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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
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Talks Break Down in Ukraine

By Steven Taylor @ 4:27 pm

Via Reuters: Ukraine Opposition Pulls Out of Talks

Ukraine’s opposition, whose insistence that it was cheated out of victory in a presidential election has brought thousands onto the streets, on Tuesday rejected talks in favor of “people power.”

Its withdrawal from negotiations crushed earlier optimism that the outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, might back a re-run to end the standoff over the election of his protege, prime minister Viktor Yanukovich.

International mediators headed back to Kiev for talks on Wednesday - the day when parliament and the Supreme Court could hand down their own verdicts on the dispute.

“The authorities, Kuchma and Yanukovich, used the talks to cheat,” opposition leader Taras Stetskyv told thousands of supporters of the losing presidential candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, in central Kiev.

“That is why the (opposition) Committee for National Salvation has decided to pull out of the talks. We are stopping talks with the authorities. We will talk with them only from the position of people power.”

Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

3q GDP Figures Revised Upward

By Steven Taylor @ 12:49 pm

Via Reuters: Consumers Fuel Faster Economic Growth

Robust consumer spending on cars, furniture and food in the third quarter helped the U.S. economy advance more quickly than first thought, a government report showed on Tuesday, while underlying inflation was the tamest in decades.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product, the measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders, grew at a 3.9 percent annual pace in the three months from July through September, up from 3.7 percent estimated a month ago.

Another report from the Conference Board highlighted the potential for softer growth in 2005, however, as its gauge of consumer confidence slipped to an eight-month low 90.5 in November from 92.9 in October.


Filed under: US Politics: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
  • Wizbang linked with George Bush - Plus Jobs (Almost)
And Another One’s Gone, and Another One’s Gone…

By Steven Taylor @ 12:40 pm

…another one bites the dust!

Ridge Resigns Homeland Post.

Not a real surprise, actually.

This will be a potentially interesting slot to fill. Among the more intriguing possibilities: Rudy Giuliani and Joe Lieberman (not that I expect either one to get the job).

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  • Diggers Realm linked with Good Riddance Tom Ridge
Line of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 10:34 am


“…the problem for Democrats is not Mr. Rove; it’s that they’re doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. That’s the definition of insanity.” - Joe Trippi in the WSJ.

I firmly believe that the Democratic Party failed to learn the lessons of 2002 and looks poised to fail the test again this year.

Trippi’s analysis is pretty good, although some of it is self-serving (congratulating Dean and the interent). Although I think he is correct here:

it was the risk-taking Dean campaign that forced the risk-averse Kerry campaign to opt out of the public financing system. Had that decision not been forced on Mr. Kerry, he would have been badly outspent by George Bush; he would not have been competitive at all throughout the long summer of 2004.

Still, the treatment of the internet as a magic money machine strikes me as an oversimplification. The internet doesn’t, per se, tap into new money. Rather it simply makes the making of small donations substantially easier. However, in any analysis of the situation one has to remember that the structural conditions set by BCRA encouraged smaller donations for the 2004 cycle than in the 2000 cycle. To ignore that fact and conflate it into just the internet is to miss part of the picture.

Also, Trippi is self-serving here (as part of the Dean stratgey was youth):

Mr. Kerry’s lead among young voters hid just how bad Election Day really was for Democrats. In 2000, voters between 18 and 29 split their votes evenly: nine million each for Mr. Bush and Al Gore. But in 2004, two million more voters in this age group turned out to vote. And while Mr. Bush won the same nine million, 11 million voted for Mr. Kerry. But when we set aside his two million new younger voters, the true disaster is revealed. In 2000, Mr. Gore and Ralph Nader won a combined total of 54 million votes. This year Mr. Kerry and Mr. Nader got 53 million (ignoring the two million new young voters).

You cannot play the ceteris paribus game and just take out those voters to prove Kerry’s weakness and simultanesouly underscore young voters. That is poor analysis.

And I question this, as it appears he is forgetting that the only two-term Democratic President since FDR was part of this movement:

Since the Democratic Leadership Council, with its mantra of “moderate, moderate, moderate,” took hold in D.C., the party has been in decline at just about every level of government. Forget the Kerry loss. Today the number of Democrats in the House is the lowest it’s been since 1948. Democrats are on the brink of becoming a permanent minority party. Can the oldest democratic institution on earth wake from its stupor?

Part of the reason that the Democrats have lost ground in DC is the shift of conservative Democrats to the GOP. It isn’t because the Dems have been too moderate.

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  • The Astute Blogger - a "no nuance zone" hosted by reliapundit linked with TRIPPI OFF BASE
Dweezil is on the Phone…

By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 am

Via WaPo comes this question: And What Name Will Phinnaeus Have for Mommy?

Congratulations, Julia Roberts, and you, too, Mr. Julia Roberts, on the birth of your twins, little Hazel and Phinnaeus. But our joy over your Blessed Event is tempered by a couple of questions. To wit:

Hazel? And, more important, Phinnaeus?

Hazel, to me, conjures images of Shirley Booth. Although it is my Grandmother’s first name-note, however, that my grandmother has chosen to go by her middle name her entire life…

And no kidding on Phinneas.

It does seem that many celebs are so addicted to getting attention that they feel the need to use their children as a “look at me moment":

The list keeps growing. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis are the parents of Rumer Glenn, Scout LaRue and Tallulah Belle. Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay singer Chris Martin recently begat Apple. Sylvester Stallone sired Sage Moonblood and Sistine Rose. Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette are the proud parents of Coco. Singer Erykah Badu - herself on the celebrity all-name team - has a child named Puma. John Travolta and Kelly Preston named their boy Jett. Christie Brinkley’s youngest is a girl named Sailor. The late rock star Michael Hutchence named his daughter Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. Long-ago rock star Bob Geldof calls daughter Fifi Trixabelle to dinner. Soccer star David Beckham and Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams’s brood includes Brooklyn, Romeo and a soon-to-be wee one who reportedly may be dubbed San Miguel. Supermodel Claudia Schiffer has a girl named Clementine, as does Cybill Shepherd. Rob Morrow, of “Northern Exposure” quasi-fame, dubbed his baby Tu, as in Tu Morrow.

Beats “Adolph Hitler” at least…

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We are all Doomed

By Steven Taylor @ 7:11 am

Asia Faces Living Nightmare from Climate Change

The weather predictions for Asia in 2050 read like a script from a doomsday movie.

Except many climatologists and green groups fear they will come true unless there is a concerted global effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

In the decades to come, Asia - home to more than half the world’s 6.3 billion people - will lurch from one climate extreme to another, with impoverished farmers battling droughts, floods, disease, food shortages and rising sea levels.

Not to be cliche: but since we can’t effectively predict the weather for next week, it seems to me that any predictions about 46 years from now should be taken with a grain of salt.

Don’t we go through this all the time, i.e., doomsday predictions about the world of several decades in the future? It’s like Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968) in which by the 1990s we were all supposed to be dying from vast famines.

I am not saying that this type of issue should be dismissed, but find such hyberbolic predictions to be rather questionable. Further, the article itself represents poor reasoning, as it cites recent extreme weather events without putting them into context (i.e., long-term comparable trends).

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  • The Politicker linked with Apparently People Haven't Been Paying Attention
Has Anyone Told These Teams that He is Getting Old?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:50 am

Mets Top Red Sox in Offer to Martínez

In making a run at Martínez, the Mets are among the first teams to put their cash on the table for a premium player. The Red Sox have offered Martínez a two-year guaranteed contract worth $25.5 million with an easily attainable third-year option. The Mets countered late Sunday with a three-year guaranteed contract worth approximately $38 million with a vesting option for a fourth year. Neither the Mets nor Martínez’s agent Fernando Cuza would confirm or deny the offer.

Granted, 33 is hardly geezerville, and The Rocket is an Old Man and all, but Pedro seems to be slipping and that is an awful lot of money. Meguesses someone is going to pay a lot and then be quite dissappointed.

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Isn’t that Nice of Him?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

Putin to Respect New Ukraine Election (Reuters)

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Monday, November 29, 2004
They Hates Me, They Hates Me Not…

By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 pm

Via WaTi/UPI: Colombia now denies plot to kill Bush

A Colombian official has rescinded earlier reports a Marxist rebel group wanted to kill President George W. Bush during his stop in Colombia last week.

Following Bush’s one-day visit with President Alvaro Uribe in Colombia, the nation’s defense minister, Jorge Uribe (no relation to the president), said the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia had planned to assassinate the American leader.

But Colombian Interior and Justice Minister Sabas Pretelt said Monday there was no evidence supporting Uribe’s claim.

You hate it when Marxist guerrilla can’t make up their minds…

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Movement Towards New Vote in Ukraine

By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 pm

Via Reuters: Ukraine President Bows to Pressure, Backs New Vote

“If we really want to preserve peace and consensus and build this just democratic society, of which we speak so much but have failed to carry out in a legal way, let us have new elections,” Kuchma said in a statement.

Kuchma signaled a shift in his position away from backing his ally, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, as the official winner of the Nov. 21 poll, as the Supreme Court sat to try to resolve the election stalemate.

His comments marked a concession to liberal presidential challenger Viktor Yushchenko whom he has attacked for bringing tens of thousands of supporters out on to the streets with his charges that he was cheated out of the election by mass fraud.

Kuchma said he himself would not run in any new poll. By referring to a new poll, it suggested that Kuchma wanted a completely fresh set of elections and not simply another run-off between Yanukovich and Yushchenko.

Yushchenko says he wants a repeat only of the second round run-off, which Yanukovich officially won.

That might be a good compromise: a whole new vote rather than just a new second round.

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The Supremes Won’t Get Involved in Mass. Gay Marriage Issue

By Steven Taylor @ 1:03 pm

Via the AP: Court Declines to Hear Gay Marriage Case

The Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped a dispute over gay marriages, rejecting a challenge to the nation’s only law sanctioning such unions.

Justices had been asked by conservative groups to overturn the year-old decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. They declined, without comment.

Not surprising. While there are clearly federal implications for what Massachusetts has done, I am not sure what the federal constitutional question would be in this specific case.

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  • Read My Lips linked with Nov. 29, 2004
Get Your Tickets Now

By Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

Edwards to End Term With Farewell Tour.

Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
A Sign We May Have Too Much Money

By Steven Taylor @ 12:19 pm

‘Ringback’ Tones May Be Next Big Thing.

OTOH, it is kinda cool (not that I’d pay for it).

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Bush Nominates Gutierrez for Commerce

By Steven Taylor @ 11:30 am

Bush Names Kellogg CEO as Commerce Secretary

President Bush on Monday chose Carlos Gutierrez, a native of Cuba and now the chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., to be secretary of Commerce.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gutierrez would succeed Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a Texas confidant of Bush’s, who announced his resignation shortly after the Nov. 2 election. The president announced the choice of Gutierrez, 51, at the White House, calling him “a visionary executive” and “one of America’s most respected business leaders.”

Gutierrez, whose family fled Cuba in 1960 when he was 6, joined Kellogg in 1975. Known for having a strong work ethic and a seemingly endless stream of ideas, he worked all over the world for the company before being promoted to president and chief operating officer in June 1998.

At some point those who criticize such GOP appointments as nothing more than symbolic are going to have to admit that Republicans aren’t racists. I have not yet looked to confirm the following, but I am certain that Bush has had the most diverse cabinet, both gender-wise and racially, of all time.

I also think that the high percentage of hispanics in his administration is a direct result of his Texas roots where the integration of those of anglo and hispanic backgrounds is widespread and deep.

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Another View of the Holiday Shopping Season

By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

Via WaPo: Holiday Shoppers Off to a Fast Start

Holiday shoppers spent 10 percent more Friday than they did a year ago, according to early reports, but Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dampened hopes for a strong start to the key retail season by slashing its November sales forecast by more than half.

Consumers spent about $8 billion at the nation’s malls and stores the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, compared with $7.3 billion a year ago, according to the industry research firm ShopperTrak.

Sounds pretty good to me. Indeed, the gloomy coverage all seems based solely on Wal*Mart.

The funny thing is that the last several years the record spending at discount stores like Wal*Mart have been seen as confirming weakness in the economy because it showed how people aren’t able to shop at more expensive stores.

Regardless, I am alwasy fascinated and often annoyed at the way the holiday shopping season is covered. Not only is there the ongoing attempt at reading the tea leaves but also the fact that usually the issue is one of expectations, rather than making cold, hard comparisons with year’s past.

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Let’s Just Re-Count Miami/Dade and Palm Beach Counties…

By Steven Taylor @ 11:22 am

Via Reuters: Ukraine’s PM Agrees to New Vote in Two Regions

“If there is proof of cheating, that something illegal occurred there and if there is no doubt among experts, I will agree with such a decision,” he said in televised comments, referring to two regions in his native eastern Ukraine.

Still, it is a start.

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Don’t We Go Through this Every Year?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 am

Mixed Start to Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday shopping season began with a solid show of spending on Friday, but consumers faded by the weekend’s close and many retailers were facing decent but hardly impressive sales.

Big chains including J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. were pleased with their sales. But Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was less fortunate — the industry leader said its sales in the seven days that ended Friday were disappointing, and the company lowered its sales forecasts for November.

“Friday overall was strong, but Saturday was weak and disappointing, so together it was only a modest two-day performance,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at International Council of Shopping Centers. “Still, I continue to believe that this is not a bellwether for how the season will end up.”

There’s always hype, then the stories about how the weekend didn’t meet expectations, and so forth. And the headlines are almost always more negative than the stories themselves.

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Shaking up the Econ Team

By Steven Taylor @ 6:57 am

Via WaPo: Bush to Change Economic Team

President Bush plans to overhaul his economic team for the second time in two years and wants to tap some prominent replacements from outside the administration to help sell rewrites of Social Security and the tax laws to Congress and the country, White House aides and advisers said over the weekend.

Aides said changing four of the five top economic officials - including the Treasury and Commerce secretaries, with only budget director Joshua B. Bolten likely to remain - is part of Bush’s preparation for sending Congress an ambitious second-term domestic agenda.

What? No “consolidating of power” by appointing “yes men"-amazing!

Too funny:

One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long. He might stay as long as six months into the term, officials said.

And as far as replacements go:

Friends say Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. is one possibility to replace him. Bolten also could move over.

But Republican officials said Bush is also considering well-known officials from outside, including New York Gov. George E. Pataki ®. Conservatives are pushing for former senator Phil Gramm, a Republican from Texas.

Also under consideration is John J. Mack, who stepped down in June as co-chief executive of Credit Suisse Group. Mack has also been considered to lead a bipartisan commission on changing the tax system that Bush will appoint to develop recommendations for the Treasury secretary.


A possible replacement for Friedman is Tim Adams, who was policy director of the reelection campaign and was chief of staff to Snow and his predecessor, Paul H. O’Neill. But officials said Adams is more likely to become the deputy chief of staff for policy - a job that came open when Harriet Miers, who currently holds the job, was named White House counsel.

Another possible Friedman replacement is Samuel W. Bodman, the deputy Treasury secretary, who has indicated he wants to leave that job. Adams could also succeed Bodman, officials said.

For Mankiw’s slot, the White House has courted Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor James Poterba, an expert on Social Security and taxes.

And in re: the Friedman exit:

Friends said Friedman announced last week that he was leaving because it became clear to him that he would not be named Treasury secretary.

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Ukrainian Supremes Hear Election Case

By Steven Taylor @ 6:49 am

Via Reuters: Ukraine Supreme Court Meets on Election Crisis

Legal experts said the Supreme Court was unlikely to be able to satisfy either side in the bitter dispute over whether Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich won the Nov. 21 presidential election by fraud, as alleged by his opponent Viktor Yushchenko.


The court, Ukraine’s highest legal body, consists of about 100 judges. Some 21 will sit for this case, their names kept secret until the last minute to guard against pressure on them.

About 100 judges, lawyers and reporters squeezed into a small courtroom in the center of the capital, near parliament.

Modern Ukraine does not have a tradition of an independent judiciary but Supreme Court judges have in the past been prepared to rule against the authorities.

And this is always fun:

The election has underscored the divide between western and eastern Ukraine, rooted in differences in history and language.

More of the legacy of Russian/Soviet imperialism, it would seem.

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Sunday, November 28, 2004
A B5 Movie

By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 pm

I was poking around the Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5 (a site I frequented when the show was in production, but that I haven’t visited much lately) to discover that a B5 feature film is in the early stages of development. The info on B5: The Memory of Shadows is here.

The last update is from August.

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Stem Cell Success?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 pm

Via the AFP Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.


Though they cautioned that more research was needed and verification from international experts was required, the South Korean researchers said Hwang’s case could signal a leap forward in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

The use of stem cells from cord blood could also point to a way to side-step the ethical dispute over the controversial use of embryos in embryonic stem-cell research.

This is, of course, wonderful news both for the woman in question and for humanity writ large, assuming it is true (I am always skeptical about things that are too good to be true until there is verification).

It also is great news because it demonstrates that it may not be necessary at all to create embryos to destroy to engage in this research.

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Ukrainian Crisis Intensifies

By Steven Taylor @ 6:57 pm

Via the AP: Ukraine Opposition Urges PM’s Ouster

The crisis over Ukraine’s disputed presidential election intensified Sunday, as a key eastern province called a referendum on autonomy and the opposition demanded the current president fire his prime minister, the official winner of last week’s vote that has bitterly divided this former Soviet republic.


Supporters of Yanukovych struck back from Donetsk, his native region and power base. The regional legislature voted 164-1 to hold a Dec. 5 referendum on autonomy for the province. About 30,000 demonstrators, who gathered outside regional legislature in the city of Donetsk, shouted pro-Yanukovych slogans.

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Retirement Age for Justices?

By Steven Taylor @ 4:47 pm

Via the AP: Poll: Most Oppose High Court Life Tenure

Six in 10 Americans say there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices, according to an Associated Press poll.


The appointment of justices without term limits or a mandatory retirement age historically has helped to insulate the court from politics, said Dennis Hutchinson, a Supreme Court expert from the University of Chicago Law School. At the same time, that can have the unintended consequence of letting some justices serve beyond their most effective years.

It doesn’t surprise me that this has support. However, I don’t see it happening and really don’t see the need.

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The Drug War in Britain

By Steven Taylor @ 3:47 pm

Not all that different than in the US: Cheaper, easier to get, harder to police: Britain’s drug problem.

The bottom continues to be: despite substantial international efforts at interdiction, supply continues unabated and prices remain low.

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WaPo on Alabama

By Steven Taylor @ 3:09 pm

The following story from WaPo, Alabama Vote Opens Old Racial Wounds, pretty much hits the nail on the head in regards to the defeatof Amendment 2:

It matters not at all to Killings and her friends that the amendment’s opponents say they want to remove the segregated-schools portion of the constitution but cannot abide by guaranteeing a public education and fear mandates for higher education taxes. The people who are most affected by poorly funded schools are the same people who were affected in another era by poll taxes: poor blacks and poor whites.


The state constitution, which most historians agree was written to protect large landowners and to disenfranchise blacks, is so riddled with antiquated wording that some high school students in Birmingham make an annual trip to the city library for a project known as the search for “the loony laws.”

Yet the constitution, with its racist past and its racist present, only grows. On Nov. 2, it was amended three times - numbers 743, 744 and 745.

The whole thing is an utter mess, yet so many in this state don’t see it. It is most frustrating, to say the least-not to mention rather sad.

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Juxtaposed Headlines

By Steven Taylor @ 2:44 pm

Via the AP: Poker’s Popularity Grows Among Teens.


Also via the AP: Interest in Chess Rising Among U.S. Kids.

Methinks the latter is more heartening.

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No Minute Rice

By Steven Taylor @ 2:43 pm

Via Reuters: White House Nixed Early Hearing on Rice Nomination

At the urging of the White House, a key Senate panel put off consideration of the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to be secretary of state, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Sunday.

Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, said he had suggested “a very early time” for his committee to take up the nomination, which must be approved afterward by the full U.S. Senate.

“The White House suggested that that would not be appropriate - that is, in December,” Lugar said on “Fox News Sunday.” “So we’ll not be having hearings in December. But we’ll have hearings as soon as possible in January.”

It seems that the normal course of action is to wait until the new Congress is sworn in. I am not sure why December hearing would be needed.

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“Is that a Titleist?”

By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

Via ESPN: Best ‘Seinfeld’ sports moments.

Two that should’ve at least made the “honorable mention” list:

  • George convinces the Yankees to go to cotton unis-which eventually shrink.
  • The time Steinbrenner trades George to Tyson chicken in exchange for Tyson converting all of Yankee Stadium’s concession to chicken-based products, including a fermented chicken drink for beer.
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What a Relief!

By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

Via the AP: Review Finds Fla. Counties Voted for Bush

A newspaper’s review of ballots cast in three north Florida counties where registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans showed just what officials reported: The counties’ voters did on Election Day as they often do, voting for a Republican for president.

