendment in question is Amendment 2, which proposes what would seemingly be a non-controversial action: the stripping of racist language from the Alabama State Constitution concerning segregated schools and the poll tax. Controversy has arisen from some quarters that some of the language that will be removed might open the door to lawsuits over education funding, and therefore to increased taxes.

Indeed, claims have been made that the changes in question will lead to attacks on private schools and home-schoolers in addition to the tax and lawsuit issues. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore has called the Amendment a “bait and switch” tactic and a “Trojan horse.” The Amendment has also been attacked by the head of the Alabama Christian Coalition, the Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama’s Association of Judeo-Christian Values, and Supreme Court candidate Tom Parker.

The question before us as voters is two-fold. First, what is at stake in this proposed amendment? Second, what are the merits of these critiques?

Now, it should be noted from the start, that these provisions (in Sections 256 and 259, along with Amendments 90, 109 and 111) are mostly dead letter, that is to say, they are unenforceable provision as a result of U.S. Supreme Court rulings decades ago. Nonetheless, the language has remained in the copious and arcane document we call the Alabama State Constitution. However, it should further be noted that there is powerful symbolism in the fact that most fundamental law in the state says “[s]eparate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race” as it currently does in Section 256.

Lest we don’t know, or have forgotten, the state constitution has 287 Sections (the US Constitution has seven articles) and has been amended 742 times (as opposed to twenty-seven in the case of the US Constitution, which is over 100 years older than Alabama’s). As I often warn my students, whatever you do with the Alabama State Constitution, don’t drop it on your foot.

Of course, length alone should neither extol nor condemn the document; rather the reason for the length is the problem: the document was written in 1901 to favor the land-owning elite at the time, to severely curtail the power of local government, and to limit the political power of and poor whites. It is a document with profound anti-democratic elements (many of which have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court) and it also a document designed to centralize power in Montgomery and then eviscerate it. As such it should be remembered as to why we have to go through this process every two years (or less) and why it is that we have some an ineffective government. The issues in Amendment 2 should remind us of what we are truly dealing with.

And yes, it should be acknowledged that to excise this tumor from the body politic of our state is mainly symbolic. However, it is a powerful symbol, both internally and externally. Further, if seeing the ugliness that exists there should spur us to further consider why we have not radically reformed this document, so much the better.

The controversy noted above centers around the removal of the following from Amendment 111: “but nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense, nor as limiting the authority and duty of the legislature, in furthering or providing for education, to require or impose conditions or procedures deemed necessary to the preservation of peace and order.”

Critics of the removal of this phrase want to pretend, or even think, that there is nothing racist about this phrase. However, let us consider the context in which the original language of Amendment 111 was written and passed: it was in the immediate aftermath of the 1954 desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. There is no doubt that the intent of Amendment 111, and the language currently under controversy, was intended to limit education policy because of the requirement for integration. Since many white families (especially elite ones) had started to move to private schools, the segregationists in state government sought to limit the quality of public education. To ignore this fact is to ignore the blighted history of our state.

As such, the removal of this language is not some scheme to allow for unfettered lawsuits and radical tax increases. Rather, it is an attempt to rectify wrongs from our past and perhaps set us at least partially on the proper course into the future. Is it possible that the removal of this language may lead to lawsuits over funding equity in the state? Perhaps. Is it likely to result in a policy earthquake? No.

Regardless, the future of Alabama lies in education. If the result of the repeal of this language is a long, hard look at how we educate the children of this state, regardless of color and economic status, then I say: bring it on.

Understand, I am not arguing that government, per se, is the solution to the problems of Alabama. Indeed, by pointing to education as the engine that drives improvement and success, I am ultimately pointing to the individual as the solution. However, government is currently in the way of individual improvement due to an arcane constitution and a substandard education system.

Not changing this language will greatly damage the reputation of our state, thereby damaging our economic appeal and provide yet more reasons for those on the outside to look askance at our educational system.

I also would note that is it not just the state’s reputation that is at stake here. Having organizations such as the Alabama Christian Coalition come out in opposition to this measure does not help the image of Alabama Christians (a number in which I count myself) in any form and has the effect of besmirching the name of Christ. To associate with the protection of racist language is quite damaging in and of itself. Further, to base opposition on the unlikely outcome that poor children in the state might have their schools better funded further strikes me as similarly problematic.

There is a knee-jerk reaction in our state whenever the very hint of new taxes emerges, to the point that it seems to obscure the problems we have as a state and it specifically blinds us to the woeful condition of our state’s constitution and educational system. So I would recommend that citizens truly consider what is at stake here, rather than simply reacting to the word “taxes.”

In many ways, the vote on Amendment 2 is the most important one on our state’s ballot this year, and to have one’s vote changed as a result of scare tactics would be a shame.

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with More Alabama Politics
PoliColumn I: Elections in Alabama

By Steven Taylor @ 10:16 am

Ballot battles
Saturday, October 23, 2004
STEVEN L. TAYLOR

Much of the media attention is on the race for president between President George W. Bush and challenger U.S. Sen. John Kerry, but voters should know there are many other offices and issues to be decided on the Nov. 2 ballot as well.

The presidential race is a forgone conclusion in Alabama: Bush leads every poll by a wide margin. Nobody considers Alabama a battleground state. Given the huge amount of attention being paid to the presidential race, however, it is easy to ignore just about everything else on the ballot.

The whole thing is here.

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with More Alabama Politics
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Quote of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 pm

“Bush is definitely not my homie.” -Eminem.

There’s a shock.

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Today’s WaPo: Still Bush by 4

By Steven Taylor @ 7:06 pm

50-46.

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Wow

By Steven Taylor @ 7:01 pm

Mississippi State 38, No. 20 Florida 31.

I think I can hear the chants of “Zook must go” emanating from Gainseville all the way here in the comfort of my own living room in Mongtomgery, Alabama.

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Can You Say “Doomed Candidacy"?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

I bet you can: Candidate’s stage fright nixes debate

A northeastern Indiana congressional candidate said she abruptly ended a debate because she got stage fright.

Democrat Maria Parra walked off a television stage Thursday, ending what would have been her only debate with incumbent Republican Mark Souder in the 3rd District congressional race.

“I’m not used to being in front of the camera. … I couldn’t get my words out. I was just overwhelmed,” she said after the aborted debate, which was being filmed at WPTA and would have been aired this weekend. The matchup has not been rescheduled and is not likely to be, The Journal Gazette reported today.

Parra said she “absolutely” thought backing out of the debate would hurt her politically, but hoped people would understand.

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The PeeWee Soccer Dictionary

By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

Exercise n. Somthing one gets a lot of if one has two chldren playing games at the same time on separate fields.

Idiot n. A coach who yells at a little six year-old girl for not kicking the ball hard enough as well as yelling at the term in general. Modified usage: Freakin’ Idiot.

Pack Mentality n. The way that four and five year-olds play soccer.

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Red v. Blue Redux

By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

Returing to the theme of my post on Thursday on the “Red v. Blue” issue, PoliSci Guy Chris Lawrence aptly notes that histrionic claims of division in the American electorate reflect a woeful understanding of what “divided” really means. Indeed, as I point out to my students at the height of the political crisis that was the 2000 recount, the biggest display of discontent that I recall was protesters at the Naval Observatory with “Sore Loserman” signs (and I think some of them had Halloween masks on-horrors!). This is to be contrasted with other countries where signs of division and political discontentedness manifest more in the form of tanks and AK-47’s. Those wo argue that these are the most divided of times have forgotten US history and further have an inadequate knowledge of global politics.

Chris further provides additional evidence that the division issue is the stuff of hyperbole by providing a brief review of Fiorina, Abrams, and Pope’s Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America . (Fiorina is a prominent scholar of American politics, btw).

In the midst of this political sciencey goodness he even manages something that I have yet to do: quotes his own dissertation on his blog (although the odds I will ever find a situation in which a nice quote about Colombian constitutional reform would be relevant are pretty slim).

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Holds Two-Point Lead Over Kerry

Bush led Kerry 47-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, a statistical dead heat that was within the poll’s margin of error. Bush had an identical 47-45 percent lead the previous day.

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Friday, October 22, 2004
Pride in the Ol’ Alma Mater

By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 pm

Nothing like seeing the ol’ Alma Mater engaging in hefty academic pursuits: UC Irvine Extension Presents ‘Introduction to Spa and Hospitality Operations’.

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UN Official Says Iraqi Elections on Track

By Steven Taylor @ 5:27 pm

Via USAT: U.N. official: Iraq election ‘on track’

Preparations for the crucial January election are “on track” and the absence of international observers due to the country’s tenuous security should not detract from the vote’s credibility, the top U.N. electoral expert here said.

[…]

Iraqis will select a 275-seat assembly whose main task will be to draft a constitution. If adopted, the document will be the foundation for a second vote to be held by Dec. 15.

Valenzuela rejected criticism that the United Nations was not doing enough to help Iraq prepare for the election, saying that U.N. experts have provided important assistance to the election’s organizer — the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

He said of the 35 U.N. international staffers in Iraq, 10 were electoral experts. He said 15 more experts were being recruited and were expected to arrive in Iraq at the beginning of January. But he warned against judging the U.N. electoral role on numbers alone.

The January election is seen as a major step in Iraq’s path to democratic rule. The United States, which formally ended its occupation of Iraq in June but still wields vast influence, sees the vote as a key step toward establishing a stable government.

“International observation is important only in that it’s symbolic,” Carlos Valenzuela told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. “I don’t think that the process will be less credible without observers, absolutely not. They are not the essence. They are not essential. They are not important. If they can come, fine, of course.”

[…]

Valenzuela said the electoral commission already has hired 400 electoral officers, of whom more than 300 were stationed outside Baghdad. Close to 6,000 Iraqis were undergoing training to be clerks at 548 voter registration centers across Iraq. Registration will be begin Nov. 1.

He said the commission was due to issue detailed instructions Saturday for registering political parties and individuals wishing to run.

“It’s a very tight timeline. Things could go wrong. Everyone knew that it was going to be a race against time. But, so far, everything is on track,” he said.

Valenzuela, a Colombian, said he was more concerned with the availability of local electoral observers and monitors from political “entities” participating in the election than with whether foreign observers could come to Iraq.

Interesting, and a tad surprising.

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Today’s WaPo: Bush by 4

By Steven Taylor @ 5:22 pm

50-46

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Three Year-Old to English Dictionary

By Steven Taylor @ 4:47 pm

(at least my three year-old)

boxes truck n. A UPS truck. Usage: “Look Daddy! The boxes truck!”

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Nifty Poll Thingie

By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

I have added Wizbang!’s nifty poll tracking script to the top of the blog, in case you hadn’t noticed.

(and yes, I know that I have used the word “thingie” twice today-it would appear to be the Word of the DayTM)

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  • The Politicker linked with Tracking Tool
Lovely

By Steven Taylor @ 11:17 am

Via the AFP: Tens of thousands of US voters illegally registered in two states: paper

Tens of thousands of voters are illegally registered in Florida and another state, a daily reported, fueling concerns about possible irregularities in the state at the center of the 2000 electoral chaos.

A comparison of voters’ rolls from Florida with those in Georgia and North Carolina found more than 68,000 cases in which people with the same names and birth dates were registered in two states, the Orlando Sentinel said.

In August, the Daily News said that a similar study showed that 46,000 New York voters also were registered to vote in Florida.

It is illegal to be registered to vote in two states.

Clearly, the current system needs some serious reform. One would think that with computers and that internet thingie that something could be worked out to prevent this kind of nonsense.

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  • Diggers Realm linked with Around The Blogosphere In 80 Seconds
  • Diggers Realm linked with Around The Blogosphere In 80 Seconds
  • A Stitch in Haste linked with Florida Recount: 2000 + 4 = 2000
  • A Stitch in Haste linked with http://kipesquire.blogspot.com/2004/10/want-to-lea
Another Way to Look at the Lawyer Problem

By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 am

Here’s a shorter version of my fundamental concern over the litigationization of elections: in a criminal case, it is the job of one’s attorney to argue for one’s innocence (or at least to find the legal argument that protects one’s client the most), even if the attorney knows that the client is guilty, or doesn’t know for a fact one way or another. Therefore in the types of election cases we see already cropping up, and that are likely to accelerate on election day, it will be the job of a candidate’s/party’s attorney to argue that the candidate in question won, even if the attorney knows he did not, or doesn’t know for sure one wat or another.

If this isn’t a recipe for diaster, electorally speaking, I don’t know what is.

Update: Part of today’s Traffic Jam.

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 am

Bush Holds Two-Point Lead Over Kerry: Reuters Poll

Bush led Kerry 47-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, within the poll’s margin of error. Bush had a 46-45 percent lead the previous day.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004
Today’s WaPo: Bush Back to Up by 6

By Steven Taylor @ 9:30 pm

51-45

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The Toast-O-Meter Returns!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm


-Rounding-up, analyzing and handicapping the 2004 election-


Texas Toast or French Toast?
Tracking the race to the White House.

After a multi-week hiatus (indeed, just over a month), the Toast-O-Meter is back. The goal from here on out is to have two more 2004 Toast-O-Meters: one next week and then the Final Toast on Election Day.

With less than two weeks left in the contest, both candidates are feeling the heat, but with neither clearly qualifying as toast at this point in time.

The weakness of the Kerry candidacies continues to be manifest: despite the clear vulnerability on the part of the President, Kerry has yet to seal the deal. The fact that his campaign has long lacked a clear theme (“We’ll Do Better” isn’t a theme, it’s a platitude at best) has clearly made it difficult for voters to be drawn to his cause. And while it perhaps oughtn’t to matter, his personality doesn’t help his cause.

A clear indication of his lack of theme is his constant shifts of focus on the campaign trail. The latest examples: social security and the flu vaccine. Neither of these issues were on the edge of the radar a few weeks back, but Kerry is willing to shift at a moment’s notice to whatever vulnerabilities he perceives at the moment, only to drop them when the news cycle gets tired of the tale. Now, on the one hand, this is smart politics, if one has something else that is foundational in one’s campaign. If the strategy is simply to hope for some bad news to exploit this week, then the thinness of one’s platform becomes rather obvious.

Of course, this is the candidate who, in his convention bio film, started his reason for running for president was that he was “frustrated”. (And they say Poppy had a problem with the “vision thing”). Indeed, the strategy for Kerry all along seems to have been a resume-driven one (a la Bob Dole) rather than one based on a specific vision for the country. Of course in Kerry’s case resume means Viet Nam and a lengthy, but somewhat hollow Senate career. The most noteworthy elements in his biography are his four and half months on the swift votes and his post-war protests (and the latter is more prominent than the former). For a wholly analytical viewpoint, the weaknesses he brings to campaign are pretty clear.

I note this because it is equally clear that Bush is a beatable incumbent. However, the combination of Kerry’s personality (which is not endearing), his lack of philosophical clarity and vision both linked to his problematic biography have made it difficult for Kerry to capitalize on the President’s position.

As such, I predict that Bush will win, but narrowly. The main fear that I have is that the lawyers will cause a boatload of problems before the winner is declared (to the detriment of our democracy).

This week’s reading of the Toast-O-Meter has Bush slightly ahead, as the general poll situation favors him slightly, and for the above-mentioned weaknesses on Kerry’s part. Kerry scores some Wonder Bread for being able to use the debate (specifically the first one) to quell doubts that had been growing about his candidacy. Bush gets the edge because despite the tight polling, Bush still has commanding leads in multiple polls on the terrorism question, which I still maintain will be the issue that turns this election.

Kerry also gets some flames for his inconsistency and his Mary Cheney gaffe. Bush gets some heat over his debate performance-wherein he could’ve landed some serious hurt on Kerry, but instead let his opponent capitalize on the event.

BREWING ISSUES

(Of course, some of these have been on the heat so long, they taste more like burnt coffee than freshly brewed)

  • SECURITY

    • Bush Says Kerry Doesn’t Understand Terror War

    • Kerry Mocks Bush War Leadership
    • Bush Vs. Kerry: Tackling the Threat of Nuclear War
    • In Bush’s Vision, a Mission to Spread Power of Liberty [RSS]

    • Voters in 10 States Likely to Ban Gay Marriages. This could matter because it could boost conservative turn-out in states like Michigan.
    • Divergent Views of Iraq Defining Election

  • A TOUCH OF THE INFLUENZA

    • This flu vaccine thing has become something of an issue. While I understand the basic issue, I am quite unclear as to precisely why it would be the job of the President of the United States to gurantee that everyone gets a flu shot or to guarantee the activities of a British manufacturing plant. Still, it have people upset, includingMark A. R. Kleiman. Also, Kerry Ad Says Flu Vaccine Shortage Is Typical of Bush’s Policy Blunders. Meanwhile,Kevin Drum ponders the whole issue and provides links aplenty.
    • Flu Vaccine an Issue in Presidential Race
    • Cheney Got Flu Shot, Aides Say, Citing Heart Issue
    • Lawmakers getting flu shot sparks debate

  • STEM CELLS
    To some degree this function as a substitute for the abortion debate. However, the main purpose of the stem cell debate for Kerry is to raise the spectre that Bush is a religious luddite who will place arcane doctrine over science and saving lives. Of course, Edwards took the entire discuss to the level of sad parody and/or cruel expectation generation when he said “"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.” That has to rank as one of the most shameless statements in the history of American politics, not to mention a blatant exploitation of a man’s death.