The Miami Herald review goes against Internet-fed rumors questioning whether there was a conspiracy against Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) in those counties.

Kerry won in much of South Florida, where voters vote on touch-screen machines that can’t be checked.

Reporters for the newspaper went over more than 17,000 optical scan ballots cast in three rural counties mentioned by doubters: Suwannee, Lafayette and Union. All three are overwhelmingly Democratic in registration, but chose President Bush.,


In Union County, where more than 75 percent of voters register as Democrats, The Herald counted 3,393 votes for Bush, 1,272 for Kerry and 15 that couldn’t clearly be counted. The official Union County total: 3,396 for Bush, 1,251 for Kerry and a few dozen that couldn’t be counted.


The Herald counted just under 60 percent of the votes in Suwannee County, where nearly 64 percent of the voters are registered Democrats. The newspaper’s total from those precincts essentially matched the county’s official total: 6,140 votes for Bush and 2,984 for Kerry.

In Lafayette County, 83 percent of voters are registered Democrats. But it too, is heavily conservative and deeply religious. There, the paper found 2,452 votes for Bush and 848 for Kerry, with 20 that couldn’t be clearly counted.

Of course, one doubts this will satisfy the conspiracy-minded.

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Stupid Announcer Tricks

By Steven Taylor @ 1:23 pm

Via the Austin American-Statesman: Is 26-13 enough for poll vault?

we could’ve done without the long and empty interviews with Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville, Utah’s Urban Meyer and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. Football coaches have learned to spin, saying nothing of real weight, when the national TV cameras are on; networks should realize that we’d rather concentrate on the game than listen to these politicians in visors.

No joke-especially when they are over the phone. In general I hate it whenever they do anything from the booth that causes the announcers to stop calling the game.

But really, a bunch of phone interviews with coaches who say nothing anyway is booooring.

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By Steven Taylor @ 12:13 pm

It is back up (I was getting an error a few hours back just trying to get to the site).

However, in looking at the list, I wonder if the problem isn’t that it appears that a lot of non-egit “blogs” are using the update list as nothing more than adverts for porn sites. In ye olden days of blogging (last year), the list was all basically “normal” blogs. Now, as one looks at the list, there are a number of, shall we say, oddities.

I wonder if all of that type of stuff is overloading the system?

(granted, it isn’t even a majority of the list, but there are a goodly number…)

The QB Who Wouldn’t Go Away

By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

Vai the DMN: Bears Intend to Sign QB George:

Struggling desperately at quarterback, the Chicago Bears intend to sign veteran Jeff George, a team source said Saturday night.

The Bears will sign George on Monday, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The 36-year-old George is a 12-year veteran who has not played since he was released by the Washington Redskins in 2001.

You know you’re in trouble when…

And how far has Tim Couch fallen?

Earlier this season, the Bears gave a tryout to former Browns and Packers quarterback Tim Couch before deciding not to sign him.

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WP Trackback Problem Solved

By Steven Taylor @ 11:24 am

The problem was with the fact that appears to be down (for good?) and is not accepting pings. As a result, other pings (including trackbacks) weren’t going out while WordPress hung up on the ping to

Thanks to Kathy Kinsley for pointing that out to me (and commenter Lisa who noted that such pings might be the problem).

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The “Second Term Curse” and Historical Analogies

By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 am

The Chris Matthews’ Show today raised the whole “Second Term Curse” business, i.e., Nixon and Watergate, Reagan and Iran-Contra and Clinton and Lewinsky (they also threw in FDR’s court packing attempt). First off, the inlcusion of FDR is a lame attempt to increase the pool. Second, N=3 is hardly a serious sample. Third, Iran Contra isn’t even of the same magniftude as either Watergate or Monica, because Watergate led to a resignation and Monica to an impeachment. Regardless of how one views Iran-Contra, it does not have the historical impact of the other two cases (just think how little it was discussed when Reagan died and ask yourself if Monica and impeachment while be similarly ignored when Clinton passes).

Bottom line: those in the press are lazy and too frequently think that historical analogies are the same thing as thoughtful analysis. They aren’t. This is especially true with small sample sizes (like three).

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Ukraine: More Dangerous Than I Realized

By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 am

Via Reuters: Talks Going Badly as Ukraine Seethes with Rallies

The crisis has dramatized a longstanding divide between Ukraine’s nationalist west, supporting Yushchenko, and the industrial Russian-speaking east solidly behind the premier.

Being as I am not an expert on Ukraine, I was unaware of that there was a regional element to this vote and conflict. Having such an element increases the chances of serious civil conflict if this mattter cannot be resolved.

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Saturday, November 27, 2004
More High Praise for “Alexander”

By Steven Taylor @ 8:43 pm

Via the NYT

Certainly it’s brought out the worst in terms of the puerile writing, confused plotting, shockingly off-note performances and storytelling that lacks either of the two necessary ingredients for films of this type, pop or gravitas.

I smell Oscar!!

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The Big XII North Sucks

By Steven Taylor @ 4:06 pm

‘nuf said.

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More BCS Nonsense

By Steven Taylor @ 4:02 pm

Who was the genius commenter (this post) who thought Boston College was deserving of a BCS Bowl? Well: Syracuse 43, Boston Coll. 17.

Ok, so now Syracuse, an unranked team has a guaranteed berth in a major Bowl, and Texas (5th in the nation) doesn’t? I mean, gee whiz, Syracuse is 6-5 and Texas’ only loss is to the #2 team in the nation.

What a screwball system.

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FYI: 2004 Weblog Awards

By Steven Taylor @ 2:33 pm

Nomination are still open, but will soon be closed.

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An Example of Sheer Genius

By Steven Taylor @ 1:48 pm

Yup: firing Solich and hiring Callahan was a stroke of genius: Bowl streak over as Huskers finish 5-6.

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Alexander: Not So Great

By Steven Taylor @ 12:13 pm

(Or so say the reviews).

Via Reuters: Critics Blast ‘Alexander’ But Novelist Defends It

While critics savaged Oliver Stone’s long-waited epic “Alexander,” novelist and social activist Gore Vidal rallied to the $160 million movie’s defense saying it was “barrier-breaking” because of its frank depiction of bisexuality.

Stone’s film opened on Wednesday to near universal pans from critics who called it everything from a “noble failure” to an “indifferent epic.”

The Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer said the movie was “an act of hubris so huge, that, in Alexander’s time, it would draw lightning bolts from contemptuous gods.”

Vidal said the critics failed to see it was a seminal movie because of its treatment of Alexander’s bisexuality.

The fact that the predominant discussion about this movie is the bisxexual nature of Alexander the Great is a clear indication that the movie is a failure. I say this not because of any issue of bisexuality: it is no shock that a Greek/Macedonian of the day would have engaged in homosexual acts-gee whiz, read Plato. For that matter, there is historical evidence to suggest that Alexander and Hephaistion were more than friends.

To which I say: big deal.

However, if one makes a movie about one of the greatest military geniuses of all time, a man who conquered the known world, and so forth and the main thing that everyone notices about the film is the bisexuality issue (which is not central according to Ebert’s review), then one would think that Stone missed the boat.

This would be true if the main thing that the critics were talking about was Alexaner’s marriage to Roxanne.

The man conquered the entire Persian Empire, for crying out loud: his sex life isn’t the most interesting part of his life, no matter how allegedly interesting it may have been.

Further, between comments I have heard from Stone, and now these from Vidal, it seems that there is a political undercurrent here to promote the idea that we should extol bisexuality, with Alexander as a vehicle for that message:

The film, based on historical accounts, deals matter-of-factly with the ancient Macedonian king’s affairs with both men and women - an issue many in Hollywood predicted would harm its box office chances.

In an interview with Reuters, Vidal said the film was “a breakthrough in what you can make films about. Movies are always the last to register changes in society and this movie does it.”

Vidal’s novels and plays, including the hit drama “The Best Man,” often deal with once taboo gay themes. He said American filmmakers had thrown up a wall against showing bisexuality out of fear of alienating the public.

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  • Hennessy\’s View linked with Alexander
Clift on Dean to the DNC

By Steven Taylor @ 11:18 am

I have always questioned Elanor Clift’s politcal acumen (indeed, have wondered for years how she rose to her lofty levels of punditry). She confirms my opinion in this piece: Can Howard Dean Save the Democrats?.

First off, let me answer the question: no, he can’t.

Nevertheless, she writes:

Dean gave hope to Democrats around the country with his maverick campaign. It was shock therapy, and Democrats need more of it.

Further, her characterization of Dean as “essentially a New Democrat who happened to be against the war” is way off the mark. Has she forgotten Dean’s outright rejection of the DLC approach to the party? He has spoken of late of going more to the left, not the center. This is hardly the stuff of a “New Democrat". What does she think that line about representing the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” was all about?

Dean has a profound image problem and that isn’t what the Democrats need. Indeed, with Reid as the new Minority Leader, the Democrats need a dynamic and likable DNC Chair (for while Reid may be likable, he is hardly dynamic and conversely, Dean is dynamic but not that likable).

Her entire analysis utterly discounts Dean’s primary performance, i.e., the one in which he ran an initially surging campaign that ended not with a bang, but with a whimper (although there was a scream in there, to be sure). It is like much of the analysis of Edwards-many treated him like he was fabulously popular, yet the empirical evidence demonstrated that he wasn’t (he lost badly in the primaries and couldn’t even win re-election for his Senate seat). In both cases it is obvious that many in the press/punditocracy like these guys, but instead of looking at the situation objectively, they project their affection on to the population at large.

Of course, I have considered Ms. Clift an angry pundit for years, so perhaps it is that quality in Dean that she admires or perhaps doesn’t see it.

I do, however, agree with this:

John Kerry’s biggest problem is that he never stood for anything that was big and bold.

And Dean does best Kerry in that area. However, so does Jerry Brown, but I don’t think he would be a good DNC Chair for the party (and I find him smarter than Dean).

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  • Sha Ka Ree linked with Finally, Something I Agree with Eleanor Clift on
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Ukrainian Parliament Weighs in

By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 am

Via WaPo: Ukraine Parliament Says Run-Off Poll Invalid

Ukraine’s parliament, in a vote providing a moral boost for opposition supporters massed in the capital, said on Saturday the disputed presidential poll handing victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich was invalid.

Parliament has no legal authority to annul the election results without President Leonid Kuchma’s endorsement, but with vast crowds backing liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko’s call for a new vote, the declaration carries political weight.

I continue to hope for a satisfactory political solution via established Ukrainian institutions. This is another step in that direction.

Of course, this action alone isn’t exactly a solution:

But at the end of a highly charged emergency session, it failed to pass a motion on staging a rerun of the vote.

Hat tip: Joe Gandelman blogging at Dean’s World.

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FARC Targeted Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 10:37 am

Via Reuters: Colombian Rebels Planned to Kill President Bush

President Bush was targeted for assassination by Colombia’s biggest Marxist rebel group this week when he visited the Caribbean port city of Cartagena, a top Colombian official said on Saturday.

“According to informants and various sources, we had information indicating that various members of the FARC had been instructed by their leaders to make an attempt against President Bush,” Defense Secretary Jorge Alberto Uribe told reporters.

This isn’t especially surprising, although one wonder how seriously such instructions were taken in terms of actual operations.

Certainly concern over this type of problem is why there was so much security at the event.

(Thanks to Paul of Wizbang for sending me an e-mail noting this story.)

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Friday, November 26, 2004
More on TiVo Changes

By Steven Taylor @ 9:38 am

TiVo Pop-Up Ads Raise Consumer Concerns

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo Inc. has long promised “TV Your Way.” But the company’s plans for pop-up ads and restrictions on copying have sparked worries that the service may be eroding consumer control in favor of Hollywood and advertiser interests.

Really, this all sounds to me like a route to financial stability and profitability for the company, and therefore to the longevity of the product.

TiVo officials say that starting in March users will begin to see static images, such as a company logo, appear on their television screens as they fast-forward through commercials. The billboard-like ads %u2014 which will last about four seconds for a fast-forwarded 30-second spot %u2014 may offer giveaways or links to other ads.

For some ads, viewers could choose to provide advertisers with their contact data so they can get more direct marketing.

A pop-up recording “tag” is also planned: a “thumbs-up” icon would appear during TV show promotions and allow users to instantly place those programs in their recording queue.

The tag thing is already active, and strikes me as a really good idea. The concept of a static image that pops up while I am fast-forwarding strikes me as so utterly unobtrusive as to not warrant concern.

Quite frankly, folks who are getting all upset about this are people who live in a fantasy-land where consumers will never have to deal with commercials, yet still get substantial amounts of frree content. If one doesn’t want commercials, programming is going to have to be radically more expensive. I don’t want to pay for everything I watch and having a static image pop-up beats watching real commericals.

Indeed, as the article notes:

Industry watchers say TiVo has no choice but to make peace with networks, cable and advertisers.

“TiVo has to become more advertising-friendly because, at the end of the day, TV runs on advertising dollars and companies that are part of that food chain have to acknowledge that,” said Tim Maleeny, director of strategy at Publicis & Hal Riney, a San Francisco-based advertising firm.

I can understand some annoyance over this:

Some skeptics also worry that TiVo’s planned use of Macrovision Corp.’s new copy-protection scheme signals more boundaries on what shows they can or cannot record — even as TiVo prepares to unveil a new service later this year, called TiVoToGo, that will let users record shows onto DVDs or transfer them to computers.

Macrovision has developed a feature that will allow content providers — the people who produce television shows — to place restrictions on how long a digital video recorder such as TiVo can save certain kinds of programming. For instance, movies could disappear after seven days.

TiVo officials say the new restrictions will apply only to pay-per-view and video-on-demand programs. If Macrovision expands the feature to any other content, the deal is off, said Brodie Keast, executive vice president of service business at TiVo.

However, if it is indeed just for PPV flicks, then it hardly strikes me as unfair.

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I Should Hope

By Steven Taylor @ 9:25 am

Police Apologize for Sending Child Porn (via Reuters).

And seriously, how dumb can you get:

Australian police apologized on Thursday after inadvertently sending Internet images of child pornography to 1,800 schools while trying to warn principals about children at risk of abuse.

The mistake came during a police crackdown on child pornography that has so far resulted in more than 200 arrests, including police, teachers, clergy and the owner of a child-care center, after more than 400 raids.

Police assistant commissioner Graeme Morgan said human error had resulted in “partial images” of child pornography being sent to 1,800 government-run schools across New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state.


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Thursday, November 25, 2004

By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 pm

I am having zero luck sending trackbacks the last several days. I upgraded to WP 1.2.1 and even checked with Hosting Matters to see if there was some sort of serve-side problem (there wasn’t).

Yet: no trackbacks are going out.

Anyone got any ideas?

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One Mystery Solved, Another Remains Unresolved

By Steven Taylor @ 11:30 pm

For sure Julius Jones is the real deal. For two games in a row he has shown that he can run, has speed and some solid moves. And he has also shown that it isn’t the O-line’s fault, as no sooner does he go out and Eddie George come in that we are back to 1 and 2 yard runs.

For sure we don’t know if Henson is The FutureTM or not, as he played pretty poorly in his one half of play. We shall see. Parcells’ insistence that Henson wasn’t ready seems quite vindicated in any event. The 6 for 6 and a TD in garbage time against Baltimore appears not to have been representative, shall we say.

One thing’s for sure: Chicago isn’t very good-certainly not offensively.

Meanwhile: Tiger blogged the whole game.

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Ukrainian Supreme Court Rejects Election Results

By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 pm

Via Reuters: Ukraine Court Blocks Yanukovich Taking Power

Ukraine’s highest court on Thursday blocked the inauguration of the country’s Moscow-backed prime minister as president, giving a fresh impetus to his liberal opponent who has led street protests to overturn his election.

The Supreme Court rejected official publication of results that showed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich had beaten Viktor Yushchenko in a run-off election on Sunday. The ruling effectively stopped Yanukovich being sworn in as head of state.

The West-leaning Yushchenko, who says he was robbed of victory by electoral fraud, hailed the ruling as a victory.

Interesting. It would be heartening, and a great sign for Ukrainian democratic development, if an institutional siolution could be found. It is unusual for courts in such cases to be so independent and capable of withstanding executive power.

This continues to develop.

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  • Interested-Participant linked with Supremes Block Certification of Ukraine Election
Just Call it “Lucky Thursday”

By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 am

ScrappleFace has the scoop: Maryland Renames Thanksgiving ‘Lucky Thursday’.

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  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
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  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
  • Read My Lips linked with Thoughts on Thanksgiving [Postdated and updated regularly]
The Lunacy of the TSA

By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

I have to agree with Maureen Dowd about the state of airport security: Hiding Breast Bombs

Airport screening procedures are more reactive than imaginative. There’s an attempted shoe bombing, so all passengers must shed their shoes. Two female Chechens may or may not have sneaked explosives onto Russian planes, so now some T.S.A. genius decides all women are subject to strips and body searches.

I get flagged for extra security every time I buy a one-way ticket, which seems particularly lame. Doesn’t the T.S.A. realize that a careful terrorist plotter like Mohammed Atta could figure this out and use his Saudi charity money to pop for round trips even if the return portion gets wasted?

Of course, what do we expect when the “solution” to the failures of airport security on 9/11 was to take the inadequate, under-trained, not particularly bright baggage screeners and, with a wave of the Magic Federal WandTM turned them into over-paid, federal inadequate, under-trained, not particularly bright baggage screeners with nifty new uniforms and a whole bureaucracy and everything?

And, indeed:

If airport security can have a watch list for the bad guys, why can’t it develop a watch list for the good guys? Can’t there be a database of trustworthy American frequent travelers who are not going to secrete things in their bras?

In fact, I have heard suggestions of such a list before, but it seems as if there were criticisms that it would overly favor some people over others. Still, it strikes me that if one is flying all the time, that it would make the whole system work more efficiently for everyone involved (including the not-so-frequent fliers).

And, indeed again:

I’ve never wanted to complain because I assume there are inconveniences that go along with greater security. But I would feel less creepy if I thought this were part of an effective overall strategy of protecting the country. I don’t.

Of course, I disagree with her that if we weren’t in Iraq that we would have enough money to spend to fix these problems. The honest to gosh fact is that there isn’t any amount of money that can be spent to make flying (or the borders or the harbors, etc.) secure.

When it comes to flying, the bottom line is that we need reasonable measures at airports (having everyone remove their shoes doesn’t qualify) and a recognition that nothing the TSA is going to do is going to provide 100% protection from clever terrorists. I don’t fly all that often (usually twice a year to conferences), yet every time I do I notice numerous ways that a clever person could sneak weapons, bombs, whatever on to planes. And if one had any inside help whatsoever, then all bets are off.
Indeed, part of the reason that I am heavily in favor of substantial military action abroad against states which harbor and sponsor terrorism is because I don’t think that securing the homeland is actually possible. So the only way to substantially diminish the threat to the homeland is to eliminate as many terrorists abroad as possible, and to diminish their capabilities to plan and execute their plans.

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CIA Shake-up Continues

By Steven Taylor @ 7:57 am

Via Reuters: Two More Top CIA Officials Resign

Two more top officials at the CIA’s clandestine unit are retiring in the latest sign of upheaval in the agency under its new director Peter Goss, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The two officials have headed operations in Europe and the Far East and were in the highest level of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, the powerful unit that recruits foreign spies and conducts covert operations overseas, the newspaper reported.

I have not decided the degree to which this situation is a negative reaction to Goss by established Agency types or the result of needed house-cleaning. My predilection is to assume it is the latter, as there certainly have been serious questions about our intelligence of late. Of course, I am not convinced that those failures were the results of specific personnel, per se, or, in fact, the lack of sufficient personnel in certain jobs (or a combination).

Of course, along those lines, I find the following encouraging:

President Bush last week ordered the CIA director to increase by 50 percent the number of intelligence analysts and officers in the clandestine unit as part of a push to strengthen U.S. intelligence operations.

The discouraging part is that it will take years and years before these new agents will be operating at an optimal level

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Happy Thanksgiving!

By Steven Taylor @ 7:49 am

I wanted to start the day by wishing all you out there a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope that you all get to spend the day with those you love. I further would like to say that my prayers are with those deployed overseas, including a friend of mine who is scheduled to leave for Kuwait today (although I would like to know what genius it was who decided that they had to fly out on Thanksgiving…).

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  • RIGHT ON RED >> linked with Stop the Erosion of Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
It Won’t Last

By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 pm

With Less Swagger, Spurrier Returns to SEC.

(The diminished swagger, that is).

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Terrorist Arsenal Discovered in Fallujah

By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

Marines in Falluja Find Rebel Leader’s Arsenal

United States marines and Iraqi soldiers today discovered the empty home of Abdullah Janabi, the insurgent leader of this city’s mujahedeen council, and his bomb-laden mosque, where they found a massive supply of weapons that dwarfed any of the hundreds of caches yet found, military officials said.


“We knew there would be ordnance,” said Lt. General Richard Natonski, the Marine commander who planned the American strike here, “but what we found exceeded our wildest expectations.”

What a phrase: “bomb-laden mosque".

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GOP Wins in Washington State

By Steven Taylor @ 2:48 pm

No link yet, but it is being reported that Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate for Governnor of Washington has won the recount.

Here’s the county-by-county first count.

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Petty Things that Bug Me

By Steven Taylor @ 2:35 pm

OK, in the current iPod commercial with U2. Bono sings “uno, dos, tres, catorce!”

Does anyone know the significance of “1, 2, 3, 14!"?

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Maybe it’s “Reno”

By Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm

Hylarious: The name game

Ten days ago, in a news story on President George W. Bush’s decision to nominate Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, New York Times reporters laconically noted of the Bush administration’s top lawyer that “the White House declined to release his middle name, saying that Mr. Gonzales prefers the initial.”

Hat tip: Sully

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Bizarre: Ukraine’s Yushchenko Poisoned?

By Steven Taylor @ 1:06 pm

Via the BBC:

There were numerous attempts to discredit Mr Yushchenko, but nothing had a greater impact than his alleged poisoning, which left scars and blisters on his face weeks before the crucial vote.

His team claims this was yet another dirty trick by his opponents.

Russian TV channels and spin doctors close to the Kremlin portray Mr Yushchenko as an agent of the West who would plunge Ukraine into civil war.

However, Mr Yushchenko has never indulged in anti-Russian rhetoric and gets praise and support from Russian liberal politicians.

And via the Chicago Sun-Times/The AP:

Yushchenko accused the Ukrainian authorities of poisoning him. His detractors suggested he’d eaten some bad sushi. Adding to the intrigue, the Austrian doctors who treated him have asked foreign experts to help determine if his symptoms may have been caused by toxins found in biological weapons.

Medical experts said they may never know what happened. But the illness, whatever it was, has dramatically changed his appearance since he sought treatment at a private Vienna clinic Sept. 10.

Known for his ruggedly handsome looks, Yushchenko now has a pockmarked complexion. His face is haggard, swollen and partially paralyzed. One eye often tears up.

By the time Yushchenko checked out of the clinic last month after returning for follow-up treatment, physicians said they could neither prove nor rule out poisoning. Dr. Nikolai Korpan, who oversaw Yushchenko’s treatment in Vienna, said the cause of his illness remained ‘’totally open.'’

Meanwhile, the US has rejected the election results:

Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday the United States did not accept the results of the disputed presidential election in Ukraine as legitimate and called for immediate action.

Hat tip to Kate guest-blogging at OTB for noting the Yushchenko story.

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By Steven Taylor @ 12:33 pm

Via the AP: First-Class Stamp May Cost 41 Cents

It may soon cost more to mail a letter. A published report says the U.S. Postal Service is expected to seek approval for an increase in postage rates of at least ten percent early next year.

The Wall Street Journal says the rise would push the price of a first-class stamp to at least 41 cents.

First-class stamps have jumped 12 percent since early 2001. The last increase of three cents to the current 37 cents came in 2002.

Yet another incentive to pay one’s bills electronically. We’ve already gone to sending most of our Christmas greetings via e-mail.

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My Word (Yes, Again)

By Steven Taylor @ 12:30 pm

Via the AP: Angry Mob Kills 2 Federal Agents in Mexico

A mob angry about recent child abductions cornered plainclothes federal agents taking photos of students at a school and burned the officers alive, mistaking the agents for kidnappers in the latest example of vigilante justice in a country beset by high crime.


The killings, filmed and broadcast on local television stations, were carried out by a crowd of people who cheered, chanted and shouted obscenities as they kicked and beat the agents. The mob then doused two officers with gasoline and set them ablaze.

Police didn’t make any immediate arrests; officials said they were investigating.

In the video, the agents, blood streaming down their faces, spoke into the cameras before the burning, saying they were federal anti-terrorism agents who had been sent to the area on official business.

Word fail me.

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NM Vote Finally Official

By Steven Taylor @ 11:04 am

Via the AP: Bush Wins New Mexico by 5,988 Votes

hree weeks after the general election, New Mexico’s canvassing board officially declared President Bush the winner by 5,988 votes, or less than 1 percentage point.

And this would be nice:

Gov. Bill Richardson said in a statement that he would propose changes to state election law to speed up vote tabulations, including earlier processing of absentee ballots.

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  • ISOU linked with Top 100 Blogs
  • ISOU linked with Top 100 Blogs
Henson the Likely Starter

By Steven Taylor @ 9:51 am

Via the DMN: Henson likely will start

Cowboys rookie quarterback Drew Henson will likely make the first start of his career Thursday, according to coach Bill Parcells.

Parcells said Tuesday that Henson will start against the Bears unless he sees “appreciable” improvement from starter Vinny Testaverde, who is suffering from a sore right shoulder and back spasms.

Let the games begin.

(Thanks to Tig for the tip via a comment)

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My Word

By Steven Taylor @ 9:33 am

Via CNN: Colombia police report abduction by C-section

Police said Tuesday they have arrested a woman in the abduction of an unborn baby who was cut from its mother’s womb while she was unconscious.

Sol Angela Cartagena said she was with her 2-year-old daughter when she had a drink at a hospital cafeteria in Girardot, southwest of Bogota, and suddenly felt lightheaded.

“When I woke up I was in the countryside with my 2-year-old daughter beside me,” the woman told RCN TV, adding that someone had performed a Caesarean section on her and taken her baby.

Carlos Cespedes, a gynecologist, confirmed that someone had removed Cartagena’s baby. Apparently Cartagena had been drugged, causing her to black out before the operation. It was unclear where it was performed, but authorities said Cartagena was lucky to be alive.

Utterly insane.

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  • Diggers Realm linked with Baby Kidnapped From Mothers Womb In Columbia
Who Would Want Him?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:57 am

Via Reuters: Ricky Williams May Be Reinstated

Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who retired earlier in the year, may be returning to the NFL.

The enigmatic running back, who abruptly called it quits in July just before the start of Dolphins training camp, apparently wants to return to the league.

Williams will begin serving a four-game suspension next month for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, quoting Williams’ lawyer.

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Desperately Seeking the New Dan

By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

Via Reuters: Rumors on Rather’s Successor Already Flying

Insiders say that chief White House correspondent John Roberts and “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley are on a short list, with the polished, anchor-chair comfortable Roberts the favorite.

Be still my heart! Does the excitement ever end?

I was thining last night that it would be amusing if CBS tried to raid Fox News for an anchor-there are several back-up anchors to Hume, for example, whp could fill the chair. It might even help their ratings.

Then I thought: it may no longer be the case that the folks at the major cable news nets may no longer have any interest in making that move (although one guesses the money for that job would be a huge lure). Still, it is an amazing statement on the evolition of TV news to state that working for Fox News or CNN might well be a better job than working for the broadcast nets (e.g., Jeff Greenfield and Brit Hume).

Of course, one would still think that the anchor job would be worth a move.

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  • Powerpundit linked with More Blogosphere on Rather
NEC Head, Friedman, to Leave Administration

By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 am

Via Reuters: Bush Economic Adviser, Friedman, to Leave

Stephen Friedman, one of President Bush’s top economic advisers, plans to leave the White House this year and is expected to return to the private sector, administration officials said on Tuesday.

A leading candidate to replace Friedman as head of the National Economic Council is Tim Adams, policy director for Bush’s re-election campaign and a former chief of staff at the Treasury Department, Republican sources said.

Of course, my guess is that one’s first reaction is “who?” I must confess, while I know I have heard his name before, I could hardly have conjured it from my mind unaided. Theoretically, the NEC is something of a domestic NSC-but only President Clinton even tried to treat it as such, and that was during an era with diminished focus on foreign policy. Even then, the NEC was not on par with the NSC for importance.

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Election, Take Two?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am

Via Reuters: Ukraine Challenger Willing to Rerun Election

Ukraine’s liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko said on Wednesday he was prepared to rerun a disputed presidential election provided it was overseen by honest officials.

Perhaps the only way out of this mess. It certainly beats a violent uprising and coup.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
An Open Letter to the UT Alumni Association

By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 pm

Given that the University of Texas did, in fact, confer upon me a Ph.D., one would think that the alumi association would figure that I would be smart enough to know that when they are calling to “update” my information, that I know they are calling to hit me up for cash. One gets the feeling that because the call list say “Dr. Taylor” that they assume that I am the kind of doctor with cash to spare. To coin a phrase: not so much. Not to mention how lame must their record-keeping be if they have to call on a quarterly basis to check my address? As I recall, they had computers and everything when was last at UT almost seven years ago.

And for that matter, the University of California, Irvine alumni association should be informed that hiring giggly, semi-rude surfer girls isn’t the most effective fundraising technique.

Meanwhile, as much as I respect my alma maters, I think they got plenty of money from me when I was there, thank you very much.

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If Only He Had Used His Powers for Good

By Steven Taylor @ 5:58 pm

Powerline notes the following from this week’s MTP (which Hindrocket correctly describes as “deeply weird"):

MR. SCHEUER [Of Anonymous fame-Ed.]: …There has to be some command and control there. And to imagine that it doesn’t-that he’s unable to do it is just absolutely incorrect. He’s [Osama] really a remarkable man, a great man in many ways, without the connotation positive or negative. He’s changed the course of history. You just have to try to take your fourth-graders’ class to the White House visitors’ center…

MR. RUSSERT: When you say “great man,” people cringe.

MR. SCHEUER: Yes, sir. Absolutely they cringe, but a great man is someone-a great individual is someone who changes the course of history. And certainly in the last five or six years, America has changed dramatically in the way we behave, in the way we travel. Certainly he’s bleeding us to death in terms of money.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you see him as a very formidable enemy?

MR. SCHEUER: Tremendously formidable enemy, sir, an admirable man. If he was on our side, he would be dining at the White House. He would be a freedom fighter, a resistance fighter. It’s-and again, that’s not to praise him, but it is to say that until we take the measure of the man and the power of his words, we’re very much going to be on the short end of the stick.

I take what he is saying, but by that definition Stalin and Hitler were “Great Men” i.e., the “did they have a profound affect on history?” test,-ok, fine. However, it is difficult to ignore the admiration in the description, which is a odd thing for one of the men in charge of hunting down bin Laden.

And if he (that is, bin Laden) were on our side, I would hope that he wouldn’t be in the business of deliberately targeting civilians for slaughter. Indeed, I have no doubt of bin Laden’s skill, but then again Hitler was a pretty effective mass murder, and a successful politician, yet I have no admiration for the man.

Most curious.

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By Steven Taylor @ 4:28 pm

That is just plain wrong.

However, it does underscore the evils of instant coffee.

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Upgraded to 1.2.1

By Steven Taylor @ 3:27 pm

I have upgraded to WordPress 1.2.1. However, I see no changes (except that it says 1.2.1 on the bottom of the WP screens). Indeed, my trackback problem from earlier today persists.

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Dr. Kit Carter, RIP

By Steven Taylor @ 3:10 pm

Sadly, a member of the Troy faculty passed away today. For the handful of Troy alumni that read PoliBlog, I thought would post this information:

Dr. Kit Carter, a member of the faculty in the Department of History, passed away in Birmingham Tuesday. He had pancreatic cancer. Dr. Carter had taught at Troy University since 1996.

His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday, November 26, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham.

I personally did not know Dr. Carter, but know that many of my students have taken a number of his classes. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

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  • Jeff Vreeland\’s Blog linked with Troy University Passes Away
The Perils of Technology

By Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

Given that tech is all around me, I find that it has caused a number of problems. For one thing, I find myself often wanting a search function on dead tree publications, whether they be books or single sheets of paper. Now, given my TiVo addiction, I find myself wanting to be able to pause radio talk shows when I get up from my desk.

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This is Going to Get Ugly

By Steven Taylor @ 1:34 pm

Via the AP: Ukraine Opposition Leader Declares Victory:

Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko declared victory in Ukraine’s presidential election and took a symbolic oath of office Tuesday, warning that the country was on the verge of civil conflict. About 200,000 supporters gathered in the capital to protest alleged election fraud.

Yushchenko accused authorities of rigging Sunday’s vote in favor of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and announced a campaign of civil disobedience.

“Ukraine is on the threshold of a civil conflict,” Yushchenko told lawmakers gathered for an emergency session of parliament to consider an opposition request to annul the election results. “We have two choices: either the answer will be given by the parliament, or the streets will give an answer.”

The parliamentary session ended without making any decision, since only 191 lawmakers — less than the 226 required to have a quorum — attended.

There appears to be an utter lack of institutional capacity by the state to address this problem (indeed, it is likely that elements of the state are involved in the problem). Take the lack of state capacity, a candidate declaring himself the victor, and 200,000 marching in the streets and “civil conflict” is a mild description of what may unfold.

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Let the Henson Era Begin

By Steven Taylor @ 12:32 pm

Via ESPN: Drew’s straw? Henson waiting on next start.

Now that Julius Jones is back, and therefore can take some of the heat off of the QB, and since the playoffs are clearly out of reach, it is time for the Henson era to begin. I don’t think it is the best move in terms of winning this year, but it likely is in terms of winning next year. Dallas’ main problem hasn’t been QB (although Vinny has been a bit INT-happy), but rather the lack of a running game and defense that is simply not very good.

So, with this season over, the Boys should put Henson in and let him learn-especially since, as noted, it appears that Jones is ready to be the starting RB and the emergence last week of WR Copper means that even with Glenn hurt, the WR corps is pretty strong. And if the O-line has been able to protect the statue-like Testaverde, then surely the more mobile Henson will have some time to pass the ball.

Really, with a running game (and I will grant it has not yet been proven Dallas has one yet), the offense should get better. The O-line has been good as pass protection, Keyshawn-Morgan-and hopefully Copper appear to be a good WR trio (although it hurts to have lost Glenn) along with Jason Whitten (a potential superstar) at TE, there is no reason why this team can’t move the ball. At this point, I say give the Henson the chance to do so.

Then in the offseason, the clear needs are on defense: a Right Corner above all else, and clearly some D-linemen. With two number 1s (their own and Buffalo’s) , there is no reason why Dallas can’t be greatly improved next year-especially once all the injured players return.

Still, after their performance last year, this has been quite the dissappointing season.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
WP Gripe

By Steven Taylor @ 11:50 am

I have been quite happy with WordPress. However, its trackback pinger needs work. Sometimes it takes an insane number of attempts to send a trackback.

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Adios, Dan

By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

Via ABC: Dan Rather to Leave ‘CBS Evening News’ in Spring 2005.

Rumor has it that he will take over for Conan O’Brien once he moves to the Tonight Show. In the interim he will be Kilborn’s replacement on the Late, Late Show (which currently gets better ratings than The CBS Evening News).

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  • Neutiquam erro… linked with Dan Rather resigns
  • linked with Rather calls it quits at CBS News
Crush the Aggies

By Steven Taylor @ 10:18 am

Via the Austin American-Statesmen: No. 5 Texas picks up some points in BCS race

The Longhorns’ gain in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll came despite being off last week and the Golden Bears defeating bitter rival Stanford 41-6. It tightened the BCS rankings released Monday.

Cal lost 12 points in the coaches’ poll, while the idle Longhorns gained 38 points. The 50-point swing didn’t change the standings in either the poll or the BCS rankings. But it did increase the possibility of Texas leapfrogging Cal if the Longhorns post an impressive victory over Texas A&M on Friday, coupled with a lackluster Cal victory at Southern Mississippi on Dec. 4.

Clearly, Texas’ main hope is for an utter crusing of A&M on Friday.

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Dogma isn’t Just for the Religious

By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 am

Dean Esmay stirs the pot on the evolution v. creation question vis-a-vis schools and creates, as he is good at doing, an interesting discussion on his site.

I have noted this issue emerging on several blogs (another example here) over the last several weeks. One thing that strikes me about the discussion is that both sides typically argue from dogmatic positions and that both sides want to exclude ideas. The pro-evolution side is as much vested in protecting its worldview as is the anti-evolution side, despite the argument that all they are doing is protecting science from theology. Quite honestly the conversation really isn’t about how the universe was created, rather it is about whether an endorsement of a theistic v. atheistic view of the universe. I would argue most vociferously that, as such, the argument over evolution is a proxy for an argument over God.

And, I am sorry, but to mention of the idea that an intelligence beyond man might be responsible for creation is not establishment of religion. The Supreme Court has not required the eradication of all references to a theist view of the universe.

And I am the other side of the coin represented by Dean: I am an evangelical Christian who doesn’t see the big harm done if my children are exposed to discussions of evolution. Firstly, I am not convinced that exposure to such ideas leads to the vitiation of Christian theology (for example, if seven days aren’t seven literal days, how does that undercut the foundational principle of the faith?). Secondly, there should be no reason to stop people from being exposed to different ideas (indeed, it should be encouraged-go read Mill’s On Liberty, section II for cryin’ out loud).

I will note, for the record, that I am not sure that I care if a science text mentions intelligent design or not. I further agree that there is a good deal of junk science associated with theological attempts to explain creation (I could recount a rather ridiculous example I once witnessed wherein the Loch Ness monster was used to explain a young earth theory…). However, the pro-evolution side, if it is honest with itself, has to also admit that there are real scientists with legitimate training, who also subscribe to versions of inteligent design/who have legitimate science-based criticisms of macro-evolution.

The bottom line of all of this is that both sides need to ask themselves if they are so insecure about their positions that they can’t allow for free discussion. Also, the secular humanists need to get over the idea that just because someone doesn’t accept macro-evolutionary theory that such persons are to be considered no better, intellectually, than flat-earthers (that is just condescension and not part of rational argument-especially from persons who are allegedly arguing from the more rational position).

Getting back to Mill, consider the following:

We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.

First: the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true.


Let us now pass to the second division of the argument, and dismissing the supposition that any of the received opinions may be false, let us assume them to be true, and examine into the worth of the manner in which they are likely to be held, when their truth is not freely and openly canvassed. However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.


But there is a commoner case than either of these; when the conflicting doctrines, instead of being one true and the other false, share the truth between them; and the nonconforming opinion is needed to supply the remainder of the truth, of which the received doctrine embodies only a part. Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true, but seldom or never the whole truth. They are a part of the truth; sometimes a greater, sometimes a smaller part, but exaggerated, distorted, and disjoined from the truths by which they ought to be accompanied and limited. Heretical opinions, on the other hand, are generally some of these suppressed and neglected truths, bursting the bonds which kept them down, and either seeking reconciliation with the truth contained in the common opinion, or fronting it as enemies, and setting themselves up, with similar exclusiveness, as the whole truth. The latter case is hitherto the most frequent, as, in the human mind, one-sidedness has always been the rule, and many-sidedness the exception.

It’s almost the holidays, so just go read the whole thing.

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Bush in Colombia

By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 am

Via WaPo: Bush Stops in Colombia, Pledges Aid for Drug War

President Bush pledged more funding to support Colombia’s fight against drugs and violence during a visit Monday to the world’s cocaine capital, telling Colombia’s president that his success in defeating cocaine traffickers was essential for U.S. security.

I am quite skeptical about our capacity to win this particular war. At best, Colombia might be able to drive cultivation from its territory (although I doubt that), while at worst we spend tens of millions of dollars annually to no effect in terms of narcotics production and sales, yet while simultaneously escalating the guerrilla war. It is worth noting that while the acres under cultivation have diminished significantly, the amount of cocaine available for sale has not gone down, nor has price gone up-and those are better measures of success of the eradication programs.

One wonders if it wouldn’t be more efficacious to spend those dollars on treatment and education and on the real war on terror, than in Colombia. Especially since the main reason that the FARC can maintain its fight is because of the obscene profits it makes off of drug trafficking, which, in turn, is because of the economics of prohibition.

And this is clearly true:

the American president’s visit was designed to showcase the benefits of talking tough on terrorism and being a friend of the United States.

There is no doubt that post-911 the rhetoric coming out of Colombia took a decided turn down terrorism alley. It was not particularly common for the guerrillas to be referred to as “terrorists” prior to that point in time. And, technically speaking, I am not certain that the term is always accurate when applied. Part of what the FARC does is standard guerrilla warfare, and has elements of standard combat (including the usage of uniforms). They are hardly the same as al Qaeda, for example, in terms of goals and tactics. Indeed, the right-wing paramilitaries probably come closer to classic terrorist tactics, in that they tend to target civilian populations as a means of undercutting the guerrillas.

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Yet Another Reason to Use Firefox

By Steven Taylor @ 8:19 am

Via Bofra Worm Spreads by Banner Ads

Web site visitors who clicked on banner ads on a number of popular European Web sites this weekend could have infected their computers with variants of the Bofra worm, experts warn.

The attacks take advantage of an unpatched buffer overflow flaw in the way Internet Explorer 6 handles the IFrame tag, and has been confirmed on PCs running Windows XP

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Stealth Coach

By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

Jeff Quinton has the tale.