    • Kerry Promotes Expanded Stem Cell Research
    • Bush, Kerry Tangle on Health Care, Stem Cells.

    • Kerry Calls for Science, Tech Investment

POLLING (And we all now how painful that can be).

  • What the polls are telling us.
  • Some key red states are still hard to pin down.
  • Polls Apart.
  • Poll Shows Split Views on Iraq War.
  • WaPo: Charting the Campaign.
  • Eight states, 99 electoral votes draw focus from Bush, Kerry
  • Yahoo! News - Analysis: 8 States May Decide Election
  • For all the polling and Electoral College Info you can take:

    • Daly Thoughts and Dales’ Electoral College Breakdown 2004

    • Election Projection - 2004 Edition
    • RealClearPolitics.
    • The Hedgehog Report
    • PollingReport.com


KILL ALL THE LAWYERS (The Shakespearen section)

No doubt the biggest problem we face is the potential unleashing of 1000s of lawsuits during the election, so as to turn demoracy into litagation. I fear this more than any other outcome on election day.

  • Election Protests Already Starting
  • Both Sides Ready to Mount Legal Challenges to Election Results.
  • Florida Under the Magnifying Glass.
  • Candidates prepare for recount.
  • Lawyers Keep Eyes On Election, Polling Places May Be Challenged.
  • A look at lawsuits, voting problems and other ballot issues around the country.

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Hardly a Surprise

By Steven Taylor @ 3:50 pm

Little Saigon Voters Not Embracing Kerry

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Rumblin’ Bumblin’ Stumblin’ Dictator

By Steven Taylor @ 1:55 pm

Via Reuters: Castro Breaks Knee in Public Fall

Castro stumbled on a step and fell on his left knee on Wednesday night as he returned to his seat after a graduation ceremony speech at the mausoleum holding the remains of fellow revolutionary Che Guevara at Santa Clara in central Cuba.

Helped to a chair, he quickly recovered and asked for a microphone to reassure the stunned crowd of 30,000 people, some of whom broke into tears, that he was “intact” and would be able to continue working even in a plaster cast.

A brief government statement issued after a medical examination said Castro broke his left knee and suffered a hair-line fracture in his right arm.

“His general health is good and spirit excellent,” it said.

That had to hurt.

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with The Fall of Communism
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On Red and Blue America and the Difference Between Division and Polarization

By Steven Taylor @ 1:35 pm

This story: Kerry Goes Hunting for Conservative Votes and this photo:


Source: AP

made me think of something that I have been arguing since the 2000 election: that despite all this talk about how divided we are into “Red America” and “Blue America” that we, in fact, far less divided than the hyperbolic press (and some frustrated partisans) would have us believe.

For one thing, being divided between two parties is not the same thing as having highly polarized politics. While yes, it does matter which party is in Congress or the White House, it may not matter as much as we would like to think. For that matter, while there are important policy difference on the parties, they aren’t, in the great universe of ideological perspectives, all that distant.

If we are truly polarized, how do we explain things such as the following?

Consider:

Kerry

-Feels the need to point out how he has always been a hunter.

-He finds it necessary to point to his faith.

-He has proclaimed himself a defender of conservative values.

-Stated that life begins at conception.

-While he has promised to raise taxes on the wealthy (a standard Democratic line, I agree), he has pointedly noted his support for further middle class tax cuts and cuts in corporate income taxes (in the context of trying to keep jobs in the US).

-He has argued for reduced deficits and balanced budgets.

Bush

-No Child Left Behind (whatever one thinks of this program, it hardly represents doctrinaire conservatism of any flavor).

-The Medicare prescription drug program (ditto)

-The general blasé attitude to the deficit.

-Signed BCRA.

For that matter: if one looks at the GOP majority in Congress and look at its behavior (in terms of spending, but also in terms of how they run the place, especially in the House) and compared it to the Democratically controlled Congress of a decade past, one would find a lot of parallels. One could also look at the legislative record of the Clinton administration (who, after all, was President in 2000 when all this “division” was discovered) and one does not find a radical one.

In short: if Red America is so radically different than Blue America, why do we find the candidates from the two major parties spending time and policy power trying to get voters to cross over? More importantly: why is it possible? If we are so deeply entrenched, wouldn’t the expectation be that cross-overs are unlikely at best, and impossible at worst? The short version: shouldn’t a more polarized electorate lead to more polarized parties, politicians and polices? Yet, objectively speaking, we are not seeing this happen.

Even if one interprets the things I have listed above as disingenuous pandering by either or both gentlemen, consider this: if we really were radically polarized, why pander to the other side? What good would it do you?

Understand: by arguing that we aren’t as divided as the convention wisdom’s script says we are isn’t to argue that there aren’t important differences, or that elections don’t matter: there are and they do. Still, we are not as divided as many think we are-although I do understand how it is possible to get caught up in the partisan atmosphere during campaign season. And no doubt which ever side loses will feel even more as though the world is polarized, at least for a while (with a focus on the word “feel").

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

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The Robots are Coming! The Robots are Coming!

By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

U.N.: Robot Use to Surge Sevenfold by 2007


Source:
AP

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There’s a Shock

By Steven Taylor @ 8:08 am

Afghan Vote Exposes Ethnic Divides.

And you have to love this pic:


Soure: AP

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Electoral Advice (Expect a Lot of This in the Coming Days)

By Steven Taylor @ 7:54 am

Faults Found in U.S. Election Preparedness

Foreign observers who watched election preparations in the United States have concluded that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Among the changes they recommend: public financing of elections.

[…]

Among their recommendations:

_Secretaries of state and other election administrators should be nonpartisan;

_Touchscreen voting machines should produce paper records;

_Convicted felons who have served their time should automatically have their voting rights restored, which does not happen in seven states;

_Public financing of elections should be adopted.

I don’t have a problem with nonpartisan SoS’s (although one wonders if such a thing actually exists), and we already know about the paper receipt issue, but what in the world does public financing of elections have to do with electoral preparedness?

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Attacking Family Members isn’t Good Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

Reuters reports: Heinz Kerry Asks if Laura Bush Ever Had ‘Real Job’

Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, questioned whether first lady Laura Bush ever had “a real job,” but apologized later on Wednesday after her remarks drew fire from the Bush campaign.

Senior Bush campaign adviser Karen Hughes said the “unfortunate” remark was aimed at dividing women.

“Teaching is a real job. Working as a librarian is a real job. Staying at home and rearing a family is a real job,” Hughes said.

Heinz Kerry, a philanthropist and heiress to a Heinz ketchup fortune of more than $500 million, made the comment in an interview published on Wednesday with USA Today.

Asked how she would be different from Mrs. Bush if Kerry won the Nov. 2 election, Heinz Kerry said: “Well, you know, I don’t know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don’t know that she’s ever had a real job - I mean, since she’s been grown up.”

While I wouldn’t make the claim that managing a large charity isn’t a “real job” I would point out that such charges sound condescending and arrogant coming from someone who is worth around $1 billion.

Furher, one wonders if Mrs. Kerry took the appropriate lessons from the Mary Cheney reaction.

Not smart.

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0-3 to 4-3: Priceless

By Steven Taylor @ 7:23 am

I am not a Boston Red Sox fan (but I do like seeing the Yankees lose), but that was a pretty incredible series that ended last night: Red Sox 10, Yankees 3. And this is amazing in terms of sports history:

None of the previous 25 major league teams to fall behind 3-0 even forced a series to seven games. The wild-card Red Sox became only the third of 239 teams in the four major North American leagues to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series and win, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders.

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Mr. Hiatus Person

By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 am

Via the AP: Humor Columnist Dave Barry to Take Leave

Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry said he plans to take an indefinite leave of absence from The Miami Herald starting in January.

[…]

Barry, who joined the Herald full time in 1983 and won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary five years later, said he will continue writing humor and children’s books. He also plans to finish filming the adaptation of his book, “Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys,” starring John Cleese (news) and Barry as himself.

Cleese and Barry-that should be a winning combo.

Barry, 57, said Tuesday he wants to spend more time with his family after a hectic summer covering the Democratic and Republican national conventions and the Athens Olympics. He said he may return in 2006.

His weekly column in the Herald is carried by 500 newspapers across the country.

“I’ve never not had a column in a week in all of 30 years, even when I went on vacation,” Barry said. “At some point I said, ‘Well, maybe it’ll be OK to not do it for a while.’ And I didn’t want to wait until I hated it and I didn’t want to wait until I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got no more columns to write.’”

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 7:17 am

Reuters Poll: Bush Grabs One-Point Lead on Kerry

Bush led Kerry 46-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, a statistical dead heat well within the poll’s margin of error.

They were tied at 46 percent the previous two days.

About 6 percent of likely voters are still undecided between the president and the Massachusetts senator less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Write Faster, Dang it!

By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 pm

I feel Stephen Bainbridge’s pain.

And for that matter, when is Jordan going to finish the durn WoT series?

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There’s a Shock

By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

Via WaPo: Poll Shows Voters Reject Return of the Draft

Voters overwhelmingly reject resuming the military draft and more than a third fear a draft is likely if President Bush is reelected while a somewhat smaller share predict that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry will follow a similar course if he wins, according to a new Washington Post tracking poll.

Three in four likely voters currently oppose resuming the draft while one in five favor reviving it. Opposition to conscription is both deep and broad: Six in 10 likely voters strongly rejected the draft while only 8 percent strongly favored it.

Not to mention that the Pentagon opposses it. How in the world this has become a semi-legit issue for some is beyond me.

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Today’s WaPo: Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 9:05 pm

That a 2 point shift: 50-47.

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In the Category of “I Don’t Think I’d've Told That…”

By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 am

Schwarzenegger Says Pro-Bush Speech Cost Him Sex

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday that his speech backing President Bush at the Republican Convention in August resulted in a dramatic cold shoulder from his wife Maria Shriver, a member of the very Democratic Kennedy family.

“Well, there was no sex for 14 days,” Schwarzenegger told former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in an on-stage conversation in front of 1,000 people. “Everything comes with side effects.”

The crowd roared with laughter, but the governor may have been serious: he has said little in public to back fellow Republican Bush since then. Panetta, a Democrat, had asked him how Shriver, whose uncle was U.S. President John F. Kennedy, had reacted to his praised but partisan prime-time convention speech.

The governor referred to Shriver several times in the 90-minute conversation.

So much for bipartisanship, I guess.

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Sinclair Update: The Market Speaks

By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

Via the LAT: Sinclair Retreats on Kerry Film

Facing advertiser defections, a viewer boycott and a plummeting stock price, as well as strong opposition from Democrats, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. scrapped its plan to air a film that attacks the 1970s-era antiwar activities of Sen. John F. Kerry, and will instead run a special produced by its news division incorporating parts of the movie.

The decision not to run all of “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” came after several shareholder complaints against the company were announced Tuesday, sending Sinclair shares down 3.5% after a nearly 8% slide Monday.

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Increased Registration in Alabama

By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

Like everywhere else, it seems, Alabama has increased its number of registered voters. So reports the Birmingham News:

In January of this year, the state had 2,445,148 registered voters. By August, the total had jumped to 2,546,909. That total exceeds the 2,327,974 the state had before the 2002 gubernatorial election.

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BoSox Tie it Up

By Steven Taylor @ 6:41 am

Via the NYT: Series Tied, 3-3: Schilling and Nail-Biting: Red Sox Win Game 6 [RSS]

I am a casual baseball fan at best, but I must admit this is shaping up to be quite the story. Not only would it be huge for any team to come back from 0-3 deficit in a best of 7 series, but if the Boston Red Sox do it against the Yankees in the ALCS, that’s a story for the baseball ages. Especially when one throws in the facts that games 4 and 5 went into double-digit innings, then you have Schilling bleeding during seven innings of almost perfect pitching, and the two reversed calls (both in game 6) and you have quite the drama.

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Today’s Zogby: The Tie Persisteth

By Steven Taylor @ 6:25 am

Reuters Poll: Bush and Kerry Still in Dead Heat

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry remain tied for the third consecutive day in the race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Bush and Kerry were deadlocked at 46 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll. They were tied at 45 percent the previous two days.

About 6 percent of likely voters are still undecided between the president and the Massachusetts senator

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  • bLogicus linked with Fox Poll Favors Bush
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
What are the Handlers Thinking?

By Steven Taylor @ 7:30 pm

Why, oh why, do campaign staffers let their candidates get into photo situations like this?


Source: Reuters

Granted, it isn’t as bad as this one, but still.

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Electoral Woes in Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 7:13 pm

Florida Election Ballot.

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Today’s WaPo: Bush by 5

By Steven Taylor @ 6:12 pm

Today it’s 51-46.

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More on Sinclair

By Steven Taylor @ 5:50 pm

The best sanction, should it be warranted, against a television or radio station becoming overly partisan is probably the market itself.

For example: Sinclair loses more ground as Kerry film fallout widens.

Indeed, the corrective to the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” was the reaction of the viewers which led to promises from the NFL to have a more wholesome halftime show next year-it wasn’t the FCC fine.

Ditto the situation with Howard Stern-his move to Sirus Satellite Radio will give him the chance to operate wholly based on the marketplace, which will dictate what he truly can and cannot get away with on his program.

I will note that I shan’t be listening-but that is my choice-as it shoudl be.

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Social Security Boost

By Steven Taylor @ 12:36 pm

Via the AP we read: Social Security Gets 2.7 Percent Boost

More than 47 million Americans receiving Social Security will get a 2.7 percent increase - an extra $25, on average - in their monthly checks next year, but much of the increase will be eaten up by higher Medicare premiums. The Social Security Administration announced the cost-of-living adjustment Tuesday, and the increase will start showing up in checks in January.

Funny, that’s not what John Kerry was claiming just last weekend. According to the NYT: Kerry Goes Beyond Some of Bush Positions

On Social Security, Mr. Kerry said over the weekend that Mr. Bush planned a “January surprise” that could cost retirees up to 45 percent of their monthly checks.

That is shameless pandering and political scaremongering.

This was also noted at The Astute Blogger!.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Rice to Seahawks

By Steven Taylor @ 9:40 am

Via the DMN: Raiders Trade Jerry Rice to Seahawks

Jerry Rice got his wish Monday night when the Oakland Raiders traded the NFL’s most prolific receiver to the Seattle Seahawks.

The trade will be finalized after Rice undergoes a physical and the league gives its approval. An NFL source, speaking to The AP on the condition of anonymity, said the Raiders expected to receive a conditional seventh-round draft pick in return for Rice but the final details were still being worked out between the teams.

Calls to Seahawks officials weren’t immediately returned Monday night.

Rice told his teammates Monday he was headed to the Seahawks, and signed autographs for some before leaving.

Wow-kinda sad for Jerry Rice, even in his twilight, to only garner a conditional 7th rounder. But such are the economics of the NFL .

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Jerry Rice traded to Seattle
The Sinclair Flap: More Proof the BCRA Failed

By Steven Taylor @ 9:06 am

Do I think that the Sinclair Broadcasting’s decision to air an anti-Kerry “documentary” is a partisan act? Yes, I do. Do I like it? No, not particularly. Do I think that the federal government should do something about it? No-emphatically not.

For one thing: is this action any more or less partisan than the CBS News story on the Killian “memos”? And how partisan does a show have to be for it to be an in-kind contribution? Do we want the government examining Hardball or Special Report with Brit Hume to determine if it is too partisan or not? And if so, what will be the standard, and who will apply it?

No, the main problem here is that the insane (and inept) attempts to control the supposedly invidious influence of money in politics has led to the rise of 527s, things like Fahrenheit 911 and now this Sinclair business. Indeed, F911 and this anti-Kerry film are part of a raft of “documentaries” that have been made and released this year for the clear purpose of creating partisan influences. If they are deemed to have been successful this year, then we can count on dozens of such films in 2008.