I know I am on pins and needles to hear who USC (the eastern one) is going to name as Coach. It has been such a secret and all…

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Not Good

By Steven Taylor @ 8:09 am

Via Reuters: Bomb Found on Iraq Commercial Flight

A bomb has been found on a commercial flight in Iraq, the U.S. embassy said on Tuesday.

The improvised device was found on Monday, a spokeswoman said. She declined to give further details but said security arrangements were tightened at Baghdad International Airport.

It was not clear whether the bomb targeted a passenger or cargo flight, but the embassy renewed a warning to U.S. citizens to reconsider plans to travel by commercial airline to Baghdad.

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Monday, November 22, 2004
And I’ve Got Some Oceanfront Property in Arizona…

By Steven Taylor @ 10:20 pm

Iran Says It Has Halted Uranium Enrichment

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Write Your Own Joke

By Steven Taylor @ 10:19 pm

CNN Chooses Ex-CBS Official as Its U.S. Chief

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Vilsack: Thanks, but no Thanks

By Steven Taylor @ 10:15 pm

Via the AP: Vilsack Won’t Seek Chairmanship of DNC

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said Monday that he will not seek the chairmanship of the Democratic Party.

Citing his responsibilities as governor, Vilsack said “these challenges and opportunities require more time than I felt I could share. As a result I will not be a candidate for DNC chairman.”

That leaves (at the moment):

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean has called party regulars, expressing his interest in the DNC job. Other Democrats interested in the job or being asked to pursue it include Harold Ickes, adviser to former President Clinton (news - web sites); Leo Hindery, former chairman of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network LLC, a New York-based sports cable channel that televises New York Yankees’ baseball games; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

There can be no doubt that of the choices, Dean is probably the worst the Democrats could make, although he would no doubt be the most fun for bloggers and commentators.

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  • The American Mind linked with Vilsack Turns Down DNC
A Classic

By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 pm

From Letterman the other night:

Top Ten Things Overheard At The Opening Of The Clinton Library

10. “I’m sorry, this part of the library is strictly for 21-and-over.”

9. “A library in Arkansas-well, now I’ve seen everything.”

8. “The hours are 9 to ???”

7. “This is the first presidential library I’ve seen with hourly rates.”

6. “He has the largest collection of adult magazines since Herbert Hoover.”

5. “Don’t forget to try the snack bar’s impeachment cobbler.”

4. “That concludes our ceremony-you’re all invited to stay for ham hocks and moonshine.”

3. “Damn, Bubba has a huge desk.”

2. “It’s the only presidential library with a ladies’ night.”

1. “Security to the front-Kerry is here sobbing again.”

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It Seems There Were Still Insults in Need of Punishment…

By Steven Taylor @ 9:40 pm

Robert Prather, who used to blog at Insults Unpunihsed, is reumsing blogging as part of the gang at Signifying Nothing.

Welcome back, Robert!

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Sorry About the Relative Silence

By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

I got hit with some food poisoning or something late Sunday afternoon (although it is possible that the whole problem was induced by the way the Dallas Cowboys played on Sunday…). Still, for about 6 or so hours Sunday afternoon and evening, I was down for the count, and I slept in this morning as a result. Hence my normal schedule (and hence normal blogging) has been off kilter.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam

By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

Via the NYT: Clues on Hostages Emerge From Houses in Falluja

One of the houses, in a residential area strewn with rubble, contains two rooms where American military officials say they believe that hostages were kept, with metal handcuffs, plastic zip cuffs and shackles. A shackle had been attached to a rod in the bathroom, apparently to keep hostages chained, officials said.

When a reporter toured the house with Marine officers on Sunday, the handcuffs and shackles had been removed, but it was still strewn with the black masks and black tennis sneakers favored by the insurgents.

Underneath a staircase is an alcove where American officials believe that hostages were interrogated and tortured. Its walls are stained with a dark substance, with two large nails sticking out.


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Sunday, November 21, 2004
The Colombians Don’t Mess Around

By Steven Taylor @ 11:01 pm

Via the Miami Herald: Colombia Deploys 15,000 Troops for Bush

The Spanish colonialists who fortified this Colombian seaport 400 years ago to guard against pirates and rival imperial powers could only have dreamed of the security being implemented for President Bush’s visit here Monday.

About 15,000 Colombian security forces - backed by warplanes, helicopters, battleships and two submarines - will safeguard Bush’s four-hour trip to discuss the nation’s war on drugs. That is the same number of American troops deployed in the Fallujah offensive in Iraq.

“If something happened during the president’s visit, we would lose everything - tourism, business. … The country’s image would suffer greatly,” said Navy Capt. Nelson Fernandez, who is in charge of security.


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Good News for Iraqi Develoment

By Steven Taylor @ 10:57 pm

Via the NYT: Major Creditors in Accord to Waive 80% of Iraq Debt

The world’s leading industrial nations agreed Sunday to cancel 80 percent of the nearly $39 billion debt owed them by Iraq, a critical step in rebuilding the country’s devastated economy and an important precedent for its other creditors to follow.

The agreement, after a year of intense lobbying by the United States, puts pressure on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq’s other Middle Eastern neighbors to forgive obligations owed them, including more than $100 billion in reparations Iraq owes from the 1991 Persian Gulf war.


Clearing the liabilities from Iraq’s books is considered almost as important to its future as defeating the insurgency because the country cannot hope to attract investors while carrying the current amount of debt.


While the 80 percent writeoff falls short of the American goal, it is the best deal the Paris Club has ever given a developing country: the previous record was a 66 percent debt reduction for the former Yugoslavia after the ouster of President Slobodan Milosevic.

This strikes me as a major diplomatic success of the Bush administration, albeit for less debt forgiveness than they were after.

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  • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Iraq Debt Cut
The 3 Amigos

By Steven Taylor @ 2:47 pm

Source: Reuters

It’s the fashion statement of the season! And Putin’s a real natural.

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UGH (Dallas Cowboys edition)

By Steven Taylor @ 2:38 pm

Well, Drew Henson’s first play from scrimage was a sack for a fumble (where was the OLine)?

On an up note, Julius Jones looks like he may be the real deal-but it is clearly far too little too late.

Update: In the subsequent series, Henson looked pretty good.

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And While I am Reviewing Things…

By Steven Taylor @ 1:41 pm

I received in the mail yesterday my History of the Parties I and II posters (see the blogad on the right). I must say, the pictures on the History Shots web page doesn’t do them justice. I knew I would like them, as I am into political parties, but these are even nicer than I expected. Not only do they have the winners and the basic party trends, but issue information, cabinet members and some congressional information. Indeed, I haven’t examined them all that carefully yet, so there may be even more than I am mentioning.

I would also state that calling them “posters” is an injustice. They are on thick, quality paper and are more accurately called prints than posters. I plan to have both of them framed for my office at the university.

Also, I was poking around their site the other day and noteed several other nifty prints, my favorite being “Race to the Moon.”

At rate, I am most impressed and would recommend giving their site a look.

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While I am on the SciFi Theme…

By Steven Taylor @ 1:24 pm

I have been overall quite impressed with this season of Enterprise-especially this week’s episode that started the Vulcan arc. Not only did it set up an interesting story that will explain why the Enterprise era Vulcans have been so un-Vulcan-like, but it was obvious that the script was written by someone who understands Trek (and, indeed, it was written by Trek novelists Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens). The latter begs a question: why haven’t they employed more of the Trek novelists for all of these shows? (On that note I think that an adaptation of Peter David’s New Frontiers novels would make an excellent show).

The season hasn’t been perfect (the end of the Augments arc, for example, wasn’t very original-ditto the end of the space Nazi ep), but the show has more energy than in the previous two seasons and has actually felt like a show set in the pre-TOS universe (which is normally hasn’t). Rather, it has often felt like it existed in some alternative faux Trek universe.

The show still suffers from the lack of development of most of the characters. Still, it has been quite watchable this season. The Xindi storyline last season was an improvement over season one, but still lacked sufficient “Trekness” and the whole Temporal Cold War thing never worked for me.

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More Movie Stuff

By Steven Taylor @ 1:04 pm

They played the trailer for Episode III at the showing of the Incredibles. It was quite omnimous, cool and Vader-focused, starting with Ben Kenobi’s account of Vader turn to evil from Episode IV. If the movie is as cool as the trailer, it will be quite good. However, based on eps I and II, the trailer may end up being the best part of ep III.

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PoliReview: The Incredibles

By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

I took my oldest two boys to see The Incredibles last night and was quite impressed. From an animation standpoint, it is Pixar’s best yet, and the script, while containing a number of comic book cliches (some on purpose, one would guess) was quite good. The story, which is well paced, is ultimately about the importance of family, as well as the difficulties associated with having to denying one’s true self. There’s a good blend of family-based and super hero-based humor. The film isn’t as much a comedy as some of the other Pixar films, and have a certain sophistication to it that reminded me of the atmosphere of the Iron Giant (written by the person).

The super-hero action and characters are great, and the sixties James Bond-like soundtrack and the sixties Bond-villian like scheme/compound was a nice touch.

I highly recommend it.

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PoliColumn II: On the Defeat of Amendment 2 in Alabama

By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

Amendment 2 defeat speaks volumes
Sunday, November 21, 2004

That Amendment 2 was defeated in the recent election is unfortunate and says much about the politics of our state.

The whole thing is here.

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PoliColumn I: Election Reaction

By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 am

From today’s Mobile Register:

Columnists are spreading the criticism
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Special to the Register

The re-election of George W. Bush to the presidency has unleashed a torrent of illiberal responses from many in the elite liberal commentariat of remarkable, and telling, proportions.

The whole thing is here.

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Saturday, November 20, 2004
Oh, The Irony…

By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

In Farewell, Daschle Puts Emphasis on Cooperation

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Misc. SciFi Observation of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 am

If they made an American version of Blake’s 7, James Spader would make an excellent Kerr Avon. His performance on Boston Legal is what inspired that idea. And given that that character is probably the hardest one to cast, I think that having made this discovery, production should start ASAP.

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The Glory of the FARC

By Steven Taylor @ 9:56 am

Via the BBC: Farc kidnap saga marks 1,000 days

Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt marks her 1,000th day in captivity on Saturday, held hostage by Marxist guerrillas.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farc, snatched her as she was on the campaign trail in February 2002.

They have refused to release her or another 60 political hostages until imprisoned rebels are freed.


They are trying to pressure the government into a prisoner exchange: the 60-odd politicians, security force officers and three Americans they hold, for hundreds of guerrillas in prison.


For the Farc, time is no object.

Some of their hostages were taken more than five years ago.


Of course, at least no one has been beheaded on videotape. Still, the literal thievery of time from the lives of these non-combatants is indefensible.

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Friday, November 19, 2004
Death and Taxes

By Steven Taylor @ 5:01 pm

Via MSNBC: Tax drivers per mile? California considers

California drivers are accustomed to paying the highest prices at the gasoline pump in the continental United States, but a proposal that their cars be outfitted with transponders to collect state taxes by the mile has stirred deep-rooted privacy fears.

The policy idea is a response to the growing popularity of gas-electric hybrid cars and concern that as more fuel-efficient vehicles clog the California’s highways, a tax on gasoline consumption will no longer be the best way to finance road maintenance.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week nominated Joan Borucki, a proponent of taxing motorists for every mile they drive, to a key position overseeing the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.


Schwarzenegger was careful to distance himself from the tax by the mile proposal, telling reporters he had not had time to study the idea and so had no comment at present.

First off, I am guessing this doesn’t go anywhere. Second, isn’t part of the stated logic of gas taxes is that they will increase the price and therefore encourage alternative energy? This has especially been true in California.

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As Oppossed to a Baby Milk Plant

By Steven Taylor @ 12:05 pm

U.S. finds possible command center of terrorist.

You’ve got to be kidding me:

According to CNN’s footage, the suspected Zarqawi command center was in an imposing house with concrete columns and a large sign in Arabic reading ‘’Al Qaeda Organization'’ and “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.'’

Still, it looks like a significant find:

U.S. officials insisted the Fallujah campaign had produced a treasure trove of documents and other intelligence information that would help U.S. and Iraqi authorities hunt down insurgents. Sattler said lists included names of fighters, including some from outside Iraq.

Of course, I am always skeptical when officials “insist” anything in terms of proving how well a particular offensive went.

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Sheer Genius

By Steven Taylor @ 11:57 am

Via the AP: Radio Host Calls Rice ‘Aunt Jemima’

A radio talk show host drew criticism Thursday after calling Condoleezza Rice an “Aunt Jemima” and saying she isn’t competent to be secretary of state.


John Sylvester, the program director and morning personality on WTDY-AM in Madison, said in a phone interview Thursday that he used the term on Wednesday’s show to describe Rice and other blacks as having only a subservient role in the Bush administration.

Sylvester, who is white, also referred to Powell as an “Uncle Tom” — a contemptuous term for a black whose behavior toward whites is regarded as fawning or servile.

He said Thursday night that he was referring to remarks by singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte that the price of admittance for blacks to the Bush White House was subservience.

As for Rice, “they’re using her for an illusion of inclusion,” he said, adding that he feels her history as national security adviser showed a lack of competence.

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Rice Has Surgery

By Steven Taylor @ 11:45 am

Via USAT: Rice undergoes surgery

Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s choice to be the next secretary of state, underwent surgery Friday to treat noncancerous growths in the uterus, a White House official said.

The national security adviser underwent uterine fibroid embolization Georgetown University Hospital, and it appeared to be successful with no complications, said Jim Wilkinson, a deputy national security adviser.

“The surgery was successful and she is resting comfortably,” Wilkinson said.


Rice was scheduled to stay overnight at the hospital and go home Saturday. She could return to work as early as Monday, Wilkinson said.

Bush announced on Tuesday that Rice, 50, will succeed Secretary of State Colin Powell. Her nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

Bush traveled Friday to Chile for an international summit. He brought Steve Hadley, Rice’s deputy and the president’s pick to head the National Security Council if Rice is confirmed.

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Old Man of the Blogosphere

By Steven Taylor @ 11:20 am

Dodd of Ipse Dixit has been blogging for four years as of this Sunday, which is a loooong time in blog years.

Stop by and say hi-which is easy, since he has turned Ipse Dixit into a free-for-all, public acccess site for the time being.

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Bradbury, L’Engle Honored

By Steven Taylor @ 11:03 am

Bradbury, L’Engle Honored

Legendary SF author Ray Bradbury visited the White House on Nov. 17 to collect his National Medal of Arts, the Washington Post reported. Madeleine L’Engle, the author of the classic children’s SF book A Wrinkle in Time, was awarded the National Humanities Medal.

“This is the happiest day in my life,” Bradbury told the newspaper. “I started from nothing. It was a long haul, and now I’m here.”


L’Engle was unable to attend the White House ceremony and was represented by her granddaughter Charlotte Jones, the newspaper reported.

I loved A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels when I was in middle school. I have always admired Bradbury’s writing, although I have only read a portion of his work,

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Seinfeld in the Smithsonian

By Steven Taylor @ 7:06 am

Not that there’s anything wrong with that: Seinfeld Leaves His Mark on History.

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  • Nobody asked me, but… linked with Seinfeld inducted to the Smithsonian, yadda, yadda, yadda...
Kerry Campaign Finance Follies

By Steven Taylor @ 6:58 am

In regards to timeouts in a football game, it is oft said that you can’t take them home with you. While it is possible to save campaign finances, taking them home with you (so to speak) is not too bright if one is engaged in a close race.

Kerry to Give Dems Leftover Campaign Cash

Under friendly fire, Sen. John Kerry likely will donate a substantial portion of his excess presidential campaign cash to help elect Democratic candidates in 2005 and 2006, advisers said Thursday.

Party leaders, including some of Kerry’s top campaign aides, said this week they were surprised and angry to learn that he had more than $15 million in accounts from the Democratic primaries. They demanded to know why the money wasn’t spent to help Kerry defeat President Bush or to aid congressional candidates.

I must admit, this kind of thing is baffling: how could the Kerry campaign allow that much money to go unspent? Clearly some of his former staff is wondering as well:

Several members of his own campaign staff said the cash should have been spent before the Democratic convention in late July to build political organizations in Ohio and Florida — or to court Hispanic and black voters in key states.

One member of Kerry’s inner circle of campaign aides said Thursday that the failure to spend the money cost the senator victory in a close election.

I am not certain that that is the case, as the spending of more money doesn’t necessarily translate into victory, but it certainly doesn’t help to keep it in the bank. This situation really does reek of mis-management.

This is similar to a story on Gore post-2000 (I blogged it here
and here) who had $6 million left in the bank.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004
Opium Boom

By Steven Taylor @ 9:13 pm

Via Reuters: Afghan Opium Cultivation Reaches Record High-UN

Afghanistan’s opium cultivation jumped 64 percent to a record 324,000 acres this year and drug exports now account for more than 60 percent of the economy, the United Nations drugs office said Thursday.

“This year Afghanistan has established a double record - the highest drug cultivation in the country’s history, and the largest in the world,” Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told a news briefing.


“The fear that Afghanistan might degenerate into a narco-state is slowly becoming a reality as corruption in the public sector, the die-hard ambition of local warlords, and the complicity of local investors are becoming a factor in Afghan life,” he said.


As well as being a narco-economy, Afghanistan was largely a narco-society, he said, with so many people benefiting from the business: farmers pay a “tax” of around 10 percent of their earnings to local warlords; laboratories pay 12 to 15 percent; and export convoys pay 15 to 18 percent.

This strikes me as potentially quite dangerous, as it could provide the basis for the funding of terrorist activities that emanate from the region. It further makes the possibility of deepening democratic governance problematic, insofar as it keeps the warlords funded and empowered.

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What a Shame

By Steven Taylor @ 3:27 pm

Via USAT: Exit poll data will be delayed

On future election days, news organizations that pay for surveys of voters leaving polling places won’t see results until late afternoon or early evening.

Of course, while this may cut down on leaks, I am not sure it guarantees that there will be no leaks.

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Voice of Juan Valdez Dies

By Steven Taylor @ 3:06 pm

Actor Norman Rose, voice of Juan Valdez, dies at 87

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Imagine…It’s Easy if you Try

By Steven Taylor @ 3:00 pm

Imagine the response if a conservative cartoonist published the following, except where the objects of the cartoons in question were Democrats:

Remarkable (obviously, since I have, in fact, remarked upon them).

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The World’s Most Exclusive Club

By Steven Taylor @ 2:45 pm

Source: Reuters

I always find photos of gatherings of living presidents rather fascinating, for some reason. I think part of it is because they represent living history For another, I think that one of the most remarkable aspects of US politics is that every four-to-eight years the most powerful man in the world peacefully and gracefully relinquishes power. It is true testament to our democracy, regardless of the views one may have any one of the men who have occupied the office.

Further, in many countries, ex-executives are literally blood-enemies and would hardly be together for a friendly ceremony.

Note: President Ford could not attend due to health reasons.

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Not a Surprise

By Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

Via the AP: One in Four Californians Consider Moving

A fourth of all Californians are thinking about moving-either out of state or just to another town-to bring down their housing costs, a new survey shows.

High rents and rising home prices have residents, particularly younger ones, rethinking the value of the mountain views and ocean shores they say they treasure. Of the respondents under 35, for example, nearly half say they might relocate to somewhere cheaper.

Of course, precisely what “thinking” about moving means, or how seriously it should be taken, is an open question. However, having lived in SoCal, and having family there now, I have often wondered how young folks just starting out (or even many middle-aged individuals) manage to afford to live there. Certainly some professions are sufficiently compensated in relative terms that it works. However, knowing what universities pay (even at major California universities), I know that instead of a four bedroom + office house (as I have now), I would be living in a dinky condo if I were employed in CA.

Gee whiz, according to the article, the media house pirce in CA is $465,000. That’s crazy. The national median price is $186,000.

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Toon Migration

By Steven Taylor @ 2:21 pm

Via the CSM:‘Peanuts’ of Latin America heads north

Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau has called him “a cartoon master working the outer edges of sweet dementia.” Gary Larson, the man behind “The Far Side,” has wondered why he “doesn’t enjoy a higher profile” in the US.

Wonder no further.

Joaquín Salvador Lavado, known as Quino, is widely regarded as the best cartoonist ever to hail from Latin America. Now the Charles Schulz of the Spanish-speaking world is coming to America.

As celebrations mark Quino’s 50 years of work, US readers have a fresh chance to explore his work. Last month, the first English translations of his most famous creation, Mafalda, a 5-year-old inspired by the Peanuts series, began appearing in US bookstores. Quino’s publishers hope the little girl’s view of the world as it was then - an optimistic Argentina of the 1960s, preoccupied with the Vietnam War and US-Soviet arms race - resonates with a modern US concerned with Iraq and WMD.

Mafalda could be wickedly funny-I will be curious to see a translation.

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Today’s Factoid

By Steven Taylor @ 1:47 pm


By Jan. 20, 2009, all the elected presidents for 44 consecutive years will have come from three Southern states - Texas, Arkansas, Georgia - and Southern California.

2001-2009: Bush 43 (Texas)
1993-2001: Clinont (Arkansas)
1989-1993: Bush 41 (Texas)
1981-1989: Reagan (SoCal)
1977-1981: Carter (Georgia)
1969-1974: Nixon (SoCal)
1965-1969: LBJ (Texas)

And, for the heck of it, here are the losers:

2004: Kerry (MA)
2000: Gore (DC/TN)
1996: Dole (KS)
1992: Bush (TX)
1988: Dukakis (MA)
1984: Mondale (MN)
1980: Carter (GA)
1976: Ford (MI)
1972: McGovern (SD)
1968: Humphrey (MN)
1964: Goldwater (AZ)

Ford, the Accidental President, doesn’t count-nor does the first year-plus of LBJ’s administration.

Source: George F. Will

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By Steven Taylor @ 12:03 pm

Via Timothy Noah of Slate: Condoleezza Rice’s promotion creates a void

With Rice departing the White House for Foggy Bottom, President Bush isn’t just losing a national security adviser. He’s losing his work wife.

Why is it that we haven’t gotten to the point that we ignore the gender of someone, and just comment on their qualifications? Further, why do I have a hard time thinking that the condescension that some in the press have applied to Rice (such as Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC referring to her as Bush’s “sidekick") if this were a Democratic administration? The laurels that Kerry would have received for appointing the first African-American female to head State is missing here, which I would like to think it simply a sign of the times that we no longer have to worry about such thing, except for the fate of things like Noah’s “work wife” analysis and all the need that MSNBC and others have had in describing Rice’s relationship with the Bush’s as “familial.” Henry Kissinger was clearly one of Nixon’s closest advisors, yet I suspect he was never called Nixon’s sidekick, nor do I suspect much time was spent analyzing his personal relationship with the President.

Really, the treatment of the female/minority issues says a lot about the press.

And I must say: I find the whole “work wife” thesis to be a bit ridiculous. And when part of one’s analysis includes a reference to Mary Richards and Murray Slaughter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show as the exemplar of one’s position, one has to wonder how seriously one really ought to expect one’s analysis to be taken. However, I think that Noah is quite serious.

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The T.O./MNF Flap

By Steven Taylor @ 11:53 am

First off, the explanation of the intro on Monday’s MNF is incredibly straightforward: ABC wanted to cross-promote Desperate Housewives. Period. That was the goal. They have a hot property and wanted to use MNF as a free commercial (which is part of the reason the ‘nets want football—to help cross-promote their other properties).

Second, this is significantly different from the Janet Jackson incident in my mind, as there was actual nudity involved-not to mention the whole ripping-off-of-clothing aspect of the “wardrobe malfunction.” Further, there are commercials on normal football games (and practically any other show) that are just as provocative as the MNF intro.

Third, I do think that the whole thing was both tacky and unnecessary. I don’t tune into MNF to see a woman in a towel-and certainly don’t expect it to be in the pre-game. However, to pretend like T&A isn’t ubiquitous in pro football is to kid oneself. I haven’t watch the Fox pre-game show in while, but the woman who did their weather last season often was clad in a way that wasn’t much different that wearing a towel-and there is that whole cheerleader thing. My goodness, the Hardees (and I presume Carl’s Junior on the West Coast) ads with the girl riding the mechanical bull eating the thick burger is no less provocative that Monday’s MNF intro.

Fourth, I am not condoning the Desperate Housewives-ization of MNF and would radically prefer the not engage in such stuff, but the outrage on this topic is remarkable insofar as it seems to ignore a whole lot of what else is going on.

Fifth, on balance I wish MNF would stop the silly intro and the non-football half time stuff (sorry, I’d much rather see highlights that “You’ve Been Sacked!!"). Indeed, I almost always find something else to do during halftime of MNF.

Sixth, the whole argument the objections are racial just unnecessarily complicate the situation. While no doubt there are some who are outraged because of the white/black aspect, I suspect that on balance the basic issue is simply one of infusing overt sexuality gratuitously into the pre-game festivities of MNF.

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  • Jeff Vreeland\’s Blog linked with More on this TO / MNF controversy
And I am Sure he Reads Them All

By Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

Bill Gates Gets 4 Million E-Mails a Day.

He probably is at high risk for glaucoma as well…

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More Ballot Fun in Ohio

By Steven Taylor @ 11:04 am

Via the AP: Ohio Finds Possible Double Votes, Counts

Election officials in one Ohio county found that about 2,600 ballots were double-counted, and two other counties have discovered possible cases of people voting twice in the presidential election.

Prosecutors were trying to determine Wednesday whether charges should be filed against a couple in Madison County accused of voting twice. In addition, Summit County election workers investigated possible double votes found under 18 names.

In the other case, Sandusky County election officials discovered that about 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice, likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman said.

No doubt this wil continue to fuel the conspiracy theories.

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:07 am

Congrats to Bryan Arguing with signposts… for surpassing the 100k mark on SiteMeter.

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Bye-Bye Lou, Hello Stevie?

By Steven Taylor @ 7:52 am

So reports the Tennessean: Spurrier headed to South Carolina, announcement next week:

Steve Spurrier, who guided Florida to six SEC championships and a national championship in his 12 years in Gainesville, has agreed in principle to take over at South Carolina for Lou Holtz as the Gamecocks’ head coach, a source close to the situation told The Tennessean last night.

One potential snag in the agreement could be if Holtz, 67, has a change of heart and decides at the last minute not to retire. Spurrier has also been known to change his mind, although he’s made it clear to South Carolina that the Gamecocks’ job is the one he wants.

I must admit, I am not sure why he would want to to South Carolina, I mean their mascot is a chicken, for crying out loud. Maybe he wants to prove something in the SEC-and I guess that the golf is pretty good SC, but still….

Certainly this has been the rumor for months.

Hat tip: Jeff Quinton

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Econ News

By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 pm

Economy Expands Despite Rising Oil Prices

Surging energy costs drove up U.S. consumer prices a hefty and larger-than-expected 0.6 percent in October, while industrial output and housing starts rebounded strongly from the prior month.


Separately, the Federal Reserve (news - web sites) said industrial production climbed 0.7 percent in October, well ahead of the 0.3 percent gain expected in markets, as output bounced back from the restraining effects of a series of late-summer hurricanes.

In a third report, the U.S. Commerce Department (news - web sites) said housing starts climbed a steep 6.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.027 million units, the fastest pace since December. Forecasters had looked for a more moderate 1.975 million pace.

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Boldy Going Where no Commerical Has Gone Before

By Steven Taylor @ 12:47 pm

Via the LAT: TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers

By March, TiVo viewers will see “billboards,” or small logos, popping up over TV commercials as they fast-forward through them, offering contest entries, giveaways or links to other ads. If a viewer “opts in” to the ad, their contact information will be downloaded to that advertiser-exclusively and by permission only-so even more direct marketing can take place.

By late 2005, TiVo expects to roll out “couch commerce,” a system that enables viewers to purchase products and participate in surveys using their remote controls.

No doubt some will be upset by this move, but it doesn’t bother me, insofar as long as I can zip past the broadcast commercials and am not forced to view the “billboard” save when I am fast-forwarding, what’t the big deal? Indeed, since this will contribute to the health and long life of TiVo, I am all for it.

Indeed, as I read through the piece, I find:

Some say they don’t mind a little pop-up advertising — just so long as they can fast-forward through it — because it could help keep TiVo in business. (A September report from Forrester shows that DVR owners typically fast-forward through 92% of commercials.)

And certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the company’s health:

Five years after its launch, TiVo still hasn’t turned a profit and doesn’t expect to until January 2006. (Kent says the advertising revenue will probably bring down the cost of TiVo to its 2 million subscribers — currently $12.95 a month.)

However, if they are going to be generating ad revenue, how about lowering the monthly fee?

Overall, this debate strikes me as similar to the one about web advertisements. Sure, people don’t want to see ads, but somehow content providers have to generate revenue. The trick is to find a way to deliver advertisements without upsetting the end user while attracting those which the ad targets. It’s simple capitalism. Even if we don’t like ads, it is the case that they subsidize tv and the web-and I certainly don’t want to pay full price for those things.

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Hillary Running in 2006 (According to Aides)

By Steven Taylor @ 12:37 pm

Via the NYT: Aides Say Senator Clinton Seeks 2nd Term

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It’s Gonna be a Looooong Campaign

By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

The voting machines having fully cooled down yet, but there is even more speculation on 2008. This time from Nebraska, where we find both Senators (Chuick Hagel, R and Ben Nelson, D) are sending signals that they are contemplating a run in ‘08.

In re: Nelson:

Nelson was discussing the advantages that former governors - and he is one - have in running for president compared with lawmakers. A reporter asked: Should we expect a Nelson bid in 2008?

“I wouldn’t take it off the table, but I’m certainly not making that announcement today,” Nelson said. “And I’ll tell you what, if I make that announcement, I’ll do it in Nebraska.”

Hat tip: The Political Wire.

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We’re All Doomed

By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

Heavy computer use linked to glaucoma: study

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 am

Via Reuters: Kmart Buying Sears in $11 Billion Deal.

Discount retailer Kmart Holding Corp. will buy department store operator Sears, Roebuck & Co. in a surprise $11 billion deal that creates the third-largest U.S. retailer, the companies said on Wednesday.

Here we see the influence of Wal*Mart on the marketplace.

However, wasn’t K-mart in bankruptcy just a year ago? I would’ve thought that it would’ve been Sears acquiring K-mart, not the other way around.

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  • Diggers Realm linked with K-Mart Buys Sears For $11.5 Billion
Kerry Back in the Senate

By Steven Taylor @ 7:03 am

Via USAT: ‘Changed forever,’ Kerry returns to his Senate role. For his sake, I hope he isn’t “changed” the way Gore was post-Florida.

In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see the degree to which this is the case: “He returns to the Senate Tuesday and aims to be a force in his party"-because, quite frankly, he really wasn’t a force in the party in the Senate prior to his run at the White House. Indeed, his lack of a substantive Senate record was one of his key weaknesses.

And this will be interesting, and my guess is that he will lose out:

One yardstick of Kerry’s clout will be apparent in February, when the Democratic National Committee chooses a new chairman. At least three current prospects are close to Kerry: Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen and former Labor secretary Alexis Herman.

And, please, charisma?!?

Some wonder why Kerry did not seek a broader Senate role, such as minority leader. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), a Kerry ally, is considered certain to be elected by his colleagues today to succeed South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, who was defeated.

Independent analyst Ken Bode wrote in The Indianapolis Star that Kerry “never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Kerry might have provided “the charisma, the gravitas, the respect” to marshal Democratic opposition to Bush, Bode wrote, but Reid will not.

Gravitas, yes. Respect, maybe. Charisma? I think not. Further, Kerry was never Mr. Legislation, making a move for Leader an unlikely one. Further, history tends to dictate that the losing candidate rarely becomes the face of the opposition post-election. Kerry will likely return to his previous role as a low key Senator who will now get more invites for tv shows because he ran for president.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Let the Horserace Begin!

By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 pm

The latest Gallup polls are in!:

For the Dems:

25%: Hillary Clinton
15%: John Kerry
7%: John Edwards
3%: Barack Obama
2%: Al Gore

For the Reps:

10%: Rudy Giuliani
10%: John McCain
7%: Colin Powell
2%: Jeb Bush

The fact that Kerry gets only 15% a few weeks after the election underscores my position that American voter don’t like losers and are unlikely to re-nominate a candidate. Nonethless: Kerry Says He’s Not Ruling Out Another Run

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It’s Official: Reid is the New Minority Leader

By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

Nevada’s Reid tapped to lead Dem. caucus

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada won election as Senate Democratic leader on Tuesday, taking over a party with fewer seats than at any time since the Great Depression more than 70 years ago.

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CBS Management

By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 am

Laura Ingraham makes an excellent point today: CBS acted swiftly and with resolution over the guy who flubbed the CSI: NY/Arafat news bit, but still hasn’t punished anyone (let alone fully explained) MemoGate.

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That BCS is Annoying, to Say the Least

By Steven Taylor @ 9:12 am

The BCS is quite annoying: | Texas inches up to 5th in BCS

It’s an all-too-familiar scenario for the Longhorns, who would be left out of the BCS party if the current standings hold up through the end of the regular season

Texas already knows how it feels to be fifth in the BCS standings and miss out. It happened last season when Kansas State’s upset of Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game sent Texas to the non-BCS Holiday Bowl.

Working against Texas this year is the new BCS stipulation that rewards a team from outside the six BCS conferences for finishing in the top six of the standings.

Mountain West Conference leader Utah only needs to remain in the top six to become the first non-BCS school ever to get an at-large bid under the BCS system. The Utes host 5-5 Brigham Young on Saturday.

California, currently fourth in the BCS rankings, could secure the other at-large bid with wins over Stanford and Southern Mississippi.

That would mean another disappointing BCS end for Texas, which would likely end up playing in the Cotton Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

It seems to me that the BCS Bowls should just take the top ranked teams in the nation and do away with the automatic conference winners. Really, it is ridiculous that this could happen (indeed, the system is designed this way):

the Big East champion gets an automatic bid into one of the four BCS bowls, and current leader Boston College (7-2) is ranked 21st in the BCS, 16 spots behind Texas.

Granted, if Texas would take care of business and beat OU, this would be moot. But just from the perspective of wanting to see the best match-ups in the bowls, surely taking the top 8 in the polls and letting them play would be better than how we do it. Of course, that smacks of a semi-playoff, and we can’t have that, now can we?

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By Steven Taylor @ 7:47 am

I hadn’t looked a the historic numbers, but the following factoid is pretty remarkable:

Reid, 64, takes command of a party that will have only 44 seats when the new Congress convenes in January, fewer than at any time since Herbert Hoover sat in the White House, according to records on the Senate’s Web site.

It is a 74-year low.

Source: Reid Poised to Be Senate Democratic Leader

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Speaking of How Bad Dallas Was Last Night…

By Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

Via the DMN

It was the most points the Cowboys had allowed in a home game, eclipsing the 48-7 loss to Cleveland at the Cotton Bowl in 1960.


Thoughts on the Shooting Incidence from Iraq

By Steven Taylor @ 7:35 am

In regards to this: TV Report Says Marine Shot Prisoner I will say the following:

1) Shooting an unarmed, wounded enemy is unacceptable, if, in fact, it is clear that the person is question is wounded and unarmed. From what I have seen, this seems to be the case (I will admit that because the children were in the room, I fast-forwarded through the actual footage yesterday). However, it seems somewhat unfair to make an immediate judgment on this issue from just a few minutes of video.

2) I will admit that in the context of guerrilla fighting and booby-trapped bodies, I can see how something like this could have happened.

3) At a minimum, this incident will provide substantial grist for the al Jazeera mill.

4) The incident will ignite a debate over the use of embeds and will probably inspire some military types to want to create restrictions on the press in these types of situation.

5) The situation does reveal one of the many ugly sides of war-this is hardly anything new (aside for the presence of the media on site). Indeed, given the substantial amount of media coverage of this entire war, it should give the American public some solace as to how few of such incidences that we have seen.

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What!?! Does the President Know About This?

By Steven Taylor @ 7:17 am

Coffee Rises to 3-Month High After Inventories Drop

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NJ Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 5:47 am

Not only do I still object, on democratic grounds, that McGreevey waited to formally resign after the deadline that would have allowed voters to have replaced him, this just seems unseemly, if not borderline unethical:

When he takes over from Mr. McGreevey, Mr. Codey said, he will burrow into the State House, cutting deals instead of ribbons and shaking hands with legislators. He will be dealing from strength: The acting governor will also remain Senate president, and he has not ruled out seeking the nomination to run for governor next November.

I mean, let’s just grab on to as much power as we can, and not let go, shall we?

It is always good to know, in a sad sort of way, that there are example of pathetic state politics outside of Alabama…

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Rummy to Stay?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:40 am

The vibe/speculation seems to be that Rumsfeld will stay on for a while, maybe up tot two years.

He himself said:

“I have not discussed that with the president, and I think I would prefer to discuss that with him before I discuss that with you,” Rumsfeld told reporters when asked if he had submitted his resignation to Bush as Powell and several other Cabinet members have done following Bush’s re-election this month.

Pressed on whether he had formally offered to resign, he added, “I haven’t discussed that with him at all, in writing, or orally.” Rumsfeld spoke to reporters traveling with him on a Latin American trip.

We shall see. One begins to get the feeling that the Bush administration has been doing a fairly good job of being prepared for the cabinet changes and has been obtaining resignations and then making appointments with remarkable alacrity.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Rummy hasn’t kept his plans to himself, but it does seem likely that if he wanted to go in this first wave, that he would’ve let the President know by now.

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Monday, November 15, 2004
Have I Mentioned…

By Steven Taylor @ 11:04 pm

…that the Dallas Cowboys are horrible?

I probably have.

Gee whiz: no running game and what happened to the #1 defense we had last year? Yeesh.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

By Steven Taylor @ 11:02 pm

Peru seizes cocaine haul hidden in giant squid

Peruvian police said on Monday they seized nearly 700kg of cocaine hidden in frozen giant squid bound for Mexico and the United States.

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Hadley to Become National Security Adviser?

By Steven Taylor @ 10:30 pm

The AP reports that

Stephen Hadley, now the deputy national security adviser, is expected to replace Rice at the White House, the official said.

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What a Shame

By Steven Taylor @ 7:38 pm

FDA Orders Viagra to Pull ‘Wild Thing’ Ad:

The government ordered Pfizer Inc. to yank cheeky television ads that promised better sex for men taking Viagra because they failed to disclose known risks associated with the drug, according to a letter released on Monday.

Not to mention the fact that the ad was not only tacky, but seemed to suggest that the typical Viagra consumer was a relatively young fellow with an even younger, quite attractive, wife who will be having a wild time as a result of the little blue pill.

Somehow, I am guessing that isn’t the profile of the typical ED sufferer

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It’s Condi

By Steven Taylor @ 5:54 pm

Via the AP: Bush Chooses Rice to Replace Powell

President Bush has chosen national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state in his second term, a senior administration official said Monday.

As expected.

And I will give the Bush administration credit-there’s no fooling around making us wait on these nominations It is as if they are tuned into the impatient internet culture of bloggers!

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As Expected

By Steven Taylor @ 1:15 pm

Rice Is Top Candidate to Replace Powell -Sources

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Mehlman Replaces Gillespie at RNC

By Steven Taylor @ 1:07 pm

Via the AP: Bush Names Campaign Manager to Head GOP

President Bush on Monday tapped the manager of his re-election campaign, Ken Mehlman, to head the Republican Party.

Mehlman, a protege of chief White House strategist Karl Rove, is Bush’s pick to replace party chairman Ed Gillespie, who is returning to the private sector.

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Nominations are Now Open

By Steven Taylor @ 12:43 pm

It’s the 2004 Weblog Awards (and this year with its own domain and everything).

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Schumer Eschews Run at Governor’s Mansion

By Steven Taylor @ 12:20 pm

Via the AP: Schumer to Drop Governor’s Race

Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday he has ruled out a run for New York governor in 2006 and instead will head the Democratic Party’s effort to win seats in the Senate.

Interesting. One wonders, on the other side of the aisle, if Rudy will make a run for it. If so, he may be a shoe-in, as Schumer may have been one of the few politicians who could have made that race competitive.

2006 could be interesing in New York, as either Pataki or Giuliani could make a run at Hillary’s Senate seat.

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CNN on Political Bloggers

By Steven Taylor @ 12:16 pm

Via CNN comes the question: How do bloggers impact political news? It is a question that the piece doesn’t answer.

Instead, we get quotes from Ana Marie Cox, the seemingly ubiquitous Wonkette-who is more a political gossip columnist/sex-joke writer than the exemplar of the political blogger-and criticisms of the release of the exit polls via blogs.

First, I wish the authors of these pieces would do their homework: both Slate and Drudge have been known to release exit polling data in the last several cycles-and that was P.B. (i.e., pre-blog-or, at least, pre-blogger as a recognized phenom). Second, it isn’t as if viewers couldn’t tell what the exit polling info said based on the demeanors of various tv personalities/the campaign staffs. So this idea that it was those darn bloggers letting the exit poll data out of the bag when it otherwise would have been secret, secret, secret is sheer nonsense.

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Ag Secretary to Go as Well

By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

Via the AP: Powell and Three Others to Leave Cabinet we find that the four going today are Paige (Education), Abraham (Energy), Veneman (Agriculture) and Powell (State).

Paige’s resignation leaked out last week and Powell’s was expected, although perhaps not this quickly. Quite frankly, the Energy and Agriculture shifts are yawners at best.