There is no doubt in my mind that part of the reason for the rise of such tools of influence is the introduction of campaign finance rules that have naively attempted to take money out of politics—as if the millions of dollars in soft money from 2000 would just stay in the bank if the Congress slapped a couple of rules in its way. BCRA (aka, McCain-Feingold), with its First Amendment-bending elements, bears some clear responsibility for these activities. Part of it is also a result of a clear move to more partisan media in the United States (which is not a new thing in US history, btw).

All of you who think that campaign finance reform has been a good idea that we just need to get right to “solve” the “problem” of “money in politics” I ask you two questions: 1) after watching this campaign cycle, do you think that it is even possible to contain support for candidates? and 2) what would be better? a system in which large sums of money (and I mean large) flows into the coffers of candidates and parties in a transparent fashion, or a system of 527s and “documentaries” and other attempts to get around campaign finance rules?

The best option is to allow people who want to support parties and candidates to directly contribute to those efforts, and to require total and instant disclosure. Given that it would be far easier to just give some money to a candidate or party than to cook up some scheme to find an alternative way to contribute; such a system would create a disincentive for such actions such as those pursued by Sinclair.

Joe Gandelman has somes comments on the overall situation, with links to news stories, here and here.

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Today’s Zogby: Still a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 am

Reuters Poll: Bush, Kerry in White House Dead Heat

For the second consecutive day, Bush and Kerry were deadlocked at 45 percent apiece in the three-day tracking poll. About 7 percent of likely voters say they are still undecided between the president and the Massachusetts senator.

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Monday, October 18, 2004
I Concur

By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 pm

Reuters notes: Undecided Voters Big Mystery in Presidential Race.

I must admit, it is a mystery to me as well as to how any voter could be undecided at this juncture…

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  • Signifying Nothing linked with Moving in mysterious ways
Upswing in Female Canidates

By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 pm

Via that CSM: The rise of women candidates

This year, a record 138 women have run for the US House of Representatives as major-party candidates, 57 as incumbents. In 11 districts, women are competing against other women, eight as incumbents, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

While no one is predicting another “Year of the Woman,” as in 1992 when a record 39 women ran for open seats, the bumper crop of women candidates this year is expected to increase the number of women representatives, now at 60.

Moreover, most women aren’t running as amateurs anymore. By any measure - from experience in government, to funds raised, to the professionalism of their campaigns - the class of 2004 is the most capable group of women candidates yet.

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Today’s WaPo: Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 4:55 pm

That’s down from 4: 50-47.

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Supremes Order Review of Texas Redstricting

By Steven Taylor @ 11:36 am

Via the AP: High Court Orders Review of Texas Seats

The decision won’t affect next month’s elections, though any GOP gains on Nov. 2 could be wiped out later if the plan ultimately is deemed unconstitutional.

So, if we are lucky, we can have another round of redistricting in Texas sometime before the ‘06 elections!

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Yeesh

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

Problems Crop Up in Fla. Early Voting

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More on the Zarqawi Statement

By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

Via the NYT: Wanted Rebel Vows Loyalty to bin Laden, Web Sites Say

The statement said Mr. Zarqawi had in been contact with Al Qaeda for eight months, “exchanging points of view,” before reaching an understanding.

There was no way to verify the authenticity of the message. One of the Web sites carrying the message also carried a videotape showing the beheading of an American, Nicholas Berg, in May, which American officials believe was performed by Mr. Zarqawi.

[…]

The vow of allegiance to Al Qaeda would be something of a break for Mr. Zarqawi, who, according to some evidence, regards himself as a rival of Mr. bin Laden. But it would not be their first contact.

In February, the American military released a letter it said had been written by Mr. Zarqawi to senior leaders in Al Qaeda, who are thought to be hiding in the mountainous area of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In the letter, the author beseeched Mr. bin Laden for help in Iraq and made clear his subservience to him.

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Today’s Zogby: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 6:37 am

Reuters Poll: Bush, Kerry Tied in White House Race

The latest three-day tracking poll showed Kerry and Bush deadlocked at 45 percent apiece barely two weeks before the Nov. 2 election. The president had a 46-44 percent lead over the Massachusetts senator the previous day, and a four-point lead the day before that.

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Sunday, October 17, 2004
Lawyers and the Pending Election

By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 pm

What disturbs me greatly about the very real possibility that multiple challenges will be filed in court over ballots immediately after the election is that the job of aan ttorney is not to seek justice or to ensure proper outcomes, rather it is to protect the interests of his or her client. If a candidate or political party hires an attorney to challenge vote totals that attorney will look for loopholes, flaws in the law and clever arguments to try and help said client, not to make sure that the right results are garned from the ballots. This is not a healthy state for democracy. Legal arguments are not always arguments about right and wrong, but instead are about what the law says and how it applies, and specifically getting it to apply to the best interest of one’s client. Ultimately a legal arugment proffered by an attorney may have very little to do with justie, let alone truth.

Further, judges should tread very carefully in setting aside existing rules-if the law gives a certain deadline or specific figure to trigger a recount, that should be respected. If the law is flawed, it should be fixed by the legislature. If judges start created arbitrary rules, the potential for a serious crisis is high.

I would note: if one is upset that the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election, I would note: the only way for an issue to get to the Supreme Court is for a law suit to have been filed and then having worked it way through the legal system. If we wish to avoid the Supremems settling 2004, we have to avoid legal challenges.

I very much hope and pray for sufficiently large margins of victory in the states for whichever candidate wins. I would far rather my candidate lose in a clear electoral defeat than to have to go through a series of court battles that would make 2000 look like a cake walk. Those poised to do legal battle at all costs are short sighted and ignoring the potential harm to our democratic institutions and the confidence that the citizenry has in them.

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Zarqawi Proclaims Alliance with Bin Laden

By Steven Taylor @ 5:51 pm

Reports the AP: Zarqawi Movement Vows al-Qaida Allegiance

The most feared militant group in Iraq, the movement of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared its allegiance to Osama bin Laden on Sunday, saying it had agreed with al-Qaida over strategy and the need for unity against “the enemies of Islam.”

The declaration, which appeared on a Web site often used as a clearinghouse for statements by militant groups, began with a Quranic verse encouraging Muslim unity and said al-Zarqawi considered bin Laden “the best leader for Islam’s armies against all infidels and apostates.”

[…]

His relationship to bin Laden and the al-Qaida leadership has long been the subject of considerable speculation. Although many experts believe al-Zarqawi had longtime ties to al-Qaida, others suspected that al-Zarqawi considered himself a rival to bin Laden for the mantle of chief defender of the Muslim faith.

The statement affirmed the “allegiance of Tawhid and Jihad’s leadership and soldiers to the chief of all fighters, Osama bin Laden.”

While postings on web sites aren’t wholly definitive, this has been this groups main means of communicatin. There has long been evidence that there were ties between the two groups, leading me to give some credence to this report. One can argue about the nature of the realtionship between Zarqawi and the Saddam regime, but their is no disputing that he and his group were in Iraq prior to the inavsion. Further, it strikes me as difficult to dismiss the notion that Iraq isn’t part of the global war on terror.

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I Wonder if I Can Get One for my Classes?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:42 pm

Churches Installing Cell Phone Jammers

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Smart Campaigning

By Steven Taylor @ 5:41 pm

Via the AP: Judge Recalls Football Glory in Campaign

Judge Dick Ambrose wants his name to stand out on the November ballot like an orange Cleveland Browns helmet in a sea of Steelers black and gold.

That’s why the former Browns linebacker, who earned the nickname “Bam Bam” by cracking his shoulder pads in practice, is using his football glory days in his campaign to keep his job as county judge.

Ambrose, appointed four months ago to the bench in Cuyahoga County, is distributing 4-by-6-inch cards with a photo of him in his Browns uniform on one side and a smaller photo of him in his judge’s robe on the back.

“I thought that that was obviously something that would be an attention-getter,” Ambrose said. “It was set up like a football card.”

Getting serious notice in a judicial race probably means near certain victory. Smart move.

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Ben Rothlisberger

By Steven Taylor @ 5:36 pm

Ben Rothlisberger (QB for Pittsburgh) is HUGE (6′5′, 240) or maybe their line is on the small side, but he looks like a giant when he lines up under center (he is an inch taller that Daunte Culpepper and three taller than McNabb). He is quite impressive for a rookie, I must say.

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Besmirching the Name of Christ

By Steven Taylor @ 5:30 pm

Via the Montgomery Advertiser: Anti-gay demonstrators outnumbered

Love and acceptance was the backdrop in downtown Montgomery Saturday morning as more than 150 people showed up in a counter-protest against visitors from the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

The group, which outnumbered the church’s 13 members present, used music and spiritual lyrics to combat the messages the church brought, which included “Thank God for Ivan,” “God Hates You” and “God Hates America.”

The larger group had signs of its own, including one that told the church members to go home to Kansas so that “Dorothy can tell (them) how to get a heart and a brain.”

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Fred Phelps, was not present. Margie Phelps, his daughter, explained that the church group’s signs are about the United States’ “enabling” of the homosexual lifestyle.

This is same group which stated that 911 and Ivan were God’s punishments on America because of homosexuality.

For such a group to call itself a “church” and to cite the name of Jesus Christ is disgraceful.

I am proud of Montgomery that the protestors outnumbered the anti-gay crowd about 10-to-1.

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Embarrassing

By Steven Taylor @ 5:14 pm

montgomeryadvertiser.com

A conservative leader says he’s opposed to a state constitutional amendment because he believes it’ll hurt home schools and private and religious academies, plus open the way to massive public education funding programs at taxpayer expense.

[…]

Amendment 2 calls for deleting wording that required racially segregated schools and poll taxes to dissuade blacks from voting. Giles made clear he’s absolutely in favor of erasing racist language that’s long been declared unconstitutional.

Rather, Giles said he’s opposed to another part of Amendment 2, which was tacked on at the statehouse level. It would delete wording that says nothing in Alabama’s constitution shall be interpreted as recognizing the right to education or training at public expense.

“You open up that door, that is a trial lawyer’s dream, to represent clients that have unbridled opportunity for mischief in raising taxes, tampering with private and parochial schools. It’s unlimited,” Giles said.

“I will tell you right now that this is buzzing across the state like a circle saw, back and forth,” John Giles, president of Alabama’s Christian Coalition, said late last week. He was referring to the proposed Amendment 2, which will be on the ballot in the Nov. 2 general election.

First off, for Christian leaders in the state to be associated with a move to block the removal of racist languge from the state’s 1901 constitution is a shame. Yes, the wording is dead letter, but for it to still be in the document is a blight on the state’s already shaky national reputation.

Further, while I do understand the lawsuit potential here, I am fairly convinced that the language in question has certain racist overtones as well, and should be removed as well. (Update: further research confirmed the racist intent of the Amendment 111 language under controversy).

Regardless of the implications, it is patently ridiculous that this measure should be somehow construed as attacking private schools and home schoolers.

It is this kind of paleocon approaches to state education (and the state constitution specifically) that further’s Alabama’s reputation as a backwater, and one that saddles evangelicals with the perception that they are nothing more than racist rednecks.

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The Parent’s Dictionary: Toddler

By Steven Taylor @ 4:41 pm

Toddler. n. A diminutive human being who with every motion knocks something over, spills something, or otherwise furthers entropy in seemingly stable systems.

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USAT/CNN/Gallup: Bush by 8

By Steven Taylor @ 3:50 pm

Bush surges in poll

In a poll taken Thursday-Saturday, Bush received 52% support from likely voters, Kerry received 44% and independent Ralph Nader received 1%. Three percent of likely voters had no opinion.

The 52% figure is a tie for Bush’s largest support number since March, when it first became apparent Kerry would be the Democratic presidential nominee. And the eight-point spread is also a tie for the largest spread since March.

The survey also is a significant swing from the last USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup national poll. In that survey, taken Oct. 9-10, Kerry had 49% support, Bush had 48% and Nader had 1%.

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Brazil Gets Tough on Drug Flights

By Steven Taylor @ 3:12 pm

Via the BBC: Brazil ready to down drug planes

A law allowing Brazil’s air force to shoot down suspected drug planes comes into force on Sunday.

The government says the measure is necessary to stop the large amount of cocaine coming in both for sale locally and for shipment to other countries.

The shoot-down law has been widely publicised for three months but unregistered flights have continued.

Brazilian Defence Minister Jose Viegas said that all those using light aircraft had been adequately warned.

He said before air force pilots could seek authorisation to shoot down a plane they would have to take eight steps including making visual contact and firing warning shots.

Authorisation can only be given by the head of the air force.

But the authorities have also warned that drug planes that do not obey air force orders will be shot down even if they are carrying children.

Brazil has lately become growing market for cocaine, so this is not a surprise, per se, as it follows policies used by the Peruvians in concert with the US (although it has been suspended for some time).

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PoliColumn: The Upcoming Alabama Elections

By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

I have a piece in today’s Mobile Register: Election may reflect Moore’s influence (and despite the title, it isn’t all about Moore).

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with Alabama Politics
  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with Alabama Politics
Today’s Zogby: Bush by 2

By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 am

Kerry Trims Bush Lead to 2 Points

Bush led Kerry by 46 percent to 44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll of the closely contested race for the White House. The president led the Massachusetts senator by 48 percent to 44 percent the previous day.

“The third debate is now registering among voters and Kerry had a good day,” pollster John Zogby said.

I find that to be a dubious assertion, insofar as accounting for a mere two point variation by citing a specific event strikes me as difficult to do.

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Saturday, October 16, 2004
The Newsweek Poll and the Likely v. Registered Voter Issue

By Steven Taylor @ 9:22 pm

While Newsweek leads it current poll story that the race is tied amongst registered voters, down the story we find

Results based on likely voters (as opposed to all registered voters) give Bush the edge, with Bush-Cheney pulling 50 percent of the vote and Kerry-Edwards drawing 44 percent in a three-way race (Nader still gets 1 percent).

As a matter of reporting, it would seem to me that the likely voter numbers are the more important ones. Indeed, isn’t part of Zogby’s claim to fame that he was better in 2000 in determining who the likely voters would be? Further, it is historically the case that the likely voter polls are far more accurate than simply the registered voter ones.

Now, granted, it is sometimes difficult to determine who is truly a “likely” voter. And certainly there is much buzz about new voters in the system this year. However, there is often such buzz and it is ususally much buzz about nothing. Remember, for example, how all the new voters were going to propel Dean to the nomination?

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WaPo Tracking: Bush up by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

As several readers have noted, WaPo has updated its daily tracking poll with Bush up 50-47. This brings it closer in with Zogby, which has given Bush a 4 point lead the last two days.

Interestingly, Nader had a 100% increase: he’s up to 2% as of today.

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Caffeinated Language

By Steven Taylor @ 4:34 pm

Writes Dave Barry:

Recently, at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Death March, Mister Language Person noticed that a Starbuck’s competitor, Seattle’s Best Coffee (which also uses ‘’Tall'’ for small and ‘’Grande'’ for medium) is calling ITS large cup size - get ready - ‘’Grande Supremo.'’ Yes. And as Mister Language Person watched in horror, many customers - seemingly intelligent, briefcase-toting adults - actually used this term, as in, ‘’I'll take a Grande Supremo.'’

Listen, people: You should never, ever have to utter the words ‘’Grande Supremo'’ unless you are addressing a tribal warlord who is holding you captive and threatening to burn you at the stake. JUST SAY YOU WANT A LARGE COFFEE, PEOPLE. Because if we let the coffee people get away with this, they’re not going to stop, and some day, just to get a lousy cup of coffee, you’ll hear yourself saying, ‘’I'll have a Mega Grandissimaximo Giganto de Humongo-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong decaf.'’ And then you will ask for the key to the AquaSwooshie. And when THAT happens, people, the terrorists will have won.

Indeed.

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Pirates in the Andes

By Steven Taylor @ 4:29 pm

Garcia Marquez’s new book out sooner

The publishers of Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s new book said Friday they were moving up its release date by a week because pirated versions are already being sold on the streets of Bogota.

“We’re going to start selling them Wednesday because of the pirates,” said Moises Melo, editor of publishing house Norma de Colombia, which has printed 350,000 copies of the novel to sell in Colombia and neighbouring countries.

The book called Memoria de Mis Putas Tristes, or Memories of My Melancholy Whores, is the Colombian author’s first novel in more than a decade.

Melo said pirate publishers must have stolen a copy of the new novel from a delivery truck. Street vendors on Thursday began peddling the pirated version at traffic lights in this Andean capital.

Maybe the thieves read the title and thought it was a porn novel…

Actually, it is an interesting siutation in which the blackmarket thinks it can make money off of a literary work. It speaks to Garcia Marquez’s cultural significance in Colombia.

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This Just in: Teresa Heinz Kerry is Quite Wealthy

By Steven Taylor @ 4:25 pm

So reports the NYT: Kerry’s Wife Releases Part of Her 2003 Income Tax Return

Teresa Heinz Kerry reported income of just over $5 million last year, slightly more than half of it from investments in tax-exempt municipal and state bonds, her 2003 income tax return shows, confirming her status as the wealthiest spouse of any major party nominee in United States history.

Ms. Heinz Kerry on Friday released a small part of her 2003 income tax return, unlike her husband, Senator John Kerry, and President Bush and his wife, Laura, who have made their full tax returns available for public inspection. The Kerrys file separate tax returns, a common arrangement when one spouse is wealthy.

The two-page document, posted at johnkerry.com, showed total income of $5,073,554 last year. Her primary source of income was the tax-exempt bonds, investments that generally produce a lower interest rate, but those in the highest tax brackets can often pocket more cash if they choose municipals.

Ms. Heinz Kerry paid a federal tax of $628,401, which is 12.3 percent of her total income and 27.4 percent of her adjusted gross income.

She was a big beneficiary of the reductions in tax rates on dividends and capital gains that have been enacted under President Bush. She collected more than $2.2 million in dividends, all of which qualified for the new 15 percent tax rate, saving her $440,000, compared with the 35 percent rate that previously applied to dividends for those with million dollar-plus incomes.

Quite honetly, the numbers themselves are hardly news. What strikes me about this kind of document/information issue iis that the candidate in question ends up looking like they are hiding something. First, people will ask: “why won’t they release her tax return?” And then, with a partial release, the next question will be “why didn’t she just release the whole thing?” (not to mention “why did it take this long to release it?").

Ultimately, I can’t imagine any of this matters, so one wonders why, from a tactitcal POV, that the Kerry’s didn’t release the information months ago. If they had, it would have been old news by now.

It isn’t as if they are somehow hiding the fact that Teresa is wealthy.

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WaPo: The Tie Continues

By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm

For the second day its 48-48.

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Today’s Zogby: Bush Still up by 4

By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

Bush Keeps Four-Point Lead on Kerry

President Bush’s lead over Democratic Sen. John Kerry held steady at four points for the second consecutive day, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Saturday.

Bush led Kerry 48-44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll of the race for the White House, virtually unchanged from the previous day’s narrow margin between the president and the Massachusetts senator.

Bush was aided by strong support from his fellow Republicans, 92 percent, while Kerry attracts just 81 percent of Democrats.

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Friday, October 15, 2004
In Case Anyone Was Wondering

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 pm

Yes, it has been a busy day (week, in fact).

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My Word

By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 am

Via the AP: Physics Professor Goes on Rage in Class

Student Kacie Spears said professor Louis Houston lost control right after class began Wednesday morning and was yelling obscenities.

“Then he told us if we got out of our seats he’s gonna kill us. He went on the black board and wrote “911 now", so we were really in fear for our lives,” Spears told KATC-TV.

Spears said Houston slapped a student and then told his class he was God.

After class ended, students left the room in Broussard Hall and someone called campus security.

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When the 80’s Attack!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:19 am

Via Reuters: Reynolds in Hogg Heaven with ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Film

Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson are in final negotiations to join Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson in the big-screen version of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Reynolds, most recently in theaters with the hit comedy “Without a Paddle,” would play the evil Boss Hogg, a role played in the original 1979-1985 CBS show by the late Sorrell Booke.

Nelson would play Uncle Jesse, stepping in the shoes of the late Denver Pyle. Knoxville and Scott will play his good ol’ boy nephews, Luke and Bo Duke, respectively, with Simpson on board as their sexy cousin, Daisy Duke.

Man, when thye have to recycle the Dukes of Hazzard you really do have to wonder if it is indeed the case that all the ideas have finally been used up.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Mr. T to have cameo in A-Team Movie?
Kerry Signals Continuity on Colombia

By Steven Taylor @ 6:56 am

So reports the Miami Herald: Kerry maintains support for Plan Colombia

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry will issue a statement today reiterating his support for Plan Colombia, a U.S.-funded multibillion-dollar effort to help Colombia combat drug trafficking and armed insurgents.

Kerry’s announcement gives Colombian President Alvaro Uribe a boost in his efforts to secure an extension of the plan beyond its expiration at the end of 2005.

‘’As a senator I have consistently supported Plan Colombia,'’ Kerry said, “and, as president, I will work with President Uribe to keep the bipartisan spirit in Washington alive in support of Plan Colombia, while insisting on progress on ending the violence against civilians.'’

Colombia has received more than $3 billion since 2000 under Plan Colombia, originally crafted by the Clinton administration and actively supported by President Bush. Colombian and U.S. officials point to statistics, from declining kidnapping rates to fewer acres planted with coca, as proof that the program has been a success.

There’s nothing especially suprising about the statement, but it is one of the few times that Latin America has been mentioned in this campaign. Really, given the amount of the money that we give the Colombians it is quite remarkable that there is so little public discourse about it-especially in a presidential campaign.

And while true that the number of hectares under cultivation have declined under this program, the supply of cocaine has not wavered, not has the program driven up the strett price-causing one to ponder the degree to which we are getting any return on investment.

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Today’s WaPo: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 6:50 am

48-48

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 4

By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 am

Bush Opens Four-Point Lead on Kerry

Bush led Kerry 48-44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which included one night of polling done after Wednesday’s debate in Tempe, Arizona. Bush led Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, by only one point, 46-45 percent, the previous day.

An improvement in Bush’s showing among undecideds and a strong response from his base Republican supporters helped fuel the president’s rise.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004
Name Game

By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

Short name, short odds

The pattern since World War II has been for candidates with increasingly short, poster-friendly names. And preferably sounding like they could be the lead characters in a mini-series.

In the last electoral battle, in 2000, the names couldn’t have got any shorter, with a two-syllable play-off between George Bush and Al Gore.

[…]

In the three decades since Richard Nixon was turfed out of office, Ronald Reagan has been the only Republican candidate with a surname longer than one syllable. Coincidence?

This hasn’t always been successful. Bob Dole was overrun by the longer-named Bill Clinton, but again it was by someone with an unassuming surname and there was only a single syllable difference.

Bill Clinton also has the distinction of being one of only two presidents since the WWII to have beaten rivals with fewer syllables in their name. The other was Jimmy Carter, who beat Gerald Ford, in the far from usual circumstances following Watergate.

Otherwise the candidate with a shorter name has not been defeated. All of which must be a worrying sign for John Kerry - unless the “Dubya” is counted as part of his rival’s name.

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Proud Google Moments

By Steven Taylor @ 11:31 am

PoliBlog is the second result on Google for the words “wabbit season” (with or without quotation marks).

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Lynne Ain’t Happy

By Steven Taylor @ 10:29 am

Lynne Cheney Upset With Kerry Over Remark

- Lynne Cheney accused Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of pulling a “cheap and tawdry political trick,” apparently for invoking her daughter’s sexuality in his debate with President Bush.

[…]

Mrs. Cheney made clear she thought Kerry had crossed a line into family privacy when she introduced her husband to a supportive crowd of 800 after a debate-watching party in the Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis.

“Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man,” she said.

“Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick.”

She was not more specific. The vice president did not raise the matter in his remarks.

While I was not especially shocked or offended by the citation of Mary Cheney by either Edwards or Kerry, as I suppose I expected it, it still does strike me as unseemingly as best to use family members of one’s opponent as a political prop.

And I would like to think I have some consistency on this point, as per my position on Vanessa Kerry’s Fulbright grant.

Update: James Joyner has a round-up of reaction to this issue.

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Counting Problems in Afghanistan

By Steven Taylor @ 10:25 am

Confusion Over Vote Count in Landmark Afghan Election

Five days after the country’s first ever direct presidential election, it was not clear whether the eight regional counting centers had begun work, after delays caused by an investigation into voter irregularities, including multiple voting.

“I think most of the eight regional counting centers have started already, and the rest of them should also start today,” said Sadeq Mudaber, an Afghan election official.

But other members of the U.N.-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body said they were unaware of the development, some three hours after the counting had been due to begin. It was not clear why the process had been further delayed.

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Debate Reaction

By Steven Taylor @ 6:32 am

Joe Gandelman has a comprehensive round-up of Blogospheric (and some press) reaction to the debates from the left, right and center.

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Today’s Zogby: 1 Point Bush Lead

By Steven Taylor @ 6:23 am

Bush Takes One-Point Lead Over Kerry

Bush gained one point to 46 percent, with Kerry holding steady at 45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which concluded before the start of Wednesday night’s crucial final debate in Tempe, Arizona.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
A Crude Measure of Interest

By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 pm

Oddly, for whatever it is worth, I have a larger debate-related traffic surge tonight than I had for either of the other two debates.

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First Assessment

By Steven Taylor @ 9:59 pm

I’m too tired to be overly eloquent or verbose this evening. My basic snap judgment: Bush won tonight.

Part of the question is how many people watched tonight versus the first night, especially with the baseball games going (and man, the Cards have opened up on the ‘Stros).

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  • Truth, Lies & Common Sense linked with Bush, Passion & The American People
  • The Indepundit linked with Debate Impressions
  • Bob\’s Place linked with The Debate as a distraction from the Playoffs
  • Peaktalk linked with TWO CENTRISTS
  • bLogicus linked with Wrap-Up of the Third Presidential Debate (MSM, Conservatives and Liberals)
  • The Moderate Voice linked with Our Debate Post: A Better Debate By Both (PLUS DEBATE ROUNDUP)
Marrying Up

By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 pm

Schieffer found Kerry’s marrying up (and some of us more than others) comment rather amusing.

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Strong Women

By Steven Taylor @ 9:47 pm

Q: What have you learned from strong women?

Bush: “To listen to them. To stand up straight and not scowl.” (and he actually got an audience reaction!)

The line about how Laura speaks better english than he does was a good line as well.

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The Border

By Steven Taylor @ 9:34 pm

I don’t think retina scans and electronic thumbprint scanners will affect the number of people willing to cross the desert and court death to get into the US.

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Budget Talk

By Steven Taylor @ 9:25 pm

This thing has degenerated to the part that all domestic debate end up at: where both guys say that the other guy will bust the budget by citing a bunch of fanstasy numbers. Further, both sides produce other fantasy numbers to show how they can pay for their plans.

That sound you hear is the sound of eyes glazing over across the land.

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Kerry and Faith

By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 pm

OK, it is ok for faith to motivate a legislator to work against poverty, but protecting life because of one’s faith is crossing the line?

Further, by his reasoning, why can’t killing a one year-old who is just too much trouble be between a woman, her God and her doctor?

The idea that one cannot legislate morality is simply wrong: law, by definition, is the codification of morality. That’s why legislating is often such a fight.

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The Job’s Question

By Steven Taylor @ 9:01 pm

Schieffer’s question on jobs is a good one-it is one of the few times that a member of the press has acknowledged that it may in fact not be fair to say that the president is responsible for job loss.

Kerry’s response is quite ponderous and the idea that the reason that outsourcing takes place is because of the ability to defer taxes is simply wrong. Market incentives lead to outsourcing, not an arcane element of the tax code.

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Bush’s Demeanor

By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 pm

If Bush had looked and sounded like this in the first debate, Kerry would not have gained the ground he did in the polls.

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Great Line

By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

Bush: “I want to remind people listening tonight that a plan isn’t a litany of complaints. And a plan is not to lay out programs you can’t pay for.”

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The Vaccine Question

By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 pm

Interestingly, the flu vaccine question allows Bush to tangentially address the drug re-importation issue (by raising questions of the safety of drugs from abroad) and the tort reform issue.

And while give Kerry credit for turning the quesiton into a broader one of health care, I’m sorry: the fact that British factory screwed up the flu vaccine’s doesn’t have squat to do with either lack of insurance or Bush’s health care policy.

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Basically Live Blogging

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 pm

I heard the first question in the car and hence the immediate post. I will jump in and catch up in a few-gotta get the kids down.

Meanwhile, James Joyner and Stephen Green are up to their usual debate activities.

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  • Overtaken by Events linked with Debate III (w/ Occasional Baseball Updates)
The First Question

By Steven Taylor @ 8:13 pm

They did tell Bob that tonight was domestic politics night, yes? Oh yeah, he even said so.

Then why was the first question about security??

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Somthing to Watch for Tonight

By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 pm

How many lame Boston Red Sox jokes will Kerry work in tonight?

And mentioning the Sox: both playoff games start an hour before the debates-can anyone say “lowest rated of the four debates"? I bet you can.

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Bush-Kerry III: The Search for Logic

By Steven Taylor @ 7:55 pm

I have church responsibilities tonight (I work in Awana) and therefore will be getting home and trying to get kids down when the debate starts (which will be in a few minutes, based on posting time). I plan to TiVo and watch, but will be delayed in starting, so while I probably will be blogging, it will only be semi-live (ya gots to love TiVo).

I have posted this ahead of time for mystical-magical posting tonight so as to inform the loyal PoliBlog Debate Blogging GroupiesTM as to my status.

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Tracking the Trackers

By Steven Taylor @ 4:00 pm

Dean Esmay has a thoughful post on pollsters that is worth a read.

He points to the following at NRO which shows how the final polls did in 2000. The most noteworthy thing is that while there is a decent amount of variation, they were overall MOE issues-indeed, they weren’t as widely varied as conventional wisdom tends to remember them:

Zogby underestimated Bush by 2, had Gore accurate.
Washington Post had Bush accurate, Gore underestimated by 3.
Pew underestimated Bush by 2; underestimated Gore by 5.
Newsweek underestimated Bush by 3; underestimated Gore by 5.
NBC/Wall Street Journal underestimated Bush by 1; underestimated Gore by 4.
Marist overestimated Bush by 1, underestimated Gore by 4.
Harris underestimated both Bush and Gore by one point.
Gallup had Bush accurate, Gore underestimated by 2.
Fox News underestimated both Bush and Gore by 5 percentage points each.
CBS News underestimated Bush by 4, Gore by 3.
Battleground overestimated Bush by 2, underestimated Gore by 3.

Not that it really means anything, but Zogby, Harris and Gallup all did the best job in 2000, each with a combined error of 2 points. WaPo’s total error was 3 points. I find this interesting, largely because the CW seems to be that Zogby was really the only one who was close.

He also notes this post at Daly Thoughts, which notes that Zogby didn’t do too well in 2002, while Mason-Dixon did.

Of course, as with investments, past performance is not indicative of future results.

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Yet Another EC Estimate

By Steven Taylor @ 2:30 pm

This time, it’s Slate.

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Reserve Your Copies Now!

By Steven Taylor @ 1:50 pm

Shatner on a mission in new enterprise

illiam Shatner has explored space on “Star Trek,'’ collared criminals as “T.J. Hooker'’ and recently punk’d an entire town for “Invasion Iowa,'’ his upcoming reality show for Spike TV.

But now the erstwhile Captain Kirk is boldly going into music, seeking out credibility with his new album, “Has Been,'’ released Tuesday.

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Bizarre

By Steven Taylor @ 1:07 pm

O’Reilly Sues Manhattan Attorney, His Law Firm and Employee in Extortion Scheme

Bill O’Reilly, host of the FOX News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, filed suit today in Nassau County Supreme Court against a Manhattan attorney, his law firm, Morelli & Associates, and a FOX News employee for attempting to extort $60 million dollars from Mr. O’Reilly.

[…]

The complaint filed by Mr. O’Reilly alleges that Mr. Morelli and the employee engaged in an extortion attempt by threatening to file a well-publicized lawsuit and demanding an exorbitant financial settlement for hush money. The complaint describes Mr. Morelli’s demand that Mr. O’Reilly pay the pair “nothing less than $60 million.” In addition, Mr. Morelli claimed he “wanted to punish not only O’Reilly, but FOX News.”

Wild.

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That Would be Nice

By Steven Taylor @ 1:03 pm

Yahoo! News - Iraq’s Allawi Issues Ultimatum to Falluja

Iraq’s interim prime minister warned the rebel-held city of Falluja on Wednesday it must hand over foreign militants or face a major operation to root them out.

[…]

“If Zarqawi and his group are not handed over to us, we are ready for major operations in Falluja,” Allawi told Iraq’s interim national council. “I hope they (people in Falluja) will respond. If they don’t, we will have to use force.”

Certainly it is good to see the continued movement to try and clean out these cities. Further, it is good to see the Iraqi government taking the lead.

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May it Be So

By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

Insurgent Alliance Is Fraying In Fallujah

Local insurgents in the city of Fallujah are turning against the foreign fighters who have been their allies in the rebellion that has held the U.S. military at bay in parts of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim heartland, according to Fallujah residents, insurgent leaders and Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Relations are deteriorating as local fighters negotiate to avoid a U.S.-led military offensive against Fallujah, while foreign fighters press to attack Americans and their Iraqi supporters. The disputes have spilled over into harsh words and sporadic violence, with Fallujans killing at least five foreign Arabs in recent weeks, according to witnesses.