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Speaking of SecStates…

By Steven Taylor @ 9:56 am

Before anyone gets too excited about Powell leaving, I would remind everyone that a two-term SecState is unusual, as this classic from the PoliBlog archives demonstrates:

it is not the norm for a President to have the same SecState for two terms-Reagan had 2 (Haig and Schultz) as did Clinton (Christopher and Albright)-heck, 41 had two in his one term (Baker and Eagleburger) and, gee whiz, Washington had three (Jefferson, Randolph and Pickering).

Now, granted, some have served for lengthy periods: Madison (1801-1809), Cordell Hull (1933-1944), and Dean Rusk (1961-1969)-however, the norm is for far shorter. A quick scan of the list suggests that the average over time is under four years (I am too lazy to run the numbers).

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Powell to Leave

By Steven Taylor @ 8:41 am

So reports Fox News via Jeff Quinton. Also leaving: Spencer Abraham from Energy (which was expected),

Indeed, yesterday Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday stated that he had learned that four departures would be announced today.

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By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

Yahoo! Hires Founder

Yahoo! tapped Neil Budde, founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Online, to run its news division, starting Monday. Budde will be based in Yahoo!’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. and will report to former CNN executive Craig Forman, said Yahoo! spokeswoman Joanna Stevens.

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Creator of “The Flash” Dies

By Steven Taylor @ 6:49 am

Via the AP: Creator of Superhero ‘The Flash’ Dies

Harry Lampert, the illustrator who created the DC Comics superhero ‘The Flash’ and later became known for his instructional books on bridge, died Saturday. He was 88.


Six years later, Lampert created the DC Comics original “Flash Comics 1″ in 1940, collaborating with writer Gardner Fox. The first-edition featuring the physics-defying superhero has become a classic among comic book collectors.

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They Count Slowly in NM

By Steven Taylor @ 6:42 am

Seems like NM took forever in 2000 as well: N.M. Still Counting Provisional Ballots

Nearly two weeks after John Kerry conceded the election and President Bush laid out his agenda, New Mexico is among several states that have yet to determine the winner’s margin of victory.


The state canvassing board will not certify the results until Nov. 23 %u2014 after the uncounted votes are compiled, but officials said there was no chance Kerry could win the state.

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Won’t That Just Make the Pills Bigger?

By Steven Taylor @ 6:39 am

I mean, they’re often hard enough to swallow as it is: Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs.

And really, this reeks of the USA PATRIOT ACT and Ashcroft. First the library records, now this.

Has the ACLU been informed?

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Sunday, November 14, 2004
Warner in ‘08

By Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

Via WaPp: Speculation Grows On Presidential Bid For Warner in 2008

“The Democratic Party needs to do now what we did during the period between 1989 and 1992,” said Al From, the founder of the Democratic Leadership Council. “It needs to redefine itself by challenging a lot of the old orthodoxies. Mark Warner’s biggest contribution to our party can be redefining our brand and what it stands for.”

One challenge for Warner is finding something to do after he leaves office. Virginia’s constitution prohibits governors from succeeding themselves.

Clearly Warner is the kind of candidate that the Democrats are going to be lookng for in 2008.

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It’s a Tie for #2 in the AP

By Steven Taylor @ 3:49 pm

AP Poll: Auburn, Oklahoma fit to be tied at No. 2

Auburn caught Oklahoma in The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday, creating a tie for second place behind No. 1 Southern California.

It’s just the second tie for No. 2 in the history of the AP media poll. The other was Nov. 3, 1991, when Miami and Washington were tied behind No. 1 Florida State.

Quite frankly after the way they beat Georgia yesterday, it is pretty clear Auburn deserves either ther the #2 or even the #1 slot. Surely if they beat Alabama and then win the SEC, they deserve a shot at the title game. (And no, even though I live in Alabama, I am not a homer-indeed, I am largely agnostic on the local teams, but it is just hard to argue with the success that the Tigers have had).

Auburn is with a hair of #2 in the Coaches’ Poll: Auburn closes on Oklahoma in coaches’ poll.

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Just Spell His Name Right

By Steven Taylor @ 2:03 pm

Losing by 335,000 in N.H., Nader Demands a Recount

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who lost by about 335,000 votes in New Hampshire, has asked the state for a recount.

No, the longtime consumer advocate is not hoping to change last week’s outcome in the Granite State, where Democrat John F. Kerry was the winner. Rather, he said, he is concerned about the veracity of the results.

“We have received reports of irregularities in the vote reported on the AccuVote Diebold Machines in comparison to exit polls and trends in voting in New Hampshire,” Nader wrote Secretary of State William M. Gardner. “These irregularities favor President George W. Bush by 5% to 15% over what was expected.”

Can someone explain to me why exit polls should be considered more trustworthy than actual votes?

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The 28th Amendment?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:58 am

Via the AP: Ads Back Schwarzenegger for President.

It is quite interesting (although not all that surprising) that the push for this has already started.

My guess is that while it is possible that an amendment to the Constitution allowing foreign-born persons to seek the presidency will eventually pass, I am guessing that if it does pass it will be written in a way that makes its impossible for Schwarzenegger to run (e.g., having it not take effect for 20 years or somesuch). While I think it extremely doubtful that Arnold could win the GOP nomination, I also think it radically unlikely that the Democrats would be willing to even open up that possibility.

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By Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was on Fox News Sunday attempting to re-cast the discussion of the so-called “nuclear option” (i.e., changing the filibuster rules in the Senate in regards to judicial nominees) as the “Constitutional option". He is arguing (I think correctly) that by allowing a procedural tool (which is what the filibuster is) to block the Senate from voting on a nominee damages the constitutional roles of the Senate to engage in advice and consent on the president’s nominees.

The attempt to change the marketing of the terminology strikes me as a signal that he is laying the groundwork for a future fight on this topic. Further, it strikes me that if he is going to run for President in 2008 he needs to have had success over the judicial nominee business both to give him cred with the social conservatives, but in general to demonstrate his ability to lead effectively.

Of course, if he really wants to be president, his next goal should be to be governor of Tennessee.

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The Minority Leader-in-Waiting

By Steven Taylor @ 10:45 am

Via the NYT we get a profile of Harry Reid, the presumptive Democratic Leader in the Senate (New Democratic Leader in Senate Is Atypical Choice). It provides some interesting information:

He is a teetotaling Mormon, a former Capitol Hill police officer who opposes abortion and was a cosponsor of the constitutional amendment banning flag-burning. He is a little-known senator from a red state whose considerable skills do not include being a compelling presence on television or behind a lectern.

On the one hand, these position issues could indicate a moderate move for the Democrats. On the other, if he is indeed pro-life, how will he be able to lead the charge against Bush’s judicial nominees where the issue is going to abortion, without being accused of hypocrisy and giving his electoral opponents in Nevada a weapon to use against him when he runs again?

Also, he lack of dynamism in public could be an issues as well (not that Frist is Mr. Exciting-nor was Dachle, for that matter). Along those lines we have Biden’s comment:

“The idea that people are looking at Harry to sort of be the spokesperson of the Democratic Party, that’s not a role all majority leaders have filled before,” said Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. “I can’t picture Harry on the Sunday shows every Sunday. I don’t think that’s his strength. His real strength is inside baseball, knowing the Senate, knowing the procedures.”

The thing is that in the last four years, the Democratic Leader in the Senate has been the primary spokesman for the opposition, so one wonders if whether Reid can step up to the plate, or, if not, who that spokesperson will be.

At any rate, it should be interesting.

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Give Carville Credit

By Steven Taylor @ 10:16 am

I will give James Carville a ton of credit: he was gracious and amusing in defeat on MTP this morning. He also showed himself to be the smart political analyst he actually is (a role he often hides behind the rajin’ cajun routine).

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 pm

After the griping about the hotel in Las Vegas, I can say without hesitation that the Marriot in Huntsville, AL is quite nice. I would highly recommend it.

In fact, Huntsville is a very pleasant city. This was my first visit since going through on a family vacation over twenty years ago to stop at the US Space and Rocket Center.

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The Things You Hear at IHOP

By Steven Taylor @ 10:03 pm

A snippet of a conversation (amongst about 6 college age kids) overheard at the IHOP south of Birmingham, AL earlier this evening:

First kid: “….and they don’t even know what a grit is. Heck, I don’t know what a grit is, but they’re good!

Second kid: “I think it is some kinda rice.”

First kid: “No, I think it’s some kinda corn….”

For some reason, I found the whole thing rather amusing.

And yes, regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

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Friday, November 12, 2004
Trouble in Mosul

By Steven Taylor @ 8:50 pm

Via the AP: Police Lose Control of Mosul Amid Uprising

The Iraqi government rushed reinforcements Friday to the country’s third-largest city, Mosul, seeking to quell a deadly militant uprising that U.S. officials suspected may be in support of the resistance in Fallujah-now said to be under 80 percent U.S. control.

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The Next to Go: Paige

By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 pm

Via the AP: Official: Paige to Leave Education Post

Rod Paige, who rose from racial segregation to become the nation’s first black education secretary, intends to leave his Cabinet position, an administration official told The Associated Press Friday.

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Blogging Forecast

By Steven Taylor @ 7:48 am

There will be a 0% chance of blogging through the morning and afternoon hours with light and variable blogging this evening.

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An Odd Strategy

By Steven Taylor @ 7:26 am

Via the NYT: Choice of Gonzales May Blaze a Trail for the High Court

Republicans close to the White House said on Thursday that the choice of Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general was part of a political strategy to bolster Mr. Gonzales’s credentials with conservatives and position him for a possible Supreme Court appointment.

These Republicans said Mr. Gonzales had been widely viewed as one of President Bush’s top choices for the court. But by first sending him to the Justice Department, they said, Mr. Bush could then nominate a conservative favored by his political base to fill the first vacancy that arises.

For Mr. Gonzales, tenure as attorney general would allow him to demonstrate his reliability to conservative leaders, many of whom say they are unsure of his views on issues like abortion and affirmative action, Republicans said. One Republican said Mr. Gonzales’s nomination hearings in Congress would also “get out of the way'’ the debate over legal memorandums that Mr. Gonzales supervised as White House counsel. Civil rights groups say memorandums about the treatment of captured terrorism suspects appeared to endorse the torture of some prisoners and opened the door to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The strategy, which Republicans said was in large part the work of Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser, would clear the way for Mr. Bush to make his first nomination to the Supreme Court a trusted conservative, thus showing gratitude to his political base for the large role they played in giving him a second term.

Hmm. I am thinking that of the places to send someone to prepare them politically for a Supreme Court nomination, this doesn’t strike me as the best place to be sent. AG’s are almost always placed in controversial positions, and relentlessly criticized. Further, in a post-Bork world the goal has seemingly (and unfortunately) been to find nominees with a limited paper trail. Somehow sending a guy to run Justice doesn’t exactly fit that bill.

Not to mention that anything that Gonzales does as AG that will reassure social conservatives is only going to enrage Democratic Senators-so I am not sure this is all that smart a plan, politically, if, indeed, it is the plan at all.

I do agree with the following contention in the article:

The theory, the Republican said, is that Mr. Bush will be at the apex of his power at the beginning of the second term, and in a strong position to battle Democrats in any Supreme Court confirmation fight. “So you do the toughest nominee first,'’ the Republican said.

So, one would expect a fairly conservative first move-lending some credence to the Clarence Thomas as CJ rumor.

It will be interesting in any event.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004
Remarkable: Housing Still Hot

By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 pm

Via the CSM: Pessimists will have to wait, as housing boom rolls on

Remember that great real estate bubble?

It appears almost as buoyant as ever, despite the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for the fourth time since June.

In some areas like the Midwest, the housing boom has settled down to a steady, reliable hum as demand has begun to level off. But in many other parts of the country, housing is still very hot.

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Many Things are “Conceivable”

By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 pm

However, not all that is conceivable is likely, or even a good idea: Kerry run in ‘08 called conceivable

While Senator John F. Kerry is “profoundly disappointed” with losing his presidential race last week, it is “conceivable” he will run again in four years, his brother and political confidant, Cameron F. Kerry, said yesterday.

On balance, I subscribe to the theory that once you’ve lost, it is awfully hard to come back and win in the post-reform (i.e., primary) era. It is one thing to lose the nomination and then ome back to win the chance to run (as did Reagan, Bush 41, Dole and Gore), yet another to lose the election and come back, Nixon did it, but he had to sit out eight years-and even then he had been the Vice President.

Kerry’s weaknesses won’t be any less significant in 2008 and by then there will be a new field of challengers.

And, fair or not, Americans don’t like losers and certainly American political parties are wary of giving a loser a second shot, so it seems to me that Kerry would have a very difficult time getting the nod a second time.

Further, as the article notes, the timing of the next race is problemaic for Kerry:

Such a run could pose a dilemma for Kerry: His Senate seat is up for reelection in 2008, and talk of a presidential campaign could spur challengers from both parties and force him to decide whether to seek reelection or run for the White House.

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  • Presidential Primaries 2008 linked with PoliBlog � Many Things are “Conceivable”

By Steven Taylor @ 10:23 am

I am going to be heading out to Huntsville, AL for the ACUFP meeting in a bit, so no blogging for a while-although I do have access at hotel, so won’t be totally silent.

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Dreamer? Not. How About Spinner of Nightmares?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:35 am

Vai WaPo: A Dreamer Who Forced His Cause Onto World

For virtually his entire adult life, Yasser Arafat had one dream, and he pursued it with such energy and zeal - some would say fanaticism - that he came to personify the dream itself.

The dream was of self-determination and statehood for the Palestinian people, and in the end he did not live to see it.

A dreamer who simply died before his dream could be fulfilled!? A rather rosy assessment, if you ask me. While the story does mention the following, it is treated almost as a footnote:

in 2000 he was unwilling or unable to close a deal with Israel to put an end to the two sides’ century-long conflict. Many concluded that Arafat had never truly reconciled himself to Israel’s existence or the permanent exile of Palestinian refugees expelled from their ancestral homes by Israel.

And I would say that that understates what he turned down. The Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 administrations have all supported the idea of a Palestinian state and a state could have been realized-Arafat didn’t want a state (at least not as long as Israel continued to exist, it would seem), so I have a hard time with this romantic view of the visionary guerrilla who simply failed to get what he wanted.

Further, did he use all the money he received from the US and the Europeans to aid the people for whom he allegedly dreamed? Sadly, no.

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  • Hennessy\’s View linked with Arafat
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Arafat Dead

By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 am

It would seem that this time, it is true: Arafat, Icon of Palestinian Cause, Dead at 75. Given that he was a corrupt leader who was an impediment to peace and one of the fathers of modern terrorism, I hardly mourn his death.

Indeed, I find the irony of the following from the Reuters story rather great, as it note that he died with “his dream of a Palestinian state unfulfilled.” There is no mention of the the fact that there could have been sucha state, but when offered the deal of deals, Arafat rejected it and preferred instead to keep his people stateless and to continue a protracted, bloddy and hopeless struggle.

I know that there are many in the world who see him as a freedom fighter. Certainly, I am not to be counted in that number.

For further coverage and commentary, see Jeff Quinton.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Impressive and Surprising

By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 pm

Via the Birmingham News: State gets record turnout of voters

Never before have as many Alabamians voted in a presidential election as they did in Tuesday’s contest and never has a winning candidate received the number of votes that George W. Bush did.

Unofficial and incomplete returns show that nearly 1.9 million Alabamians cast ballots for president on Tuesday. That amounts to about 72 percent of the state’s registered voters. The overall turnout figure is likely to go up because it does not include yet-to-be-counted provisional ballots, but for now, it stands at 1,883,574.

Given that there were not seriously contested statewide races on the ballot, that is a remarkable percentage.

And more underscoring of how “red” (man, how the meaning of words can change) Alabama is:

Democrats have lost seven consecutive presidential elections in Alabama. Their last victory came in 1976, when former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter carried 60 counties in winning 56 percent to 43 percent over Republican President Gerald Ford. In 1980, when he narrowly lost the state to challenger Ronald Reagan, Carter still carried 42 counties.

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Report: It’s Gonzalez

By Steven Taylor @ 11:02 am

Via the AP: Gonzales to Succeed Ashcroft, Sources Say

President Bush has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and one of the most prominent Hispanics in the administration, to succeed Attorney General John Ashcroft, sources close to the White House said Wednesday.

I am mildly surprised, as I figured that because of connections to Abu Ghraib and various memos about the treatment of terror suspects that the political stakes might be too high to appoint Gonzales.

On the other hand, Bush trusts him and has a lengthy history with him, so in that regard this isn’t a big shock.

It also plays in to the speculation over the Supremes, as Gonzalez was oft-mentioned when it came to potential vacancies. This may relieve the stress of some conservatives on this count, as many thought him to be unreliable on the abortion (and other) issues.

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  • Diggers Realm linked with Alberto Gonzalez To Replace John Ashcroft As Attorney General

By Steven Taylor @ 6:56 am

Via WaPo: With ‘Scramjet,’ NASA Shoots for Mach 10

They call it a “scramjet,” an engine so blindingly fast that it could carry an airplane from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., in about 20 minutes - or even quicker. So fast it could put satellites in space. So fast it could drop a cruise missile on an enemy target, almost like shooting a rifle.

Next week, NASA plans to break the aircraft speed record for the second time in 7 1/2 months by flying its rocket-assisted X-43A scramjet craft 110,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean at speeds close to Mach 10 - about 7,200 mph, or 10 times the speed of sound.

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What’ll They Think of Next?

By Steven Taylor @ 6:54 am

Liquid Heroin Found in Fruit Juice Boxes

Nearly 100 fruit juice boxes containing liquid heroin were intercepted Wednesday in a shipment from Colombia, federal officials said.

The juice boxes were part of a private shipment that wasn’t destined for the United States food supply, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said. The juice would be deadly if consumed.

The 6-ounce boxes, labeled “Hit Fruit Drink,” contained a total of about 84 pounds of heroin worth $1.7 million.

Customs agents said the juice was initially bought from a grocery store in Colombia, then emptied and refilled with heroin. The shipment was relabeled and five pallets of boxes were shipped alongside pallets of legitimate juice boxes, the agents said.

The pallets were intercepted at an undisclosed location [Dick Cheney was involved!?!-Ed.] in Miami and federal agents are working to track the drug dealers responsible, customs agents said.


Hat tip: one of my students for bringing the story to my attention.

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Allawi Relative Kidnapped

By Steven Taylor @ 6:41 am

Via Reuters: Falluja Battles Rage, Allawi Relatives Seized

The kidnappers took a first cousin of Iyad Allawi, the cousin’s wife and another relative from their home on Tuesday morning, but have made no demands, a government spokesman said.

It was not clear if the abductors were hitting back at Allawi for ordering the U.S.-led assault on Falluja.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Allawi Relatives Kidnapped
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  • Interested-Participant linked with Allawi Relatives Kidnapped, Beheading Threatened
  • ISOU linked with The Evolving face of Terror in Iraq...
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Jeb Gets Annoyed

By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

Via the AP: Gov. Jeb Bush Not Eyeing Presidential Run

Bush reiterated Tuesday that he is not going to run for the Senate when Florida has a seat up in 2006, and said he has no designs on the presidency four years from now.

And he is getting awful tired of the question.

“Might you change your mind?” asked a reporter.

“No!” governor said. “Why am I not believable on this subject? This is driving me nuts.”

I would think.

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  • Presidential Primaries 2008 linked with PoliBlog � Jeb Gets Annoyed
Ashcroft and Evans Resign

By Steven Taylor @ 5:19 pm

The cabinet shuffle begins: Ashcroft, Evans resign from Bush Cabinet

Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans resigned Tuesday, the first members of President Bush’s Cabinet to leave as he headed from re-election into his second term.

Neither is a big surprise, nor indicative of problems. One would guess that Ashcroft would be exhausted and word is that Evans wants to get back to Texas. He will likely remain an advisor to the President.

And the speculation begins:

One name being mentioned for Evans’ job at Commerce is Mercer Reynolds, national finance chairman for the Bush campaign, who raised more than $260 million to get him re-elected.

Speculation about a successor to Ashcroft has centered on his former deputy, Larry Thompson, who recently took a job as general counsel at PepsiCo. If appointed, Thompson would be the nation’s first black attorney general. Others prominently mentioned include Bush’s 2004 campaign chairman, former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, and White House general counsel Alberto Gonzales.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Ashcroft, Evans resign from Cabinet
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Polling the Polls

By Steven Taylor @ 4:45 pm

DJ Drummond at PoliPundit compares votes to polls and ranks the polls on how well they did in the state-by-state prediction game.

Someone needs to make a chart of this stuf…

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The Rocket Wins 7th Cy Young

By Steven Taylor @ 4:20 pm

Most impressive: Clemens Wins Record 7th Cy Young Award

So, as Clemens soared through a stay-at-home season in which the Astros allowed him to skip some road trips, he became the oldest player to win the Cy Young, the first to win the pitching awards from the Baseball Writers Association of America with four teams and the first to win eight awards from the association. In 1986, Clemens was also the Most Valuable Player.

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Not a Good Idea for the DNC

By Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

Via WaTi: Dean ‘thinking about’ bid for top DNC post

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party.

“He told me he was thinking about it,” Steve Grossman, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said yesterday. Mr. Grossman was a Dean backer during the former Vermont governor’s failed presidential bid.

Mr. Dean, who was in Albany, N.Y., last night to give a speech, said he hasn’t decided about the top party job, noting he’d received thousands of e-mails urging him to try for it. He said he’s still uncertain about his future.

While there is no doubt that there are segments of the party that would welcome Dean to the post, it strikes me that picking a Northeastern liberal would not be the way to go. Further, Dean’s personality has a serious confrontation element to it, and combatitveness is not what a Party needs for its national face when one of its strategic goals needs to be expanding their appeal.

Hat tip: Betsy’s Page.

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Chafee Says No to Switcheroo

By Steven Taylor @ 12:24 pm

So reports CNN via Dave Wissing:

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who flirted with changing political parties in the wake of President Bush’s re-election victory, says he will stay in the GOP.

“My Republican colleagues have let me know that they want me in their caucus,” the Rhode Island senator said Monday.

Unlike Jeffords, whose switch changed the partisan balance of the Senate (and netted him a boatload of gratitiude (i.e., a Chairmanship) from the Democrats), Chafee has very almost nothing to gain by switching, as he would go from the majority to the minority. And to put it bluntly: being in the minority sucks (less som in the Senate than in the House, but still).

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  • PunditGuy linked with On the Outside Looking In
Wowie: Wannstedt Resigns

By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

Via the AP: Dolphins’ Wannstedt resigns after 1-8 start

Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt called it quits Tuesday midway through a dismal season that began with the retirement of running back Ricky Williams and has left the team with the NFL’s worst record at 1-8.

Defensive coordinator Jim Bates was promoted to interim coach.

Somehow I am thinking this is Dave’s last NFL head coaching position.

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More on Blogging and the MSM

By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 am

Former print journalist Joe Gandelman comments on the Eric Engberg piece that described Blogging As Typing, Not Journalism.

Now, as I keep saying: I agree that blogging isn’t normally reporting, but it is certainly more than typing. Just read the above by Gandelman and the second link goes to Joyner’s comments on the topic, which are on the mark.

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The “Values” Question

By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 am

One of the handful of things I make sure to teach my general studies American Government students about polling is that the wording of the question is key to interpreting what the responses mean. Specifically I note that the vaguer the wording, the more difficult it is to know what the respondents are responding to.

That bring us to the exit polls from last Tuesday and the much touted fact that “moral values” topped the list of what voters cared about most:

The fact that “moral values” beat out “economy/jobs” by a whopping 2 percentage points, and terrorism by 3 has been translated, by many on both the right and the left as the key to understanding this election. Many on the right have interpreted “moral values” to mean, quite specifically, evangelical Christian values and a mandate to have certain types of persons appointed to the Supreme Court sans a fight (and to oust Specter from the Judiciary with ease, among other things such as dismissing the idea that the gay marriage amendment is dead) or proof of the fact that non-evangelicals suffered a devastating loss. This is hardly the case.

Many on the left have interpreted “moral values” to primarily mean “gay marriage” and further to interpret it as evidence of bigotry on the right, or the idea that the GOP (and Bush in particular) wants to destroy the wall of separation between church and state. This, too, is not the case.

First, for those willing to address the matter objectively: we really don’t know what voters thought “moral values” meant. Not only were voters having to interpret that category, but ex post the analysts are pouring whatever meaning they want into the concept. It could mean, to any given voter: abortion, gay marriage, honesty, integrity, general good behavior, specific religious values, family, whatever.

Second, let’s look at the numbers: “moral values” was the leader of top issues with 22%-that means that 78% of votes had some other issue that was their top priority. Further, “economy/jobs” and “terrorism” where a close second and third. And more to the point, the scope of these categories is not constant. For example, should “taxes” (which got 5%) be integrated into “economy/jobs”? Also, should “Iraq” (15%) be integrated into “terrorism” into a general “security” category that would have scored 34%? Indeed, that last number underscore that this election was primarily about security (whether for or against the Bush policies).

As such, I would argue that far, far, far too much is being made, on both sides, of the significance of the “moral values” number. Do the Democrats need to find a candidate who understands these issues in a generic sense? Yes. Is there a religion gap in the US, especially in terms of politics? Yes, there is. Is it the primary explanation of the outcome of this contest? No. However, if one has watched or read much in terms of post mortems the past week, one would think that that question scores 50% or more in the poll (and that we had a solid definition of what “moral values” means in this poll).

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  • The Moderate Voice linked with So What WERE The "Moral Values" Voters Voted For?
  • Dean\’s World linked with Moral Values
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  • Random Fate linked with More on "moral values"
  • Who Can Really Say? linked with Kerry Lost Becaue of Michael Moore
When Catwoman Attacks!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 am

Via Reuters: Actor Sues ‘Catwoman’ for Harassment

Actor Jim Belushi says his next-door neighbor, actress Julie Newmar, is spying on him, destroying his property and calling him names behind his back.


Belushi says that Newmar, 71, destroyed a fence and landscaping on his property, spied on the actor and his family and directed loud music into his backyard.

The star of the ABC sitcom “According to Jim” also accuses Newmar of spreading defamatory statements about him by calling him a “Peeping Tom,” a “voyeur” and “sick.”

The suit, filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court and made public on Monday, describes Newmar’s behavior as “an effort to force Belushi to move from his home.”


Newmar was involved in a highly publicized dispute with neighbors several years ago over the din created by gardeners using gas-powered leaf blowers.

Most bizarre.

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Arafat Dead?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:26 am

Yes, reports Reuters: Yasser Arafat ‘Dead’ - Palestinian Sources Say

“He is dead,” one of the sources close to Arafat said in Paris, where Arafat has been lying in a coma at a French hospital. Officials in the West Bank said they had not been informed that Arafat was dead.

On the one hand, Arafat has been a clear impediment to peace. Indeed, given his response to the Camp David Accords, and his subsequent behavior, I am of the opinion that peace was never his goal. Even more damning than that, he did not seem truly interested in improving the conditions of the Palestinians. Indeed, how the man was ever considered for the Peace Prize, or why he is admired by so many, utterly escapes me.

His death provides the chance for a more moderate leade to emerge, but also for the chance of a more terror-oriented group to his to the top, or for intenal strife to break out.

The great losers continue to be the Palestinian people.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Arafat Close to Death
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Monday, November 8, 2004
On the Gay Marriage Amendment

By Steven Taylor @ 8:02 pm

Several readers have responded to my statement this morning that pursuing a federal marriage amendment would be politically foolish by stating that it would 1) reward evangelical voters and 2) it would keep the issue alive politically for the next election.

First off, both of those assumptions seem based on the idea that it was in fact gay marriage that delivered the presidency for Bush. As numerous posts have demonstrated here and elsewhere over the past several days, an examination of the data does not support that proposition. Further, if the issue one of reward, what kind of reward is a failed vote?

Indeed, that leads me to the bottom line: it would be utterly foolish for Bush to pursue the gay marriage amendment for the simple reason that it would lose (there can be no doubt about that fact). Why spend time, effort and energy on a loser (and one likely to garner bad press)? If the issue is one of “rewards” one guesses that the evangelicals would prefer conservative judges on the bench—a fight that might could actually be won-over a faux fight that wastes political capital for a foregone conclusion that will be utter failure. If the Presidnet pursues the gay marriage amendment, loses, and is furher painted as a right-wing extremist on social issues that will simply demand his ability to appoint conservative, constructionist judges. Is a losing fight really worth creating that type of scenario?

Further, not only is engaging in an activity that will certainly fail a bad idea in terms of waste, it is not politically smart to work hard just to label oneself a loser. Such things do matter, in the grand scheme of things. Don Quixote is all fine and good, but tilting at windmills isn’t always good politics—and in this case it would be very bad politics.

If the president has any illusions about serious tax reform, social security reform, and winning the coming fights on the court nominations, then there is no point engaging in a doomed fight when there are plenty of difficult fights to be had.

Don’t forget: it takes 2/3rds of both chambers of Congress to propose an amendment. If Bush couldn’t get 60 Senators for his judicial nominees in the 108th Congress, by what magic will he get 67 for a gay marriage ban in the 109th? And that is moot, because he couldn’t get the need votes in the House, either (it’s not like it was close in the recent vote).

Further, since it would appear for the moment that DOMA is working, and the states are deciding, there is even more reason not to engage in a fight. And if DOMA is challenged, where will it end up? The Supreme Court—which brings us back to what the important fights may well be (not to mention more winnable ones).

It is really all a matter of practical politics.

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Signs of Economic Health

By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 pm

Via the CSM: Rate hikes as a sign of financial pep.

The Fed has already raised rates three times this year - a testament to an economy that has enough momentum to shrug off such moves. The fact that the central bank is poised to tap the brakes once again signals that the economy may have gotten past the soft patch it hit this summer when skyrocketing oil prices caused growth to slow.

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By Steven Taylor @ 4:24 pm

Via the AP: Cuban Businesses No Longer Accept Dollars

After a decade as the dominant currency to buy everything from shampoo to canned food to furniture, the U.S. dollar was eliminated from circulation Monday in Cuba.

For the longest time the only viable part of the Cuban economy, the tourist component, has operated with the dollar as the means of exchange.

I think I can see why the change is taking place, however:

Cubans as well as tourists visiting the island must now use a local currency tied to the dollar. Cuba’s communist government announced the change Oct. 25, prompting thousands of Cubans to flood banks and exchange houses to turn in their dollars for Cuban convertible pesos.

A 10 percent surcharge to convert the U.S. currency into pesos was to have taken effect Monday, but because of the huge demand to dispose of the U.S. bills, the Central Bank extended the surcharge-free period to next Sunday.

Indeed, it is rather shocking that they never thought of this before.

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On Exit Polls and Conspiracy Theories

By Steven Taylor @ 12:11 pm

I am no fan of Dick Morris, but point to this piece on exit polling from The Hill for a broader view on the issue of the exit polls.

Writes Morris:

Exit polls are almost never wrong.


But this Tuesday, the networks did get the exit polls wrong. Not just some of them. They got all of the Bush states wrong. So, according to ABC-TV’s exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points.

To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.

He goes on to argue that he sees systematic bias in the polling:

Next to the forged documents that sent CBS on a jihad against Bush’s National Guard service and the planned “60 Minutes” ambush over the so-called missing explosives two days before the polls opened, the possibility of biased exit polling, deliberately manipulated to try to chill the Bush turnout, must be seriously considered.

Given that there have been exit polling problems in 2000, 2002 and now 2004, I take the Occam’s Razor approach and subscribe to the theory that something is wrong with the exit pollsters, so I am not so convinced that the exit pollsters deliberately set out to chill the Bush vote.

However, the amusing thing (and what led me to the Morris piece in the first place) is that the anti-Bush conspiracy theorist (the one’s who think the exit polls were right, and the “real” vote was wrong) are citing this Morris piece as evidence that there was widespread fraud in the election.

While they reject Morris’ thesis that the exit polls were wrong, they use Morris’ piece to bolster their claims of fraud:

But I [Thom Hartmann] agree with Fox’s Dick Morris on this one, at least in large part. Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his final paragraph, “This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.”

Understanding that Morris is coming from the perspective of a practioner, I would still say to both them: sometimes lousy work is simply lousy work-conspiracies need not apply.

Further, given that 70% of Ohioans voting on punch cards, it makes the whole “they hacked the Dieblod machines” conspiracy at tad anemic.

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Interesting: Card to Stay

By Steven Taylor @ 11:15 am

Via Card to Remain WH Chief of Staff

Andrew Card will remain as White House chief of staff, the president’s spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday. “Andy Card was honored to accept,” McClellan said. “He serves at the pleasure of the president just like the rest of us.”

Given that there was speculation for a while that he was going to leave during the first term, this is something of a surprise.

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This Strikes Me as Pointless

By Steven Taylor @ 6:54 am

Vai Reuters: Bush to Seek Gay-Marriage Ban in New Term -Aide

Bush’s call for a constitutional ban on gay marriages failed last year in Congress, but his position was seen as a key factor motivating Christian conservatives concerned about “moral values” to turn out in large numbers and help supply Bush with a winning margin in last week’s election.

“If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman,” Bush political aide Karl Rove told “Fox News Sunday.”

Rove said Bush would “absolutely” push the Republican-controlled Congress for a constitutional amendment, which he said was needed to avert the aims of “activist judges” who would permit gay marriages.

There is absolutely, positively, no way that the proposed amendment would get 2/3rds of either house of Congress. As such, this would be a foolish way for Bush to spend the political capital he was speaking of last week. This would be starting a fight one knows one can’t win, which is not smart.

We shall see. I am skeptical that it will be brought up again, to be honest (save in the rhetorical sense).

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Comparing Traffic

By Steven Taylor @ 6:38 am

N. Z. Bear has more on the issue of comparing blog traffic to MSM web sites.

He is liekly correct, although I am not entirely happy with the methodology. Given that it is possible to have actual counts for web sites, unlike for TV, I am not all that pleased with a count based on a survey of web users. However, it is true that since I don’t fully know what the basis is for the CNN/Money numbers that direct comparison to Sitemeter isn’t valid.

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Sunday, November 7, 2004
On Poor Memories of the Campaign

By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

Writes Margaret Carlson in the LAT: A Grim Study in Red and Blue

For Bush, going for those 4 million evangelicals was worth alienating those who were told they were evil for supporting stem cell research and abortion rights and for not seeing Clarence Thomas as the model for the next chief justice.

I know I have been blogging the post-election rantings on these issues a bit much, but I couldn’t let this pass. First, I don’t recall anyone being called evil for supporting stem cell research. I do, however, recall Kerry suggesting that Bush was anti-science and more dramatically recall John Edwards stating that if John Kerry were president, people like Christopher Reeve would be able to get out of their wheelchairs and walk. So, please, spare us all the wounds of campaign hyperbole.

To be fair, both sides said things about the other that were inflammatory-but on the stem cell issue, there is no doubt that the stem cell issue that the Kerry camps deployed far more pointed rhetoric than did the Bushies.

Although yes,I can fully understand why Clarence Thomas isn’t the model Justice for Democrats vis-a-vis the CJ-ship. Shockingly, however, Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t the GOP’s ideal candidate, either. Where’s the shock there? Regardlessm, I don’t recall anyone being tagged “evil” for such a position.

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  • Arguing with signposts… linked with Couldn't let this pass
Blogs v. on Election Night

By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

Stephen Bainbridge reports on a CNN/Money story comparing blog traffic to MSM online sites on Election Eve and Election Night. The story itself is from CNN/Money’s own blog (which is indicative of the importance of blogging in general right there) and concludes that blogs perhaps weren’t that important in 2004 after all.

Here are Wastler’s numbers:

However, not only do I agree with Prof. Bainbridge’s assessment that the impact of blogging goes beyond hit counts, the fellow who did the piece didn’t go very good research.

For example, he notes that blogspot received 333,000 hits on Election Night TypePad received 95,000. First off, I am unclear as to where those numbers came from (yes, it says comscore, but I am unfamiliar nonetheless). Second (and much more importantly) using blogspot as a measure of blogging power is not a very good place to start.

Rather, I would look at the Granddaddy of them all, Instapundit, whose Sitemeter for the week looks like this:

That approximately 420,000 hits for InstaP on Election Night is just shy of a quarter of the hits that received, according to the CNN/Money numbers, and a little less than half what the got.

I myself had over 6000 hits that night, Bainbridge had over 7000, Outside the Beltway had over 14,500 and VodkaPundit had somewhere around 35,000-to name four blogs which sums to ~62,500. Some more: Sully had 370,000ish, Kos had 330,000ish (which is at odds with the 86,000 cited by CNN/Money) and so forth. Indeed, assuming that the 1.8 million number he cites for is correct, it isn’t all that hard to look at the upper echelons of the TTLB to get to that number. Indeed, just the blogs I cited give one about 1,120,000 hits to seven blogs. (All my numbers are from SiteMeters on the sites in question).

I certainly don’t think, nor have ever argued, that blogs will supplant the MSM. However, even some casual research shows that their are quite a few folks out their acquiring at least some information from blogs on election night. Indeed, depending on the numbers in question, in may in fact be that the top blogs combined for hits comparable to MSM web sites.

Update: As per the suggestion of reader Bryan (of Arguing with Signposts), the Command Post had 190,000 hits on Election Night.

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Defining Bigotry

By Steven Taylor @ 4:16 pm

As a follow-up to this post and a comment left on it I would not to all thos who sling terms like bigot, intolerance, and prejudice with great alacrity, could I point out that if one learns only a singular piece of information about another human being, such as how they cast their vote on Tuesday or what their position is on gay marriage, that they automatically assume they know all their is to know about that person and can therefore place that person in a category worthy of derision and dismissal, then that person (who is supposedly enlightened and all that) should review the following definition for “prejudice":

1. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

2. A preconceived preference or idea.

Also, this definition of bigotry:

The state of mind of a bigot; obstinate and unreasoning attachment of one’s own belief and opinions, with narrow-minded intolerance of beliefs opposed to them.

If “all you need to know” about a person is that person’s position on one item of policy, or their religion, how is that any different than a Klansman saying all he needs to know about another human being is the color of their skin?

And I would point back again to these examples of what I am talking about.

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Perhaps Krugman Should Stick to Economics?

By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm

Wrote Paul Krugman earlier this week:

President Bush isn’t a conservative. He’s a radical - the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscerating Social Security and, eventually, Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state
I really have to ask want universe Dr. Krugman is writing from. We are talking about the President who fought for and signed No Child Left Behind, who fought for and signed the largest increase to Medicare since the Great Society (i.e., the prescription drug benefit) and who also signed BCRA, correct?

Pardon me for noting that none of this legislation (whether one likes it or not, qualifies as radical-especially not a radical right-wing New Deal-dismantling radicalism).

And where, oh, where I ask of the left in general (Maureen Dowd made a similar claim on both today’s Meet the Press and The Chris Matthew’s Show is there substantial evidence that the President wants to break down the barriers between church and state? The faith based initiatives have gone nowhere, and are not that radical. There are substantial numbers of people who aren’t evangelicals who aren’t in favor of gay marriage and opposition to abortion by a Republican is nothing new.

Also: Krugman’s analysis of the vote doesn’t make sense: he wants to hang all this evil around the necks of “the religious right” which simulataneously pointing out that those folks are just a small bloc of voters. Rather hard to have that one both ways. Further, it might be useful to actually, oh I don’t know, look at the vote itself and see that Bush didn’t just win because of evangelicals.

And I must concur with Mickey Kaus who notes, in response to Krugman’s clsoing paragraph:

Paul Krugman thinks “opposition to abortion” is “intolerance"-at least if he means what he writes in today’s NYT. Why isn’t opposition to abortion a form of principled idealism with which Krugman disagrees? Who’s intolerant here?


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How Awful

By Steven Taylor @ 2:33 pm

AU Professor Collapses in Classroom

A popular professor died suddenly at Auburn University last week. Dr. William Bancroft collapsed Friday morning of a heart attack during his world literature class.

Police say several of his students administered CPR until paramedics arrived, but Bancroft was pronounced dead a short time later at East Alabama Medical Center.

Students and colleagues remember him as a tough, but inspiring professor. He had been teaching at Auburn for more than 15 years.

According to another report, the man was only 48. How very sad for his family.

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Continuing to Explode the Gay Marriage Myth

By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

Writes Paul Freedman in Slate: The Gay Marriage Myth - Terrorism, not values, drove Bush’s re-election

Based on preliminary turnout estimates, 59.5 percent of the eligible voting population turned out in marriage-ban states, whereas 59.1 percent turned out elsewhere. This is a microscopic gap when compared to other factors. For example, turnout in battleground states was more than 7.5 points higher than it was in less-competitive states, and it increased much more over 2000 as well.

I would note: one expects that the more competitive the race, the greater the turnout is likely to be. Hence, the increased turnout in battleground states was expected.


It’s true that states with bans on the ballot voted for Bush at higher rates than other states. His vote share averaged 7 points higher in gay-marriage-banning states than in other states (57.9 vs. 50.9). But four years ago, when same-sex marriage was but a twinkle in the eye of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Bush’s vote share was 7.3 points higher in these same states than in other states. In other words, by a statistically insignificant margin, putting gay marriage on the ballot actually reduced the degree to which Bush’s vote share in the affected states exceeded his vote share elsewhere.

And, as usual, comparative statistics and historical perspective are helpful:

More to the point, the morality gap didn’t decide the election. Voters who cited moral issues as most important did give their votes overwhelmingly to Bush (80 percent to 18 percent), and states where voters saw moral issues as important were more likely to be red ones. But these differences were no greater in 2004 than in 2000. If you’re trying to explain why the president’s vote share in 2004 is bigger than his vote share in 2000, values don’t help.