What a shame.

At any rate, if true, this underscores how a substantial portion of the anti-coalition violence is not be perpetrated by Iraqi nationals, meaning that it isn’t a classic insurgency. It also is a significant difference with Viet Nam.

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Voter Registration Surge

By Steven Taylor @ 12:00 pm

Surge in voter registration setting records

In Ohio, where polls showed Mr Bush leading, the total number of voters has jumped from 7.5 million in 2000 to 7.8 million this year. “We began the year with 7.1 million registered voters,” said Carlo LoParo, the spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

In Pennsylvania, a pivotal state where the president and Mr. Kerry were in a dead heat, a state election official said that he was seeing “certainly higher than normal registration.”

The total number of registered voters in Pennsylvania was said to be hitting 8 million, much higher than the 7.7 million registered to vote in the state’s April primaries or the 7.8 million who were registered to vote in 2000. “The counties are inundated with registration forms. Officials are working overtime and on Saturdays to handle them all,” said Brian McDonald, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office.

So far, the state’s voter registration was “slightly leaning toward the Democrats,” Mr. McDonald said. In April, a breakdown of the state’s voter registration lists showed 3.7 million Democrats, 3.2 million Republicans and about 850,000 independents or third-party voters.

In Minnesota, another state where the race is in a statistical dead heat, there was a similar jump in the number of registered voters %u2014 from 2.84 million in 2002 to 2.91 million as of this month.

I am curious as to the actual percentage increase this year over past years.

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Patch-o-Rama

By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

Microsoft tells users to patch 21 new flaws in Windows

Microsoft on Tuesday issued 10 security advisories-seven of them critical-urging consumers and businesses to patch 21 new flaws in Windows software products.

On the one hand, at least they are trying to fix the problem. On the theother: 21 new flaws?

The announcement was expected as part of Microsoft’s monthly security communiqu�. But the number of serious flaws was higher than expected, recalling the month of April when the company issued seven advisories detailing 20 flaws, one of which led to the widespread Sasser worm.

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Jerry’s Not Happy in Oakland

By Steven Taylor @ 7:31 am

Raiders’ Rice boils over

Jerry Rice’s frustration with the Raiders apparently reached a new high Tuesday when he told a Sacramento radio station that he could be traded before next week’s deadline and that he would welcome the change of scenery if it meant more playing time.

“I can’t go out this way,” Rice said in an interview with KHTK. “If some things had been explained to me before the season started, then maybe the situation would be different now. I want to come back. I want to play next year. And I want to go out the right way.

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More on the Afghan Elections

By Steven Taylor @ 6:56 am

15 Afghan Candidates to File Vote Complaints With Panel [RSS]

Fifteen of the 17 candidates who ran against the interim president, Hamid Karzai, in Afghanistan’s first presidential election met here on Tuesday to prepare official complaints of multiple voting, ballot box stuffing and other irregularities.

The complaints will be investigated by a commission set up by the United Nations after the 15 candidates called for a suspension of the election on Saturday and accused the United Nations and Afghan Joint Election Management Board of bias toward Mr. Karzai. The candidates agreed to abide by the panel’s findings.

A spokesman for Mr. Karzai’s campaign, Hamid Elmi, said Mr. Karzai’s campaign office was also submitting complaints involving other candidates’ supporters, but he did not specify what. The large number of complaints may slow down a counting process already expected to take at least two weeks.

First, the idea that there were some irregularities is no surprise. Second, the good news is that the most significant of the opposition candidates, the individual who came in second, is not calling for a suspension. Third, there are some very serious charges in the list (ballot box stuffing, extra absentee ballots being filled out, etc.).

Still, the good news is that they are dealing with these kinds of problems and not Taliban soldiers slaughtering people for playing soccer in their shorts or terrorism during elections. This has been a massive step forward. That is isn’t perfect is hardly a surprise. Further, my guess is that even if all questionable ballots were magically removed from the proces Karzai still won by a landslide.

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WaPo Tracking: Bush Lead Down to 3

By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

Here’s the chart.

Bush is down 1 and Kerry up 2 from yesterday.

It’s: 50-47.

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Zogby: Still a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

Bush and Kerry Tied Ahead of Debate

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry remain deadlocked in the White House race going into their final debate, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

The current magic number is 45 all.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
A-Team Coming Together for the Silver Screen

By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 pm

Yahoo! News - “A-Team” Movie Ramping Up

According to Cannell, the A-Team flick will be updated to reflect current political issues. The film will also forego the cartoonish nature of the tube version in favor of more serious action à la Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Hmm-the cartoonishness was part of its charm, so I dunno. And I guess “current political issues” means terrorism and perhaps the fact that these guys can’t be Viet Nam vets any longer-unless is it going to geriatric action flick.

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Shocking!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 pm

Kerry Takes Early Lead in Newspaper Endorsements

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Supremes to Settle Ten Commandments Display Issue

By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 pm

Top Court to Rule on Ten Commandments Displays

The U.S. Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it would decide whether displaying the Ten Commandments on government property, including at a state Capitol or a county courthouse, violated church-state separation.

Or, at least, theoretically they are going to settle it. I thought they were going to settle the Pledge issue this term, but punted. So, stay tuned.

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Indeed

By Steven Taylor @ 2:41 pm

Notes The Note

The press is obsessed with the “too close to call” storyline.

(How big a lead would a candidate have to have in several reputable national polls for the media to give up that cherished narrative?)

No joke.

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The Colorado EC Vote

By Steven Taylor @ 11:32 am

Mickey Kaus’ discussion of the stragetic considerations of Kerry voters in Colorado reminded me of one of the things that troubles me most about the Colorado referendum on whether to alter the allocation of their electoral vote: by having the results go in effect this year the authors of the initiative have lead to a situation which many voters will vote not based on the general merits of the measure, but rather on how the measure will help or hurt the candidates running now. This strikes me as a poor way to make such a long-term decision.

Ultimately, I sill maintain that this is a terrible idea for Colorado, as it effectively reduces them to a 1 electoral vote state (less, by a factor of 3, than any other state). Why the voters of Colorado would want to essentially eviscerate their electoral influence is beyond me.

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Drugs if by Land, Drugs if by Sea

By Steven Taylor @ 11:24 am

Drug officials say traffickers now prefer sea routes

Colombia’s top anti-drug officials says Mexican and Colombian cartels are increasingly turning to ocean routes to move drugs.

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Blog-o-nomics (at least for the Bigs)

By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 am

From an online discussion at RWN:

John Hawkins: Speaking of which - take a look at the following numbers. This is how much money the following bloggers are making per week off of Blogads if you take how much money they charge for a weekly ad and multiply times the number of ads they have. Keep in mind that these numbers will be a bit high because rates longer than a week are a bit cheaper…

Frank J.: Instapundit is making more than my salary as an engineer.

John Hawkins: Daily Kos $14,500, Talking Points Memo $8500, Eschaton $6000, Instapundit $3250, Andrew Sullivan $5200…

Wowie-freakin’-kawozie.

(and, if true, why in the world does Sully need pledge drives?)

Hat tip: Betsy’s Page (and I would echo Betsy: I have blogad space and am far cheaper!).

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CBS/NYT: Bush by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

So says the latest likely voter poll.

Also: Kerry up by 2 in PA.

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Round 3

By Steven Taylor @ 10:08 am

Here’s the low-down: Facts About Third Presidential Debate.

This one will be a podium affair like Round 1. Hopefully Bush has been told not to hunch. I wish that it was a sit-down affair like the Cheney-Edwards debate.

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USAT/Gallup: Kerry by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 9:21 am

The poll has Kerry at 49 and Bush at 48 amongst likely voters. Plus, Bush’s approval rating slipping

Bush’s approval rating-the most reliable measure of a president’s re-election prospects-has dropped to 47%, the lowest since July. Anything below 50% is considered a red flag for incumbents.

Also, the internals aren’t good for Bush on the economy, Iraq and terrorism.

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Instant Run-off in SF Council Elections

By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 am

For Voters, Choice Is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

When voters here go to the polls in November to select their top choice for a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors, they also get to pick their second choice - and even their third.

Here, a winning candidate has to receive at least 50 percent of the vote for the Board of Supervisors, which is the local city council. In the past, if nobody did, there was a runoff election.

But this year, San Francisco has become the largest city in the nation to adopt a form of voting that proponents say is a little like walking into an ice cream shop to order a chocolate cone only to discover the shop is all out - no problem, just order your next favorite flavor, and if that’s out, your third.

I think this is a great idea, and one that would save the city money. Indeed, I advocated this idea for Alabama in a column a few months back.

However, this strikes me as a silly hope:

Advocates said the new system has made campaigning more civilized - candidates don’t want to lose out on the chance to be a voter’s second or third choice by appearing too negative. And they say it may increase turnout.

I don’t see how such a system creates an incentive for increased civility (nor increased turnout, for that matter). It certainly means that more people will have cast a vote for the runoff than would have done so if there was a gap between round one and round two.

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WaPo Tracking Poll: Bush by 6

By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 am

It’s Bush 51, Kerry 45 (that’s a one point drop for Kerry). The chart is here.

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Zogby: Today It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 6:58 am

Bush Moves Into Dead Heat with Kerry

Bush gained three points on the Massachusetts senator to move into a 45-45 percent dead heat in the latest three-day tracking poll of the White House campaign.

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That’s Just Not Right

By Steven Taylor @ 5:43 am

Couple Allegedly Has Sex at the Alamo.

And they get mad if you take photos inside the place…

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Monday, October 11, 2004
WaPo Tracking Poll: Bush by 5

By Steven Taylor @ 2:55 pm

click here to see

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No Trade of Johnson: Gruden

By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 pm

Simms doubtful for next Bucs game; Griese will start

Meanwhile, Gruden said the team will not trade Johnson, who has lost 13 of 20 starts since leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory in January 2003.

“I’m not going to answer all the rumor mill,'’ Gruden said. “There’s a lot of inaccuracies out there. Brad Johnson is a big part of this football team and will continue to be that.'’

Seems to me that if a deal would be struck with Baltimore, it could be hugely mutually beneficial to both teams, depending on whaty changed hands. Baltimore needs a steadier hand at QB, and Billick worked wonders with Johnson at Minnesota. Furtther, Tampa needs to look to the future, which is Simms.

Of course, this is all speculation, but that’s why I get paid those bog NFL analyst bucks.

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Number of US Troops in Colombia to Double

By Steven Taylor @ 1:24 pm

Congress Approves Doubling U.S. Troops in Colombia to 800

The number of American military personnel here will double, to 800, in the coming months, based on a weekend vote in the United States Congress.

The action was welcomed by President Alvaro Uribe’s government for its fight against Marxist rebels but condemned by human rights monitors, who warned of a sharp escalation in Colombia’s conflict.

The 2005 United States Defense Department authorization act, approved Saturday by Congress, also permits the Bush administration to increase the number of American citizens working for private contractors in Colombia to 600 from 400.

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Trek News: Eugenics War Storyline for Enterprise

By Steven Taylor @ 12:58 pm

Enterprise Raises Khan

Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data) will play a criminal ancestor of Noonien Soong, the scientist who created Data. Coto, who joined the production team of Enterprise last season, said that he originally intended the arc’s nemesis to be Col. Green, a despotic character from the original series episode “The Savage Curtain,” but rewrote the character for Spiner when he expressed interest in appearing on Enterprise. “Originally it was going to be Col. Green, who was briefly mentioned in the original series, but when I heard that Brent Spiner was interested I tailored it towards him,” Coto said. “We made him into a scientist who believed in genetic engineering, and he believed that this was the great future of mankind. He conceived this plan to steal the embryos and raise them to adulthood. But what happens is they get away from him. They go on basically a rampage, and they’re like mini Khan Noonien Singhs. They’re wreaking havoc in this place called the Borderland, which is near the Klingon Empire, and he’s threatening to start a war with the Empire.”

If done right, this could be quite interesting. I have high hopes for this season of Enterprise.

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More on Afghan Elections

By Steven Taylor @ 12:07 pm

Candidate Drops Boycott of Afghan Election

The main opposition candidate in Afghanistan’s first-ever presidential election backed off a boycott of the vote Monday, saying he would accept the formation of an independent commission to look into alleged cheating.

Ethnic Tajik candidate Yunus Qanooni, considered the likely runner-up to interim President Hamid Karzai, made the announcement at his Kabul home on Monday, a day after two other candidates also peeled away from the boycott. He said he had made his decision after a meeting with U.N. representative Jean Arnault and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

“I don’t want to be against the election and I appreciate the good will of the people of Afghanistan,” Qanooni said. “I want to prove to the people of Afghanistan that the national interest is my highest interest.”

Good news. The ability of losers to accept their status and move on to work as a legal, civil opposition is key for the development of democratic governance.

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Spinning Afghanistan and Other Tales of a Possible Kerry Foreign Policy

By Steven Taylor @ 11:56 am

I have noticed a couple of bloggers who have noted the seeming success in Afghanistan and have wondered how the Democrats will spin it (such as Diggers Realm and Right on Red).

The answer is simple: the Kerry campaign, and I presume the Democratic Party in general, will note that Afghanistan was “the right war at the right place at the right time” and that if Kerry were President we would have Afghanistans, not Iraqs. Indeed, Kerry’s debate message (and a message that is one developed and hones post-convention, btw) is that the real war on terror is in Afghanistan, and that Iraq is a “diversion.”

Setting aside the whole Iraq’s relation to the GWOT thing, I have my doubts that Kerry would have pursued Afghanistan in a manner similar to Bush’s. Indeed, given that all the seemingly necessary condition for Kerry to go to war were present in 1991 with Iraq: UN support, a large coalition and clear aggression, yet he voted against that war. If he wouldn’t have gone into Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait, what credible argument can be made that he would have gone into Afghanistan in 2001?

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Afgahn Opposition Backs off Fraud Claims

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 am

Afghan Election Concerns Subside

Controversy clouding Afghanistan’s historic first presidential election eased Sunday when several major opposition candidates backed off from assertions that voter fraud and errors at polling places had rendered Saturday’s vote meaningless and illegitimate.

As thousands of ballot boxes began reaching the capital by donkey, taxi and helicopter to be counted at an army base, Afghan and international officials reiterated their praise for the massive, peaceful demonstration of civic will shown by millions of voters, and they played down the complaints of voting irregularities initially made by 15 candidates.

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Govern Like its September 10, 2001

By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 am

‘’We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.'’

-Senator John Kerry in an interview from this week’s NYT Magazine.

Ok, on the one hand, I agree: we are never going to end terrorism. However, treating it like a law enforcement issue takes us back to the Clinton administration and the pre-911 mindset. This statement is tantamount to saying that he would return to a reactive, rather than proactive, anti-terrorism policy. That would be a dangerous choice.-indeed, such a policy got us 911 in the first place.

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Ken Caminiti Dead at Age 41

By Steven Taylor @ 6:43 am

Ken Caminiti, 1996 NL MVP, Dies at Age 41

Ken Caminiti, the 1996 National League MVP who later admitted using steroids during his major league career, died Sunday. He was 41.

Caminiti died of a heart attack in the Bronx, said his agent-lawyer Rick Licht. The city medical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be performed Monday, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.

[…]

The three-time All-Star third baseman often was in trouble the last few years. His 15-year big league career ended in 2001, five seasons after he led the Padres to a division title and was a unanimous pick for MVP.

Just last Tuesday, he admitted in a Houston court that he violated his probation by testing positive for cocaine last month, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Talk about your cautionary tales against steroid and drug use. Wow.

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Zogby Today: Kerry by 3

By Steven Taylor @ 6:40 am

Kerry Opens Three-Point Lead on Bush

The Massachusetts senator held a 47-44 percent lead over Bush in the latest three-day tracking poll, up two points from Sunday. Bush’s support dropped one point and Kerry’s support rose one point in the new poll.

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Christopher Reeve, RIP

By Steven Taylor @ 6:33 am

Actor Christopher Reeve dies at age 52 of cardiac arrest.

Via: The World Around You: Superman is Dead

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Sunday, October 10, 2004
Ingredients for Happy Travel

By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 pm

1. Start your day by hearing an unknown alarm ringing through the Las Vegas airport that results in the security line sitting dead still for almost half an hour.

2. Get to your plane on time, but fail to leave on time because of people who got stuck in the security line/the fact that the security alert (the story is that someone bolted from the security area, causing a lock-down until he was caught) resulted in the temporary closing of a runway means your plane has to taxi to Utah to take off.

3. Arrive in Dallas at the exact same time your flight home is leaving.

4. Get rescheduled so that you first have to go through Atlanta to get home (with another razor-thin layover and a Delta rep who cannot give you a seat assignment).

5. Get to watch the second half of a particularly pathetic Dallas Cowboys game while you wait to help lift your spirits.

6. Calling the rental car place to see about the van that the insurance company owes you because of the accident, to learn that it closes at 6 (you are to arrive at 7:30).

7. Realize as you are boarding the plane that you are a middle seat on very full flight.

7a. Realize that you seated between a person your size (6; 2″, 210ish) and a fellow well over 300 pounds).

7b. Realize that there are children behind you who will chatter throughout the entire flight (indeed, has the kids kicked my chair and had my rowmates been emitting foul odors, the stereotype would have been complete).

8. Realize that of the three reading light in your row, yours doesn’t work.

Happy ending: getting the last seat on the flight from Atlanta to Montgomery and then getting a seat in the exit-row, the one with extra, extra leg room.

And, finally, getting back home.

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Status

By Steven Taylor @ 12:16 am

No, I’m not in seclusion because of the Texas-OU game-just a busy day without any time for blogging.

More tomorrow at some point (maybe).

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Saturday, October 9, 2004
Governor, Yes; President, Not So Much

By Steven Taylor @ 5:57 pm

Californians Not Warm to Schwarzenegger for President

A Field Poll of 600 Californians registered to vote found that just 26 percent would be inclined to vote for their Austrian-born governor should he one day run for president.

[…]

The Field Poll found that 65 percent of Californians approve of Schwarzenegger’s job as governor, the same number as in August and May surveys. Those numbers are especially impressive because the Republican serves a state where Democrats are the majority party.

Still, the Field Poll, which had a plus or minus 4.1 percent margin of error, found only 36 percent of those surveyed backed a change in the Constitution to allow foreign-born presidents.

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What a Shame

By Steven Taylor @ 5:47 pm

Painting of Nude Bush Removed From Museum

And I so wanted to attend the exhibit.

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Kerry up by One in Latest Zogby Tracking Poll

By Steven Taylor @ 3:36 pm

POLL: Kerry Takes Slight One-Point Lead Over Bush

Democratic challenger John Kerry moved into a slight one-point lead over President Bush in a tight White House race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Saturday.

Kerry pulled ahead of Bush 46-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which concluded before the start of Friday night’s televised debate between the two contenders in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Good News/Bad News from Afghanistan

By Steven Taylor @ 1:26 pm

Yahoo! News - Afghan Poll Ends Peacefully; Opposition Claims Fraud

Afghanistan’s historic presidential election closed on Saturday without any of the feared large-scale violence, but the vote was thrown into turmoil when most candidates said a flawed process made the poll invalid.

All 15 of President Hamid Karzai’s rivals said they were withdrawing from the election because systems to prevent illegal multiple voting had gone awry. The move effectively left Karzai as the only candidate in the fray.

Election officials refused to halt the process, which appeared to have been embraced enthusiastically by most voters across the rugged Islamic nation despite fears that many would be too afraid to participate.

Well, the fact that voting at all took place is massively good news, as is the fact that there was no violence. Also, reading about women being able to vote in Afghanistan is simply a wonderful thing.

However, the faud claims are troubling-I will reserve judgment as to how troubling until I know more.

Further, the politics of the withdrawal of the candidates is interesting on several levels. On the one hand, the risk ws not that high, as Karzai is the odds-one favorite. On the other, it doesn’t signal much good will on the part of the opposition.

This is one to keep watching.

Regardless, it is hard to argue that Afghanistan (and the world) isn’t better off with the Taliban out of power.

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Academic Sacrifice or Divine Mercy?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

I would note that I am demonstrating my academic dedication by the fact that my panel today was scheduled so that I cannot watch the Texas-OU game today. Yes, the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual interchange has trumped the gridiron.

Or, it may be that it is a sign of the benevolent grace of God that He scheduled my panel at that time to spare me long, drawn-out pain.

Still, if not watching is what it takes for them to win, I am happy to make the sacrifice.

Hook’Em!

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Scenes from Vegas

By Steven Taylor @ 11:03 am

*Observation: I have seen more people smoking inside buildings here the last several days than I have since I was in Bogota, Colombia ten years ago (and I may have seen more in less than four days here than I saw in ten months in Bogota).

*Sign on The Strip: “Cold Beer and Dirty Girls!” (something to do with mudwrestling, the appeal of which escapes me).

*Scene at the conference hotel: at 7:50am (yes, am), a guy downing a 16 oz Miller Geniune Draft walking around casino floor as I was heading to get breakfast).

*Scene at the conference hotel: a woman in her late 60s/early 70s in a tight t-shirt/shorts combo emblazoned in silvert lettering: “I’m So Good Looking” (or something along those lines).

To all of which I say: ugh.

Of course, we aren’t exactly at the nicest hotel on the strip (hint: if you are coming to Las Vegas, don’t, I repeat don’t stay at the Riviera. Which leads to the parting scene for this post:

*Yesterday morning, a panelist thanked the audience for coming to an 8am panel at “the tackiest hotel in America.”

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ABC New Poll: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 10:46 am

Viewers Divided on Debate Winner..

Of course, it is a small sample (515) and is only of registered voters, so take it as you will.

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Lots of Cool Campaign Stuff

By Steven Taylor @ 5:01 am

WaPo has a great set of campaign stats and such.

Some highlights:

  • Daily tracking polls.
  • Comfirmation that security is the issue: 26% say Iraq, 24% say Terrorism.
  • A list of most-visited states by candidate.
  • A list of funds on hand by candidate.

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Harry Potter Predictions

By Steven Taylor @ 3:15 am

Stephen Bainbridge makes a Harry Potter prediction.

I’ll make one of my own: Sirius isn’t dead and will make a dramatic return.

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Now What’s he Smokin’?

By Steven Taylor @ 2:47 am

Williams says he’d play only one more season

Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams says he misses football but would only play one more season if he returns to the NFL.

What kind of sales pitch is that? Who in their right mind would give him any substantial amount of money for one season, especially given his recent record of instability?

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Friday, October 8, 2004
Ya Think?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:43 pm

Rodman says image may be hurting comeback

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Back to Silence

By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 pm

Aside for some pre-programmed, non-time specific posts that I have instructed WordPress to dribble out later, I am going back into netlessness.

Hasta manana.

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A Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 10:09 pm

George Will and the ABC news gang called it a tie, and the Fox crew seems to be saying the same thing. That strikes me as fair, but tonight a tie should redound to Bush after how badly he did in the first debate.

Further, I would argue that since Bush lost so badly (according to the polls) but also didn’t lose too much ground on the head-to-head numbers and on the internals after the first debate, a tie in this case gives Bush a win.

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  • Peaktalk linked with DEBATE ROUND-UP
  • The American Mind linked with Post-Debate II Spin
  • bLogicus linked with Second Debate Appears Divided Along Parisian Lines
  • bLogicus linked with Second Debate Appears Divided Along Parisian Lines
  • The Moderate Voice linked with DEBATE: Bush Does Better...Slight Edge To Kerry Contains Complete Roundup
Tie Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 9:39 pm

Charlie Gibson has almost the exact same tie as Bush.

A subliminal message, or just lack of fashion imagination?

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Snap Assessment

By Steven Taylor @ 9:37 pm

No serious gaffes on either side, and both stayed on message.

Bush did much, much (indeed, much) better than the first debate-this was more what I expected last week. His closing statement was quite a bit better than Kerry’s.

Kerry did well also, but I think comparatively did worse than did Bush.

Hence, I would declare Bush the winner.

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  • InTheBullpen.com linked with Second Presidential Debate Live-Blogging
  • Mark the Pundit linked with Debate II
  • I love Jet Noise linked with Second Presidential Debate Recap
Comment of the Night

By Steven Taylor @ 9:30 pm

Via Dean’s World

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Kerry VII

By Steven Taylor @ 9:24 pm

In re: the abortion question-by his logic ("I can’t take an article of faith and legislate from it") we can’t legislate against human sacrifice either.

And again, on this type of issue the statement of “respect” rings hollow.

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  • Bob\’s Place linked with Debate:Abortion
Kerry VI

By Steven Taylor @ 9:23 pm

Kerry just stated that he would appoint judges who would “interpret the Constitution according to the law"-shouldn’t that be the other way around?

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Bush IX

By Steven Taylor @ 9:19 pm

Who let that Supreme Court question through? Like he is going to name a nominee?

Eek-but mentioning Dred Scott stikes me as a dangerous one. I would say that mentioning slavery in a deabte is probably not a good idea.

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Kerry V

By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 pm

Kerry notes that he “respects” the “feeling” in the woman’s question on stem cell research. However, how respectful is it to say one respects a position, but basically says that he resjects her position?

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Bush VIII

By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 pm

Continually noting how Kerry has missed votes is an effective attack. I have noted that Kerry hasn’t not responded to any of those allegations.

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The DJIA Issue

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 pm

Bush is right: the trend line on the DJIA start downward well before the election: here’s a graph.

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Bush VII

By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

There has been more discussion (and it hasn’t been much, I will grant) of Kerry’s Senate career tonight than in the rest of the campaign combined.

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Bush VI

By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 pm

Bush has to better make the liberty argument.

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Kerry IV/Bush V

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 pm

Kerry is right about airport security-however, I think Kerry radically oversimplifies the solution. Further, I would contend that the ability to protect that homeland completely is impossible and that stopping them abroad is a better policy.

Bush scores on the Homeland Security budget and the intelligence votes-although Kerry can still rightly respond that more can be done.

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Bush IV

By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 pm

Bush showed some passion talking down Gibson and answering the question about the coalition. Well played, although he didn’t answer the question about the troops, per se.

I thought Kerry’s suggestion that the troops would prefer him as CINC to Bush is a dubious proposition.

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Bush III: Best Line to Date

By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

“That answer almost made we want to scowl.”

Plus: the “naive and dangerous” stuff should score some points with the security-minded undecideds.

The linkage to the Clinton policy and the North Korean nuclear problem is key, and not one that has been made often enough nor well enough.

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Bush II

By Steven Taylor @ 8:19 pm

He is doing something that he has to do, and did not do in Debate I, trying (incompletely at this point) to define the War on Terror more broadly than just Afghanistan.

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  • Overtaken by Events linked with Dumb Townhall-Style Faux Debate Blogging
Kerry III

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 pm

Ok-more “better” and “faster” (maybe even “stronger"), but no “how.”

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Audience

By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 pm

Is the bald guy with a beard and glasses about to nod off? No wonder he is undecided, if he can’t stay awake with both candidates right in front of him.

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Kerry II

By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 pm

Kerry does have the ability to score points, and I think he has, on the WMD issue because of the report. If he can successfully reduce Iraq to WMD and WMD only, he will score serious points.

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Kerry

By Steven Taylor @ 8:13 pm

How does the number of jons created have anything to do with rebutting the charge that he has flip-flopped on Iraq?

And is the claim that he has never changes his mind at all a serious and defensible claim? Surely he needs to admit at least some variation in his postion to be credible.

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Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 pm

Bush looks a lot better tonight than he did last week-the lack of a podium to hunch over helps, no doubt. He is much livelier than last time as well. Perhaps he wisely took a pre-debate nap.

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  • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Debate: Steven Taylor Thinks Bush is Doing Better
Live Blogging After All

By Steven Taylor @ 8:07 pm

Well, I actually ended up to be in a position to live blog after all.

Update: James Joyner is live blogging as well.

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  • Diggers Realm linked with Bush And Kerry Presidential Town Hall Debate
Net-less-ness Continues, So Forget Live Blogging

By Steven Taylor @ 6:23 pm

Obviously, no live blogging tonight, but perhaps some commentary after the fact, as I will have some access from my current locale.

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Thursday, October 7, 2004
I Guess They Don’t Want You to Stay in Your Room

By Steven Taylor @ 6:25 pm

The motels along the highway in Troy have something that the Riviera in Las Vegas doesn’t: high speed internet in the rooms.

Hence my utter silence.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2004
As Predicted

By Steven Taylor @ 4:33 pm

I just heard Edwards on CNN using the prayer breakfast meeting as a case in point as to Cheney’s truth problem.

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Oops

By Steven Taylor @ 4:26 pm

Of course, this will help reinforce the Edwards’ charge that Cheney has an uncomfortable relationship with the truth:Cheney and Edwards Have Met Before.

Although since Edwards didn’t cite it last night, it must not have been all that memorable an event :)

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Interesting: Catholic Voting Trends Since 1960

By Steven Taylor @ 4:25 pm

Voting Trends by Catholics Since 1960

Year Democratic Republican Other Outcome
1960 83 percent 17 percent NA Kennedy(D) def. Nixon®
1964 79 21 NA Johnson(D) def. Goldwater®
1968 56 37 7 Nixon® def. Humphrey(D)
1972 40 61 NA Nixon® def. McGovern(D)
1976 58 42 NA Carter(D) def. Ford®
1980 41 50 9 Reagan® def. Carter(D)
1984 46 54 NA Reagan® def. Mondale(D)
1988 53 47 NA G.H.W. Bush® def. Dukakis(D)
1992 50 30 20 Clinton(D) def. G.H.W. Bush®
1996 56 36 8 Clinton(D) def. Dole®
2000 50 50 NA G.W. Bush ® def. Gore (D)

No commentary-the electoral studies geek in me simply finds number like there interesting.

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Observations of a Travelling Professor

By Steven Taylor @ 4:16 pm

*The seats in airplanes were not designed for persons with legs as long as mine. Indeed, they were designed, at best, for moderate-sized children only (granted, hardly an original observation, but one I am forced to make every time I travel-especially on the commuter plane between Montgomery and either Atlanta or DFW).

*To the dude in front of me at the Burger King in DFW: burping loudly once in public is a faux paux-doing so thrice is a social problem.

*Airports need more power outlets (or “holes” for Seinfed aficionados).

*If one is in one’s late forties/early fifties (and especially if one has something of a pot belly), one does not look cool in the sunglasses, suit and t-shirt comb. Indeed, most folks don’t.

*I look forward to the day that all planes have net access. It is positively inhuman to be stuck for that many hours sans e-mail and web access.

*Grading on a plane is pretty much as boring as grading in my home-just less comfortable.

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  • The Glittering Eye linked with The joys of travelling
When Acronyms Collide

By Steven Taylor @ 4:12 pm

WiFi means being delayed at DFW is at least tolerable.

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Status

By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

I am about to head out to the 2004 meeting of the Latin American Studies Association , and therefore blogging will be light to nonexistent between today and Sunday.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2004
First Assessment

By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 pm

Cheney came across as having far more information than Edwards with a clear, calm command of the facts. Edwards did a good job, but his answers came across as a mix of serious policy, pure politics, and pre-prepared attack points. Edwards was much more of an attack dog than was Cheney.

I predict that because Edwards had no major gaffes, that the pundits will declare him vice-presidential, and therefore, the winner (since these things are more about perception than substance). However, on substance, Cheney won in my mind.

I will say this: there is no way to credibly spin Cheney in the Dark Lord of the Sith role in tonight’s debate.

I am not sure what points that Edwards scored for his ticket in terms of specific points, but he did a good job positioning himself for 2008, should it come to that.

I predict that the internals of the polls will show that the voters find Cheney as being more comforting on the security issues than Edwards-and that such will redound to the ticket itself.

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with VP Debate
  • InTheBullpen.com linked with VP Debate Live Blogging
  • The Indepundit linked with Liveblogging Veep Debate
  • The Indepundit linked with Liveblogging Veep Debate
  • Peaktalk linked with DEBATE COMMENT
  • The Indepundit linked with Liveblogging Veep Debate
  • The Indepundit linked with Liveblogging Veep Debate
  • The Indepundit linked with Liveblogging Veep Debate
  • bLogicus linked with Cheney - Edwards Vice Presidential Debate
  • bLogicus linked with Cheney - Edwards Vice Presidential Debate
  • bLogicus linked with Cheney - Edwards Vice Presidential Debate
  • The Moderate Voice linked with The Veep Debate: A Classic Draw?
  • Interested-Participant linked with Cheney - Edwards Debate Mini-Wrap
  • Outside The Beltway linked with Cheney-Edwards Debate Morning After Roundup
  • The Indepundit linked with Instant Analysis
Closing Statements

By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 pm

Ok, here is Edwards on the Mill thing again. And again, as I have noted before on numerous occassions: why is the lesson that Edwards learns from his life story is that America needs more government? Isn’t the lesson that hard work (his own, his father’s) is rewarded in the United States? What part of Jon Edward’s biography is an argument for expanded government?

Cheney’s closing statement is perhaps his weakest part of the debate. And is it me, or did he forget some words when he was talking about everyone getting a job who wants one?

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The Rules

By Steven Taylor @ 9:29 pm

Edwards isn’t allowed to say “John Kerry"? Huh?!

Ok, he can say it sometimes, but not others? Hmmm.

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Tort Refor…zzzzzzz

By Steven Taylor @ 9:13 pm

While I think that tort reform is a very important issue, I must confess: this part of the debate is a snoozer.

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Cutesy Points

By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 pm

Edwards has tried a couple of times to score what I would call “cutesy points"-like “I talked about the Israel situation, he didn’t” and “The question is about jobs and poverty, right? Because he just talked about education, not jobs and poverty.”

It makes him look like he is trying too hard.

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Scoring Points on the Senate Record

By Steven Taylor @ 8:52 pm

The litany of Edwards’ absences in the Senate was pretty remarkable-especially with the cherry on the top of the sundae that as President of the Senate that Cheney had never met Edwards before tonight.

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Talking Points

By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 pm

Edwards seems to be working in the idea that “they lied about the 911 connection to Iraq and they’re lying now” into as many answers as possible, whether it is relevant or not.

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On Casualties

By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 pm

Is pointing out how the US has the lion’s share of the casualties is an odd way to entice allies to join up-isn’t that saying: too many of our guys are dying, so please, good friends, send some troops to die instead? I understand the political argument to the domestic audience, but it is a terribly odd argument if the ultimate goal is to persuade new allies to send troops.

And Cheney did a good job of noting the fact that the Kerry-Edwards camp is ignoring the contributions of the Iraqis.

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Kudos to Ifel

By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

I concur with James Joyner

Gwen Ifel is doing a much better job than Jim Lehrer of asking balanced questions. While I really like Lehrer, most of his questions during the Bush-Kerry debate were about ostensible Bush failures. Ifel is asking, alternately, questions on Kerry-Edwards statements/positions and Bush policies. Much fairer in my view.

Not to excuse Bush’s performance, but I do think that the questions in the first presidential debate were such that Bush was automatically on the defensive as a result of the questions asked.

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Halliburton

By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 pm

It took longer than expected for Halliburton to be mentioned-and it wasn’t used all that effectively.

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Best Line to this Point in the Debate

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 pm

“Freedom is the best antidote to terror."-Vice President Dick Cheney

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Score Two to Cheney

By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

“We need to fight them [terrorists] overseas so we don’t have to fight them at home."-Cheney. Indeed. That is a point that the Bush/Cheney folks need to hammer home.

But the real score was on the issue of the $87 billion vote and the political pressure presented by Howard Dean-"If they can’t stand up to the politiacl pressure from Howard Dean, how can they stand up to al Qaeda?”

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Defending the “Global Test”

By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 pm

The very fact that Edwards has had to defend the “global test” bit twice now, including from a question from the moderator, shows what a blunder it was for Kerry to say it. Further, Edwards hasn’t been able to directly answer the question as to what Kerry meant by the “global test” comment.

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Other Live Blogging

By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 pm

Vodkapundit

Daily Kos.

Outside The Beltway

The World Around You

Arguing with Signposts

Kevin Drum

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What’s the War on Terror?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 pm

Whichever side can define the “War on Terror” is going to win this election. Edwards is continuing the line that the war on terror is just al Qaeda and Afghanistan. Cheney is trying to define it more broadly.

I will say that Edwards looks to me like he is trying to look serious, and Cheney is looking grumpier than in the 2000 debate with Lieberman.

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Edwards Attacks!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 pm

Clearly, Edwards has been instructed to be the attack dog, and he has wasted no time in doing so.

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Audience Silence

By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 pm

I thought it was creepy in the first debate when the crowd wasn’t allowed to make any response, and they are using those rules tonight. I suspect it will seem creepy yet again.

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Most Annoying Talking Head

By Steven Taylor @ 7:33 pm

In the “Most Annoying Non-host, Occassional Commentator Position” the winner is: Ron Reagan, Jr.

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Live Debate Blogging

By Steven Taylor @ 7:28 pm

I will live blogging the debate, as usual for these things.

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Darth Cheney

By Steven Taylor @ 7:27 pm

As we approach the veep debate, I can’t help but think that all the press that has cast Cheney in the roll of Darth Vader may backfire a bit, as voters who aren’t political junkies may find themselves a tad surprised when Cheney doesn’t come across as a fire-breathing, war-mongering bad guy.

By the same token, the perception that Edwards in a lightweight no doubt allows him to come in with low expectations.

Still, in terms of general press presentation v. have he comes across in this type of setting, I think Cheney has the advantage in terms of the expectations game.

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Supremes Refuse Moore Plea

By Steven Taylor @ 10:45 am

Supreme Court won’t hear Alabama Ten Commandments case

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who lost his job after defying a federal order to dismantle a Ten Commandments monument.

[…]

Moore’s lawyers had called on the Supreme Court to “remedy this travesty of justice” and give him his job back. The high court declined, without comment.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary found that Moore violated canons of judicial ethics when he refused the federal court’s order to move the monument. Moore could try to win back a seat on the court in 2006 elections.

The last of Moore? Doubtful.

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Anti-Outsourcing?

By Steven Taylor @ 9:23 am

Kodak eliminating nearly 900 jobs in England, France

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Pardon?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 am

Said Teresa Heinz Kerry:

“Every child in America will receive health care from day one if John is elected. Period.”

Hmm, unless Ms. Heinz Kerry is promsing to pay for it out of her pocket, I think that there is still a small set of issues that would need to be worked out before that can happen. Something to do with the Congress, methinks.

Source: Heinz Kerry assails Bush policies

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Strippers for Democracy

By Steven Taylor @ 6:52 am

Not to sound like an elitist, but if the only way to get you to register is to make a requirement before entering a “Gentlemen’s Club” I am not sure I want you voting: Strip Club’s Cover Charge Is Voter Registration Card

Emo’s, a downtown club, throbbed with the pounding sound of techno bass and drums on Sunday night. On a small stage a woman in pasties and fishnet stockings swung her body around a pole and then crawled across the floor as the crowd hollered.

Away from the stage, a less titillating scene was playing out. As customers walked into the club, they were asked to show a voter registration card. The unregistered were sat down and signed up.

The Austin event, Burlesque the Vote, was the brainchild of Audrey Maker, a local burlesque artist (Oh, so that’s what it’s called-Ed.] and activist, who brought together 14 strip acts, both amateurs and professionals, for an evening of erotica.

[…]

Ms. Spencer estimated that since May, 800 of the roughly 4,000 adult clubs in America have launched voter registration efforts, registering an average of 200 voters per club. Few adult clubs have engaged in voter drives in previous elections. [What!? They haven’t been doing their civic duty in elections past?-Ed.]

Not exactly Motor Voter, eh?

And see what happens when Clinton isn’t running?

Yet the dancers’ efforts are having trouble winning respect themselves. “We’re raising money and registering voters here,” said Ms. Maker, the organizer of the event. But it is hard to get political groups to accept the support, she said, “because they don’t want boobie money.”

A shame, no doubt.

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CBS/NYT Poll: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 5:39 am

Poll Finds Kerry Assured Voters in Initial Debate

Four weeks from Election Day, the presidential race is again a dead heat, with Mr. Bush having given up the gains he enjoyed for the last month after the Republican convention in New York, the poll found. In both a head-to-head matchup and a three-way race including Ralph Nader, the Republican and Democratic tickets each won the support of 47 percent of registered voters surveyed in the poll.

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Bremer on Troop Levels

By Steven Taylor @ 5:36 am

Ex-U.S. Governor of Iraq Criticizes Troop Levels

“We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness,” Paul Bremer said in a speech reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday. “We never had enough troops on the ground.”

[…]

In a statement e-mailed to the Washington Post late on Monday, Bremer stressed that he fully supports the Bush administration’s plan for training Iraqi security forces as well as its overall strategy for Iraq.

“I believe that we currently have sufficient troop levels in Iraq,” he said in the statement.

According to the newspaper, Bremer’s statement said all references in recent speeches to troop levels related to the situation when he arrived in Baghdad in May 2003 “and when I believed we needed either more coalition troops or Iraqi security forces to address the looting.”

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Monday, October 4, 2004
Things I Don’t Get

By Steven Taylor @ 5:24 pm

I don’t get how students manage to misspell my name on assignments that they turn in to me. It really isn’t an ego thing, I am just amazed that people don’t show a tad more attention to such a simple and straightforward detail.

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It’s 5 in the ABC News Poll as Well

By Steven Taylor @ 4:31 pm

ABCNEWS.com : Kerry Gaining but Bush Still in Lead

Still, Bush continues to lead, not only in favorability and enthusiasm but in the horse race overall: Fifty-one percent of likely voters in this poll support Bush, 46 percent Kerry and 1 percent Ralph Nader-essentially the same as before the debate. Among the broader group of all registered voters, it’s 50 percent to 45 percent to 2 percent.

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Pew Poll: Bush Ahead by 5

By Steven Taylor @ 4:29 pm

Says the Pew Poll:

By two-to-one, voters who watched the first presidential debate believe that John Kerry prevailed. But the widely viewed Sept. 30 showdown did not result in a sea change in opinions of the candidates. As a consequence, George W. Bush continues to have a much stronger personal image than his Democratic challenger, while voters express more confidence in Kerry on key domestic issues like the economy and health care.

Amongst likely voters, Pew has the number at 46-44-2 and 5 undecided.

Amongst registered voters the numbers are 48-41-2-9.

Hat tip: Dave Wissing.

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Funny, a Lot of Fans Say the Same Thing…

By Steven Taylor @ 4:23 pm

Brown blames himself for past OU defeats

“It’s really on me. It’s not about the players,” Brown said. “I’ve been the constant. I’m the one who has not done well in this game.”

While I am not part of the “Mack must go” crowd (I am not of the mind to fire a coach who has won 9 or more games six straight years) but I will say that I have not been impressed with the preparation for the OU game. And yes, this game is a must-win if Texas wants a shot at the national championship.

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We Be Bloggers

By Steven Taylor @ 4:05 pm

Not to pile on Paul (who is being satrical, btw) I agree with Michele, I like being a blogger.

While I think it is possible that bloggers might do actual reporting, we aren’t, collectively, primarily such-and even with blogs which end up doing actual reporting, my guess is that the actual amount of actual reporting that that site will do is pretty small.

And while Paul may have his tongue partially in his cheek, I have been blogging long enough to read many a self-important post about bloggers replacing the MSM-and that’s just plain silly.

Bloggers are analysts and commentators, pundits and public intellectual, court jesters and data miners, poligeeks and news junkies, diarists and exhbitionists, but on balance, reporters they are not.

Actaully, in true blogging fashion, Pual must be jazzed by the response to his post: he has gotten a ton of links, and no doubt has boosted Wizbang’s traffic for the day ;)

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Zogby Poll: Bush Still Leads (Barely)

By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

The post-debate Zogby poll shows the race to still be within the MOE after the debate: Bush 46, Kerry 45, Undecided 8 in a likely voter poll (that is -1 for Bush, +1 for Kerry and +1 for undecided from the mid-Sept poll).

In the threeway race, the numbers are essentially the same: the gap remains a 3-point gap, with Nader up a point over the mid-Sept. polls.

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Spinning “Global”

By Steven Taylor @ 1:21 pm

The The Cranky Professor notes that another Professor, Juan Cole, thinks that Kerry’s “global” test” didn’t mean “global” as in “worldwide” but “global” as in “universal” or “overall” (a spin I have heard others try to make).

Here’s the passage from Thursday night:

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Given that in the same sentence in whch Kerry used the phrase “pass the global test” he noted you need to be able to “prove to the world that you did it for legitmate reasons” it strikes me a rather difficult argument to make that Kerry didn’t mean “global” in the sense of “worldwide". Dr. Cole can consult the dictionary all he likes, but I think he is deluding himself.

Further, if Kerry simply meant “universal” or “comprehensive” he would have said so on Thursday in response to Bush saying “I don’t know what he means about a global test.” Indeed, Kerry could have impuned the President’s vocabularly at that point, scoring points with the faithful who like to think of Bush an illiterate chimp.

No, Kerry is dedicated to a mulilateral, internationalist approach to foreign policy-indeed, it has been an important part of his career, so the attacks on the “global test” statement are fair.

Update: In regards to Cole’s post, N.Z. Bear makes the following apt (and amusing) comment:

Not a good sign when one of your defenders has to spend an entire article explaining a single sentence.

A single word, actually..

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  • Judicious Asininity linked with Global Universe
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Poland Sets Withdrawal Date

By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 am

Polish troops to quit Iraq by end 2005: Kwasniewski

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Great Timing

By Steven Taylor @ 9:19 am

Bush to Sign Tax Bill in Iowa

President Bush is going to one of the most contested states to sign his fourth tax cut in four years.

The White House is holding the signing ceremony Monday at a YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa - a Democratic area of a state that Bush lost by a razor-thin margin in 2000. His Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, follows Bush into Iowa this week, appearing Tuesday in Tipton to discuss issues that concern middle-class Americans.

An estimated 94 million Americans will be affected by the tax relief, which keeps three middle-class tax breaks from expiring Jan. 1 and revives other tax incentives for businesses.

Not only is this an example of the advantage of incumbency, but the timing couldn’t be better-as this week is the week of the domstic politics debate. And while Kerry will still be able to beat up on the President on the top 1% issue-the cuts being made permanent in this package are aimed primarily at the middle and lower classes:

The tax package that Congress passed last month will:

- Keep the per-child tax credit at $1,000 for five years.

- Extend the broader 10 percent tax bracket for six years, helping cut taxes for virtually all taxpayers.

- Retain for four years a provision giving married couples relief from the so-called marriage penalty.

It seems to me that this should give Bush some serious ammunition in the debates.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Losing Luntz

By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

Howard Kurtz reports:

Pollster Frank Luntz is crying foul after MSNBC canceled his long-scheduled focus group two days before the debate. Luntz, who is under contract to MSNBC, had already spent $30,000 on recruits for several focus groups and invited reporters in Florida to watch - only to be told that the network didn’t want to declare a winner in the debate.

“I think they buckled to political pressure,” says Luntz, who has advised Republicans from Newt Gingrich to Rudy Giuliani but says he’s done no GOP work since 2001. “They caved. . . . Why is it that Democrats are allowed to do this” after leaving politics, “but Republicans aren’t?”

But MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines says: “We made a decision not to use focus groups as part of our debate coverage. This decision had nothing to do with Frank’s past work or politics. We think our viewers should be able to make up their own minds without ’scientific’ help” - despite the fact that the network has prominently featured Luntz and his on-air focus groups for four years.

Luntz has criticized President Bush on occasion, and his non-televised focus group, ironically, favored Kerry in the debate. Some NBC executives find him extremely fair but believe his longtime GOP links create a perception problem.

“For me, nothing is more important than getting it right,” Luntz says. He says MSNBC bowed to pressure from conservative-turned-liberal activist David Brock in dumping him and that the network hasn’t even agreed to use him as an analyst - sans focus groups - in this week’s debates.

Of course, the one part of the story that doesn’t make any sense, and makes one wonder what else is up, is that MSNBC still had a reporter (hername is escaping me, but she is a regular on Hardball, interviewing “undecideds” in a focus-groupy like segment. Why would they decide to drop an actual pollster with a professional focus group for a reporter chatting with some voters? Odd, to be sure.

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Gallup: It’s a Tie

By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 am

The latest USAToday/CNN/Gallup poll shows a 49-49 tie amongst likely voters. That is a +4 for Kerry and a -3 for Bush.

I wonderif MoveOn.org will take out an add decrying this poll as well ;)

What strikes me about all the post-convention polling is that they may be showing us that there are more swing voters than the conventional wisdom argues that there are. If we look at the Time, Newsweek and Gallup all showed Bush with a double-digit lead not that long ago, and are now showing ties again. This seems to indicate the possibility that there are sme voter who are swinging more easily and more widely than many thought.

It may also mean that these poll have questionable methodologies, but given that we have multiple polls that are moving around in a similar way, I am thinking that perhaps the former is more likely.

The internals still favor Bush-he leads on leadership and handling terrorism and handling Iraq. And a whopping combined 57% of the respondents site terrorism (30) and Iraq (27) as the most important issues in this election. Kerry does lead on handling the economy and “cares about people like me".

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Sunday, October 3, 2004
Emmitt Finds the Fontain of Youth

By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 pm

I must admit, I am one of those who has argued that Emmitt Smith should have retired two seasons ago after he broke the rushing record-and his first season in Arizona seemed to support that argument. However, he has been doing pretty well this season, and today was a stellar one for the legendary running back: not only did he rush for 127 yard, which gave him 77 100-yard games, which ties an NFL record, he became only the fifth back aged 35 or older to rush for 100 yards in a game. To top it all off he threw his first pass an NFL player, and it was for a TD.

Most impressive.

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  • bLogicus linked with Price of Gasoline - Bush's Fault?
Texas Tea

By Steven Taylor @ 10:37 am

Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture analyzes the current situation regarding oil demand-some very interesting stuff, including the rather important point that the main price pressure on oil prices is not problems in the Middle East, but rather massive demand by the Chinese.

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  • bLogicus linked with Price of Gasoline - Bush's Fault?
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133 Combined Points

By Steven Taylor @ 10:15 am

San Jose St. 70, Rice 63

In the highest-scoring regulation game in Division I-A history, Brian Nunez returned an interception 28 yards with 2:18 left for the last of 19 touchdowns in San Jose State’s 70-63 victory over Rice on Saturday night.

The Spartans (2-2, 1-1 Western Athletic) got 28 points and two key interceptions in the fourth quarter of an astonishing exhibition of big-play offense - and a whole lot of horrendous defense and special-teams play.

“This is one of the wildest things I’ve seen,'’ San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said. “The conventional rules of football did not apply. You had to score to win.'’

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  • NCAA College Football - Fanblogs.com linked with Points Record: San Jose St. 70, Rice 63
Change is Coming

By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 am

Changes in Store for Senate Leaders

Regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats win control of the Senate in November, the chamber will face significant changes in some of its most influential leadership and policy posts over the next two years.

A Democratic takeover would clearly produce the most far-reaching upheaval, extending from the post of majority leader through every committee and subcommittee chairmanship, and producing a dramatic shift in political priorities for the chamber.

But major changes will also occur if Republicans keep their current majority, starting in January with a wrenching game of musical chairs at several key committees, prompted by term limits that GOP senators imposed on themselves in the mid-1990s.

As I hammer home in my general studies American Government course, and especially in my course on the Congress, committees are key in Congress, as all legislation flows through committees-and the Chairs have remarkable power of the fate of those bills. So, regardless of the outcomes, the Senate will be a different place.

Kudos to the Republicans for sticking to their promise to term limit Chairs. Of course, the fact that Chairs often move from being the Chair of one committee to being Chair of another (e.g., Richard Shelby from Intelligence to Banking), so the new blood aspect of the term limits is lessened. Perhaps they ought to have to wait at least a year (or two years, i.e., a full Congress) before they can seek a new chair position.

GOP chairmanship changes are in store for the Appropriations, Judiciary, Commerce, Budget and possibly Intelligence committees, with ripple effects for the panels dealing with agriculture and with health and education policy. Democrats have no term limits, so, with some exceptions, Democratic chairmen would pick up where they left off when they lost control of the Senate to Republicans in the 2002 elections.

For Republicans, there will be additional chairmanship changes in 2006 and, even more important, a wholesale reshuffling of GOP leadership posts, prompted by the anticipated retirement of Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) and a domino effect on other jobs. Throughout the period, maneuvering is anticipated by GOP senators - including Sens. Rick Santorum (Pa.), John McCain (Ariz.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), George Allen (Va.) and Frist - all of whom appear to be interested in running for president in 2008.

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Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 am

In real estate they always say that the three most important things are location, location, location. When it comes to making a public presentation is preparation, preparation, preparation. And on this count, it seemed to me at the time that Bush did not adequately prepare, and the NYT confirms this suspicion:

Perhaps even more important than any particular answer was Mr. Kerry’s intense preparation for the rigorous rules of the debate.

While Mr. Bush’s advisers said the president spent much of this week in informal, conversational sessions simply tossing lines back and forth, Mr. Kerry practiced for hours with replicas
of the lights, developing four or five ways to sum up quickly. He also devoted much effort to the 30-second rebuttal the candidates could ask for.

I know from personal experience, whether it be giving a lecture in class, or presentation at a professional conference, that if I don’t do adequate preparation the odds that I will provide a lucid, well organized presentation, even if it is a topic I know intimately well, is greatly lessened. Bush missed opportunities and had not adequately anticipated Kerry’s responses—and all of that comes back to lack of adequate preparation.
And Kerry has provided something that, no doubt, will be emulated by future debaters:

Mr. Kerry, a competitive debater in high school and college, had been putting pen to pad in mock debate sessions with his staff for weeks. Not only did it help him avoid the fidgeting and face-making that became instant fodder for criticism of Mr. Bush, it forced him to stay focused. And, two-thirds of the way through the 90-minute exchange, it led him to jump on Mr. Bush’s justification for a pre-emptive strike on Iraq - “the enemy attacked us” - to point out that the architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was Osama bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein.
“He did that from the very first day of prep,” Joe Lockhart, the quarterback of Mr. Kerry’s strategy squad, said of the rapid writing of his boss. “It’s the way he stays engaged in the debate. One of the reasons the president may have missed some opportunities was he didn’t seem to be listening to John Kerry’s answers.”

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PoliColumn: Looking to the Senate Races

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 am

I have a new piece in today’s Mobile Register: Republicans are poised to win at least three of five Senate elections in Southern states next month

While the main focus of Campaign 2004 is the race for the White House, that isn’t the only office that will be on the ballot this coming Nov. 2. Indeed, of great significance are the congressional elections, and specifically the Senate races.

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Saturday, October 2, 2004
Cybersecurity Chief Quits

By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 pm

U.S. Cybersecurity Chief Abruptly Resigns

Amit Yoran, a former software executive from Symantec Corp., made his resignation effective Thursday as director of the National Cyber Security Division, giving a single’s day notice of his intention to leave. He kept the job one year.

Yoran has privately confided to industry colleagues his frustrations in recent months over what he considers the department’s lack of attention paid to computer security issues, according to lobbyists and others who recounted these conversations on condition they not be identified because the talks were personal.

[…]

As cybersecurity chief, Yoran and his division — with an $80 million budget and 60 employees — were responsible for carrying out dozens of recommendations in the Bush administration’s “National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace,” a set of proposals to better protect computer networks.

Yoran’s position as a director — at least bureaucratic three steps below Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge — has irritated the technology industry and even some lawmakers. They have pressed unsuccessfully in recent months to elevate Yoran’s role to that of an assistant secretary, which could mean broader authority and more money for programs.

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Kerry Up by 2 in Newsweek Poll

By Steven Taylor @ 7:41 pm

From the California Yankee we find that in the Newsweek Poll: Kerry Leads.: 47% to 45%.

This the poll that the Democrats were calling an outlier and with a flawed methodology a few weeks back, right ;) (this was one of the polls that showed Bush with an 11 point lead).

I would note: it is a registered voter poll, not a likely vote sample.

Regardless, Kerry picks up more momentum.

Stay tuned…

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  • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Newsweek Poll: Kerry Leads
Is LSU Toast?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:25 pm

The team this year sure isn’t the team from last year. First they lose to Auburn, and now they are losing badly to Georgia.

Now, granted, Auburn and Georgia are good teams, but there is no doubt that LSU has fallen several notches from their co-National Championship. The lack of a QB is certainly part of the reason.

They will probably fall out of the Top 25 after this.

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Hmm. Kerry Talking Points?

By Steven Taylor @ 4:16 pm

Ann Althouse notes the following:

On “The Daily Show” last night after the debate, Jon Stewart interviewed Wesley Clark, who was speaking from the spin room in Coral Gables. Stewart asked Clark whether he sensed “a certain disappointment” among Bush’s people. Clark came out with this:
Well, first of all the right-wing blogs apparently went nuts with disappointment about Bush’s performance early on in the debate. And now there’s all kinds of efforts to find ways in which John Kerry might have misstated something…
Was Clark reading blogs during the debate? Were Bush’s people monitoring blogs to try to figure out how to do their spin

What jumps out at me here is that this quite similar to what I heard Joe Trippi say on The Horserace! (aka, Hardball) [The “!” is a PoliBlog add-on, as it just seems implied by how excited the MSNBC folks are over the semi-name change-Ed.].

One begins to smell talking points here as 1) the mainstream press/politicos catch-on to the Blogosphere, and 2) the Democrats/liberals have felt as if the Blogosphere (like talk radio) has been overly rightish.

Indeed, via Lexis-Nexis, here’s what Trippi said last night:

What’s amazing, though, is the effect the debate actually had. I mean, on the Internet, blog after blog on the Kerry side of things is just on fire. I mean, you should see it, in the hundreds of thousands, millions of people, that are voting on the online polls since - including MSNBC - since the debate. And just sort of almost ambivalence on conservative blogs. In fact, InstaPundit, who comes from that side, said he didn’t see it that way, but his InstaWife thought George Bush won the debate handily. So you see this sort of more enthusiasm on the Democratic side, which was waning in recent days coming up to the debate.

Not quite the same, but it is interesting that the goal of the statement by both Clark and Trippi is to characterize conservative bloggers as down as a result of the debate, and therefore to use that as a picture of Bush supporters writ large.

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Success in Samarra?

By Steven Taylor @ 1:38 pm

U.S., Iraq Forces Claim Success in Samarra

U.S. and Iraqi forces battled pockets of resistance in Samarra on Saturday, shaking the city with sporadic gunfire as U.S. and Iraqi commanders claimed success in their two-day-old offensive to regain control of the Sunni insurgent stronghold.

The U.S. commander whose troops spearheaded the attack said 125 insurgents were killed and 88 captured in fighting since Friday in what appeared to be the first major push to wrest a string of cities from guerrillas’ hands before elections in January.

[…]

Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan claimed success, telling the Arab television station Al-Arabiya: “It is over in Samarra.”

Maj. Gen. John Batiste, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, said he was “very confident that the future of Samarra is good. This is great news for the people of Samarra, 200,000 people who have been held captive, hostage if you will, by just a couple of hundred thugs.”

May it be so.

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Quote of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 1:21 pm

“It is blindingly clear judges have no greater capacity than the rest of us to determine what is moral.” - Justice Antonin Scalia.

Indeed. They are there to interpet the law, not act as moral clarifiers.

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The Beheadings Continue

By Steven Taylor @ 10:38 am

Rusty Shackleford reports that yet another beheading claim and video has emerged-this time the victim was an Iraqi contractor working with US forces.

Here’s the Reuters story

The footage from the group, Ansar al-Sunna, showed a militant beheading the man, identified as Iraqi national Barea Nafea Dawoud Ibrahim.

The group said in a statement accompanying the video that Ibrahim was an “apostate” (a person who abandons their faith). It was dated Oct. 2.

“I have set up three telecommunications networks for the Iraqi National Guard. I have been working in Taji since June 2004,” a frightened-looking Ibrahim told the camera. He was wearing an access badge issued by the U.S. forces around his neck.

Two men later held him down and one proceeded to behead him, before placing his severed head on top of his body.

For those who see these groups of freedom fighters seeking to liberate the Iraqis people from occupation, I would suggest a re-assessment.

Update: Here’s a tad more from ABCNEWS.com

The statement from the Ansar al-Sunnah Army said it had killed Barie Nafie Dawoud Ibrahim, who was described as “one of the biggest contractors” who had worked on water, sewage and air conditioning projects at the Al-Taji base north of Baghdad.

The same group has claimed responsibility for the killing of 12 Nepalese workers. The militant’s Web site on Aug. 31 showed 11 of the hostages being shot and one beheaded.

The Saturday statement said that after interrogation Ibrahim had “confessed to all the work and projects he had carried out at al-Taji … after that the (holy fighters) executed God’s law by slaughtering him.”

Update: James Joyner has more news linkage.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Video: Iraqi Barea Nafea Dawoud Ibrahim Beheaded
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  • mypetjawa v. 2.0 (beta) linked with New Beheading Video Emerges
  • Diggers Realm linked with Iraqi Hostage Barie Nafie Dawoud Ibrahim Beheaded By Terrorists
To Split or not to Split and other Post-Debate Thoughts

By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 am

In reading/watching a good deal of the debate post mortem, there has been much discussion of the President’s facial expressions (such as here and a mini-montage here) and the split screen coverage of the debate. I watched the debate on MSNBC, and they did not use the split screen, while it is clear that Fox did. As an informal survey, I am curious: who watched the debate where and which nets used the split screen with regularity and which did not?

Clearly, in the absence of serious gaffes or great sound bites from either side, the facial expressions are becoming part of the post-debate focus. I don’t think that this will have the same sort of result as the Gore sighing/eye rolling did in 2000 because it doesn’t fit the established template on Bush the way the sighing fit Gore (e.g., Dan Quayle misspelling a word fit an existing template, while if Cheney misspelled one, who would care?). This is not to say that the issues is wholly unimportant, but rather to point out that it is unlikely to have the impact that Gore’s action had in 2000.

Indeed, while the events of Thursday are relevant to the election—they clearly gave Kerry a boost-I don’t think that this was a decisive event in this campaign cycle.

Update: Some reportage on the face issue here: Trail Tales: What’s That Face?.

Also, so far the split/not split issue in terms of coverage looks like this:

Fox: Split screen
CNN: Split screen
MSNBC: Not split screen (pool cameras?)

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May it be So

By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 am

Forecasters See Hurricane Season Easing

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Friday, October 1, 2004
Word Count

By Steven Taylor @ 7:30 pm

According to the semi-renamed Hardball (they are calling it Hardball: Horserace with an emphasis on the Horserace), they provide the following breakdown of words used per candidate last night:

Kerry

  • “Judgment” (6)
  • “Alliance” (8)
  • “Plan” (20)

Bush

  • “Strong” (13)
  • “Mixed Messages/Signals” (9)
  • “Free/Freedom” (37)
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Normalcy Interrupted

By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 pm

Well, among the words you don’t want to hear from your wife when you asnwer the phone is “there’s been an accident.” Yet, there they were around 11:40 this morning. A seventy year-old man decided that he wanted to make a left turn from the middle lane, and unfortunately, my wife was driving in the left lane. Thankfully, while the brand new Toyota Sienna is quite munched, no one was hurt. My four year-old complained of a headache, and the medics recommended a trip to the ER. It took ove four hours, but we confirmed that he was fine (the bouncing about the waiting room indicated as much, but one wants to be sure).

Anyway, we are all home (all but the van, of course), quite tired, and most thankful that no one was hurt.

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The One Lingering Bite?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:23 am

I noted last night that Bush scored a point on the “global test” response, although James Joyner is correct, had he not stumbled in the response, he would have scored even more. At this point, this may be the one sound bite that may emerge as one we see over and over and that does starkly delimit the candidates.

Joyner’s post (which has an extensive round-up of the punditry on the debate) points to this entry by David Corn which correctly highlights exchange in question:

When Kerry said that if an American president wants to launch a preemptive strike, “you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people fully understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons,” Bush saw an opening. “I’m not exactly sure,” he said, “what you mean, ‘passes the global test,’ you take preemptive action, you pass a global test. My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to make this country secure.” Expect to see a Bush ad soon in which Kerry is mocked for believing the United States must “pass a test” before taking action to defend itself.

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  • The Galvin Opinion linked with DEBATE RECAP: KERRY DIDN'T GET NEEDED KNOCKOUT
Instant Polls

By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 am

Here they are, Kerry Wins First Debate Against Bush, Three Polls Say:

Fifty-three percent of the 613 registered voters who watched the 90-minute debate said Kerry did better, according to a poll by Gallup for CNN and USA Today. Thirty-seven percent backed Bush. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The ABC poll of 531 registered voters found 45 percent said Kerry “won,'’ against 36 percent for Bush. The incumbent had support from 50 percent of those viewers before the debate and 51 percent after. Kerry was supported by 46 percent before the event and 47 percent afterward.

CBS’s survey, conducted via the Internet, found that 43 percent of 200 uncommitted voters who watched said Kerry won, 28 percent said Bush was the winner and 29 percent said they tied. CBS said the survey was among voters who indicated they are undecided or who said they might change their mind. The margin of error is plus or minus 7 percentage points, CBS said.

Interesting that in the ABC poll, Kerry won hands down, but his actual numbers didn’t actually move.

I am dubious of these instant internet polls of undecideds, however.

Still, Kerry will be declared the winner-that seems to be the shaping concensus, but I am not sure that it will make a big difference in the polls the way Bush’s win in 2000 over Gore did.

Hat tip: The World Around You.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Bush-Kerry Debate I: The Morning After
  • Mark the Pundit linked with Disheartening News for Democrats
Rounding-Up the Debate

By Steven Taylor @ 6:22 am

Stephen Bainbridge has a lengthy list of Blogospheric reactions.

Joe Gandelman has the omni-round-up of round-ups.

Blogicus has news and Blogospheric info.

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