Shockingly, the answer to the puzzle of 2004 was security:

If the morality gap doesn’t explain Bush’s re-election, what does? A good part of the answer lies in the terrorism gap. Nationally, 49 percent of voters said they trusted Bush but not Kerry to handle terrorism; only 31 percent trusted Kerry but not Bush. This 18-point gap is particularly significant in that terrorism is strongly tied to vote choice: 99 percent of those who trusted only Kerry on the issue voted for him, and 97 percent of those who trusted only Bush voted for him. Terrorism was cited by 19 percent of voters as the most important issue, and these citizens gave their votes to the president by an even larger margin than morality voters: 86 percent for Bush, 14 percent for Kerry.

These differences hold up at the state level even when each state’s past Bush vote is taken into account. When you control for that variable, a 10-point increase in the percentage of voters citing terrorism as the most important problem translates into a 3-point Bush gain. A 10-point increase in morality voters, on the other hand, has no effect. Nor does putting an anti-gay-marriage measure on the ballot. So, if you want to understand why Bush was re-elected, stop obsessing about the morality gap and start looking at the terrorism gap.

Quite frankly, the Democratic response, that Bush won because of bigoted Red Staters, is simply a way to say “it isn’t us! it isn’t our fault!”

However, as I have already said since Wednesday-the Democrats are going to have to start looking more critically at their own failings, or they will continue to lose ground. They engage in self-delusion after 2002 and are doing so again.

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May I Point Out…

By Steven Taylor @ 1:53 pm

…that it is wholly possible to be opposed to gay marriage, but not be a anti-gay or to otherwise be a bigot. Indeed: many who oppose including homosexual couples in the definition of marriage can be in favor of civil unions.

Further, it is possible to be respectful of people and still have moral disagreements about their lifestyles. I would note, for example, that Christianity also is opposed to heterosexual sexual relationships outside of marriage and largely anti-divorce. Nonetheless, Christians manage to live daily alongside such persons. There is a lesson here that cuts multiple ways: those Christians who do have personal problems with homosexuals have to realize that no one is perfect and that we are commanded to deal with our fellow man (and woman) in love. Indeed, no one is as aware of one’s own shortcomings than is a serious Christian. Unlike Jane Smiley’s assumptions about the implication of the doctrine of the fallen nature of man-the Christian perspective on this belief should foster humility in believers.

There is also a lesson for non-Christians who see Christians as Neanderthals who have no tolerance and are consumed by hatred. Clearly, it is not the case that Christians cannot tolerate those who believe differently than they-they do it daily, and not only on moral issues, but on religious ones as well.

On balance I am growing extremely weary of the gross over-simplification of those who see anyone who voted against gay marriage (or who holds that view) to be a knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing reject from the Beverly Hillbillies who can only speak in monosyllabic English, and only then with bad grammar.

An example to what I am reacting to would be Maureen Dowd on MTP today (transcript not yet available) where she claimed that Rove played on fears that a gay couple would move in next door to you as the motivating factor in the election. Are some people afraid of that? Sure. Is that why Bush was re-elected? Nonsense.

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I’m Shocked! Shocked, I Say!

By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 am

Via Reuters: File-Sharing Network Thrives Beneath the Radar.

I was so certain that all those lawsuits were going to stop this sort of thing!

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State of Emergency Declared in Iraq

By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

Via the AP: Iraq Declares State of Emergency

The government declared a 60-day state of emergency throughout most of the country Sunday, as U.S. and Iraqi forces prepared for an expected all-out assault on rebels in Fallujah. Insurgents escalated a wave of violence that has killed more than 50 people the past two days, and a U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a convoy.


“It is going to be a curfew. It is going to be so many things, but tomorrow the prime minister will mention it,” he said. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi will give more details Monday, he said.

Not surpring, given current conditions. Indeed, one wonders why it hasn’t been done before. On the other hand, it always sounds ominous, and further, such declarations can lead to abuses of power (or signal a pathway to abuse). However, this isn’t necessarily the case. That the state and civil society (such as they are) are under direct and extraordinary assault is uncontestable. One just that actions in Fallujah with bear fruit.

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Hook ‘Em!

By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 am

I missed almost all of this one, because of going to the Troy game. It was tied when I firt saw the score and UT was up 42-35 by the time I got to a TV: No. 6 Texas 56, No. 19 Oklahoma St. 35

The Longhorns trailed 35-14 at halftime when Brown told the Longhorns they would score on their first drive of the third quarter and go on to win. He even predicted a final score of 42-35.


A little perspective on just how big of a rally it was: In 111 years of playing football, the biggest deficit the Longhorns (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) had ever overcome to win was 19 points three seasons ago in a Holiday Bowl win over Washington.

For Oklahoma State (6-3, 3-3), it should go down as one of the most stunning losses in a long, long time, if not ever.

From the point I turned it on, Texas was on fire-and Young looked nothinh like the fumbler from the OU game:

Quarterback Vince Young had a career night with 278 yards on 18-of-21 passing. [plus 1 TD and 2 INTs]

To which he added 130 yard rushing on 12 carries and 1 TD (an impressive 42 yard run in the 4th).

Cedric Beson (who is going to be a star in the NFL) rushed for 5 TDs and 142 yards on 23 carries.

Indeed, it should be a very good year for running backs in the next NFL draft.

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Adios, ‘Canes.

By Steven Taylor @ 7:42 am

Clemson 24, No. 11 Miami 17, OT

The loss knocked the Hurricanes (6-2, 3-2) out of first place in the ACC, leaving them a game behind Virginia and Virginia Tech in the race for the league title and automatic BCS berth. Miami visits Virginia next weekend, and hosts Virginia Tech on Dec. 4 in the regular-season finale.

Wow. It will surprise me at this point if Miami can pull off the wins necessary to win the ACC. Losses to two unranked teams ain’t none too impressive.

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Saturday, November 6, 2004
In Case You Were Wondering…

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 pm

Troy did win its Homecoming game: Troy 24, Forida Atlantic 6. After a slow first half, Troy took the lead with a long TD pass on 4-10 at the end of the half and went on to score on a run and punt return in the second half.

And it was doubly fun, as my wife and I got to watch the game from the Chancellor’s Box-very nice (the invite coming since I am Faculty Council President this year).

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By Steven Taylor @ 11:29 am

I will be leaving for the Troy University homecoming game in a bit, so no blogging until this evening at the earliest.

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Line of the Day (and more on “Tolerance")

By Steven Taylor @ 10:21 am

Also from David Brooks:

If you want to understand why Democrats keep losing elections, just listen to some coastal and university town liberals talk about how conformist and intolerant people in Red America are. It makes you wonder: why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?


For example: here, here , here (in spades, and with pictures), here, and here, to cite a few.

And you have to love this exchange from Hannity and Colmes last night that was brought to my attention, and led me to Lexis/Nexis:

FERRARO: You know what? Just let me make one point. You were talking about the map before. If indeed all those blue states all got together and seceded from the union, think what would be left for those red states, nothing.

HANNITY: It would be wonderful.

FERRARO: There would be no educational system.

HANNITY: You’ve got to go to my web site, It’s even worse for you guys when you get to county by county.

FERRARO: You would have nothing. What would be left to you? I mean, where is all of this talent in this country? It’s on both sides, the Northeast corridor.

Now, secession, division, whatever is clearly a silly notion, to put it midly. But can one find a more elitist assessment than that? Is she not saying that all the talented and educated people are on the coasts? Speaking as one who earned his BA on the West Coast, his Ph.D. in Texas, and teaches in deep Red Alabama, I can assure Ms. Ferraro that there are talented, edcuated persons who don’t live on either coast.

Further, many are succumbing to sheer laziness on this Red/Blue business: the Red states didn’t vote unanimously for Bush and the Blue states didn’t go 100% for Kerry.

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More Meme Bashing

By Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

James Joyner cites more evidence that the MSM’s monocasuality model is wrong.

As David Brooks notes:

The reality is that this was a broad victory for the president. Bush did better this year than he did in 2000 in 45 out of the 50 states. He did better in New York, Connecticut and, amazingly, Massachusetts. That’s hardly the Bible Belt. Bush, on the other hand, did not gain significantly in the 11 states with gay marriage referendums.

Further, if it was just the gay marriage issue, why didn’t Bush carry Oregon and Michigan? Both had gay marriage bans on the ballot, and Bush lost.

Further, I would note to the south-bashers, six of the eleven states with the gay marriage issues on the ballot weren’t southern: Montana, Oregon, Michingan, North Dakota, Ohio and Utah.

And only two were battleground states, and, as noted above, Bush lost one of them.

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Three Senators Ponder Governorships.

By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 am

Three Senators Consider Bids for Governor

n a sign of growing Democratic powerlessness and despair in Washington after Tuesday’s elections, Senator Christopher J. Dodd is considering running for governor of Connecticut in 2006, fellow lawmakers and an adviser to the senator said yesterday.


Should Mr. Dodd choose to make a run for governor, he would be among three Democratic senators from the New York region giving thought to such a leap, particularly in the wake of Tuesday’s elections, when Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate with a net gain of four seats.

The other two, Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, are said to be dispirited over their continued minority status - as well as the reality that their party does not appear to have a shot at winning the majority any time soon.

Mr. Dodd, Mr. Schumer and Mr. Corzine are highly ambitious men. Their potential departure from the Hill underscores how impotent Democrats now feel in Washington.

“People are just giving up,” said one Democratic strategist who has been a key adviser to Senate and House candidates from the New York region. “They’re realizing that they may be able to accomplish a lot more from a governor’s mansion than from Capitol Hill.”

Further, if any of these men (or anyone else for that matter) wants to seriously enhance a run at the White House, it is clear that it is easier to run from the Governor’s Mansion than from the Senate.

Further, if one runs for governor from the Senate and wins, one can appoint one’s own replacement (at least until a special election is held).

It is also is true that being in the minority stinks (although less so in the Senate than in the House)-especially a seemingly protracted minority status. In some ways the results of the 1994 election are finally sinking in: it wasn’t a blip on the radar screen, but rather a clear partisan re-alignment. Indeed, the re-alignment may not be fuilly over, as there is a real possibility that in te coming years liberal-to-moderate Republicans (both voters and office olders) may find themselves switching to the Demcratic Party. For as the South is clearly Republican, the Northeast is increasinlygly clearly Democratic.

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Friday, November 5, 2004
On the Gay Marriage Issue and the Bush Victory

By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 pm

Writes Andrew Sullivan:

I have to say that the more you look at the data, the less convincing it is that Bush won based on a religious right, anti-gay swing. Glenn has more details. One other thing: there were three swing states in which anti-marriage amendments were on the ballot. In Michigan and Oregon, the bans on gay unions passed, and Kerry still won. Ohio was the exception. If the GOP decides that the lesson of all this is to press on and make anti-gay amendments their signature issue, they will over-play their hand. Especially on the federal level. After all, isn’t the logic of state amendments a federalist one? Let each state decide. Don’t nationalize this issue one way or the other.

He further posts a comments from an e-mailer with some numbers. Even better, Chris Lawrence points to this post by Philip Klinkner at Polysigh with statistical analysis of the vote.

And, as the Sullivan clip above notes, Glenn Reynolds has more.

Note: let the record show that the site Klinker writes for is decidedly anti-Bush and Sullivan was for Kerry and the Gay Marriage issue is of utmost importance to him.

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A New George R. R. Martin Message

By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 pm

For those who care about A Feast for Crows read this-although I do warn you, if you are looking for a politics-free experience, this ain’t it.

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And So it Begins (2008 Version)

By Steven Taylor @ 7:58 pm

Search Is on for Perfect 2008 Candidate

Indeed, the discussion about 2008 started at roughly 12:27am central time on Wednesday morning.

My pool of potential Democratic candidates at this point:
Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico
Mark Warner, Governor of Virginia
John Edwards, Senator (soon to be ex-) from NC

Republican pool of potential candidates:
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of NY
George Pataki, Governor of NY
Bill Frist, Senator from TN and Senate Majority Leader
John McCain, Senator from Arizona

Of course, I don’t think either Pataki, nor Rudy, could win a GOP primary because of the abortion issue-Rudy, maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. McCain may well be too old by 2008.

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Increased Diversity in the 109th

By Steven Taylor @ 7:26 pm

New Congress to look more like real America

The next Congress will look slightly more like the real America, with more women, Hispanics and blacks, including the first black man to enter the Senate in a quarter century.

In addition to senator-elect Barack Obama, D-Ill., only the third black ever to be elected by popular vote to the Senate, newly elected senators Ken Salazar, D-Colo., and Mel Martinez, R-Fla., will become the only Hispanic-Americans in the Senate.

The House will see the arrival of Bobby Jindal, R-La., the son of immigrants from India and only the second Indian-American to serve in Congress.

There will be 65 women in the 435-member House in the 109th Congress, including Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and 41 other Democrats and 23 Republicans. That’s up five from the current Congress.

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Iowa Called

By Steven Taylor @ 4:11 pm

Its official: I heard on CNN radio news at around 12:30 that Iowa was called for Bush, so his EV total is officially at 286-four shy of my prediction.

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Wear Your Safety Belts

By Steven Taylor @ 8:45 am

Jeff Quinton has photographic evidence that demonstrates why.

I am pleased that Jeff walked away from the accident and that he is well.

Indeed, even the fender-bender (well, fender buster, actually) that my wife was involved in about a month ago reinforced the need for safety belts. I shudder to think what would’ve happned to either my 3 or 4 year-old had they not been properly secured in their child safetey seats.

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PoliBlog Calls NM for Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 8:32 am

Actually, I already did yesterday.

However, CBS, ABC, and Fox have finally done so. CNN and NBC/MSNBC have not.

And what’s up with Iowa?

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Look Ma: Jobs

By Steven Taylor @ 8:27 am

Via MSNBC: U.S. payrolls showed strong growth in Oct.

Employers aggressively hired new workers in October, adding 337,000 people to their payrolls after a sluggish summer, but the unemployment rate rose fractionally to 5.5 percent.

The pace of hiring was the fastest in six months, nearly double what economists had forecast, the Labor Department reported Friday, saying cleanup efforts from hurricanes that struck Florida and much of the Southeast helped jump-start the labor market.

Plus: check out the chart in the article that has some basic economic indicators-it helps explain Tuesday to some degree.

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When Spam Attacks

By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

FYI to commenters: I have been heavily attacked by online poker-related comment spam (I have easily deleted 1000 such attempts to post this nonsense in the last week). As such, it is possible that a legit comment could get caught up in the dragnet-so if you comment (especially if you leave a link in the comment) and your comment does not appear in a timely fashion, let me know.

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Jane Smiley and Liberal Tolerance

By Steven Taylor @ 6:40 am

Writes Jane Smiley of Slate:

The election results reflect the decision of the right wing to cultivate and exploit ignorance in the citizenry. I suppose the good news is that 55 million Americans have evaded the ignorance-inducing machine. But 58 million have not. (Well, almost 58 million-my relatives are not ignorant, they are just greedy and full of classic Republican feelings of superiority.)

One has to love the broad brushstrokes with which Ms. Smiley “analyzes". Further, one has to admire the way she can boil down support in an election to the rather impressive heights of “the people who voted for the guy I didn’t want are a bunch of poopie-headed dummies, except for my family, who are bunch of greedy people” (but, of course, I paraphrase…slightly).

It would appear that her thesis rests on the well thought out analysis that because Bush went to Iraq, and a lot of Republicans supported that effort, that those who vote for the GOP are infused with “bloodlust". Of course, the possibility that a legitimate foreign policy and national security argument can be made for the policy, even if one disagrees with it, is clearly considered to be an impossibility by the obviously smarter-than-me (and 58 million other people, give or take) Ms. Smiley.

And if one has the audacity to subscribe to Christianity, one is steeped in ignorance. Never mind that of those who profess to be Christians do not hold a uniform view of the Bible or of their faith, it is apparently the open-minded thing to do to lump all of us into the Hellfire and Brimstone camp who probably can’t read anyway because we are all a bunch of backwater hicks who just ain’t none been learned up good yet.

As she writes:

Here is how ignorance works: First, they put the fear of God into you—if you don’t believe in the literal word of the Bible, you will burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible is tremendously contradictory, and so you must abdicate all critical thinking, and accept a simple but logical system of belief that is dangerous to question. A corollary to this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of complex thought and so it is best not try it.

And lest I betray my obvious ignorance: I don’t recall issues of eternal security being at the center (or even periphery) of the campaign. Indeed, as I recall, President Bush has made statement on multiple occasions that Christians and Muslims worship the same God-which doesn’t exactly define him as a hardcore conservative evangelical.

Obviously (I think), the issue that troubles Ms. Smiley is the Gay Marriage question. However, since in national surveys and in many of the elections held on Tuesday, the percentage of persons opposed to Gay Marriage is often higher the percentage of professed evangelicals-so perhaps something else is going on here than just the attack of the ignorant Red Staters?

Further, there are evangelicals who may well oppose Gay Marriage and/or its imposition on states by the Supreme Court of other states who nonetheless support civil unions.

And, might I note, that we all operate under systems of thought: philosophies, ideologies, religions and typically they aren’t as neat and tidy as we ourselves think they are, nor as those who demonize others pretend.

Of course, Ms. Smiley is a novelist, so perhaps this piece is cleverly disguised fiction. However, I would suggest that she is hardly showing any sign of classic liberal tolerance (and I don’t mean liberal in the American political sense, but in the sense that we are all liberals).

Of course, clearly Ms. Smiley has some anger to deal with:

, we have to remember that threats to democracy from the right always collapse. Whatever their short-term appeal, they are borne of hubris and hatred, and will destroy their purveyors in the end.

When it comes to hubris and hatred, I think Ms. Smiley need look no further than the nearest mirror. And part of democracy is having an election and then accepting defeat. Demonizing half the voting population because they didn’t vote for your side is hardly an example of upholding the ideals of democracy.

I don’t want to overly generalize, but some on the left side of our political spectrum are sounding as crazy, if not crazier, than many on the right during the Clinton era.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark..

Update: Glenn Reynolds notes some other responses to Ms. Smiley (Hat Tip: Jeff Quinton).

Update 2: This post is waiting in traffic at the OTB Traffic Jam.

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Thursday, November 4, 2004
The Gay Marriage Meme

By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 pm

James Joyner reacts to the popular thesis that gay marriage was the decisive issue in this election. I concur with his basic assessment:

There were over 115 million votes cast for president and probably several things that influenced each of those voters.


Further, the main way the issue helped the president was that it almost certainly helped increase turnout of pro-Bush voters in Ohio. However, it is entirely possible that sans the issue, that turnout still would have been high. It appears that the GOP was especially good at turning out their base this year-and not just in the 11 states with gay marriage issues on the ballot. I mean, gee whiz-look at Florida.

It certainly isn’t the case the gay marriage issue was the main one of the campaign-indeed, it was one of many, and a second or third tier one at that.

To retroactivity make it THE issue of the campaign is lazy and incorrect.

The short version: monocausality is never the right answer to explain a national election, except perhaps in rare circumstances.

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Wowie: Spurrier Says “No”

By Steven Taylor @ 4:12 pm

NCAA Football Spurrier stiff-arms Florida, won’t return for second term

After spending more than a week thinking about it, Spurrier decided Thursday to remove his name from consideration to replace Ron Zook.

“He said he’s done his thing here and he just thinks it’s better for us to go find a coach who will be here for the next 10 or 15 years,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Hat tip to Clint, who predicted it from day one. We shall see if his UT predictions goes (I’m not so sure about that one).

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Good Econ News

By Steven Taylor @ 1:24 pm

Stocks Rally; Oil Prices Fall.


Jobless Claims, Productivity Growth Dip

Fewer Americans filed jobless claims last week and growth in worker productivity slowed sharply in the third quarter, government data showed on Thursday, hinting that conditions in the sluggish U.S. labor market have improved.


Weaker productivity may be good news for the labor market if it means firms are running out of ways to squeeze existing workers into producing more and would now boost hiring.

Indeed, the market has been quite happy the last two days:

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
A Shame

By Steven Taylor @ 1:04 pm

Via the AP: Elizabeth Edwards Has Breast Cancer.,

I heard this on the radio driving to work-a shame. I hope she has a speedy and complete recovery.

Indeed, while I am glad that her husband lost, I feel for the family having to go through the devastation of that event at the same time that they learned of Mrs. Edwards’ cancer-especially with the small children they have.

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  • Accidental Verbosity linked with But Seriously
  • Accidental Verbosity linked with a pingback
Blame it the on the Blogs!

By Steven Taylor @ 1:01 pm

Via the AFP: ‘Blogs’ embarrassed by misleading poll data in US vote

Internet “blogs” ended up with egg on their faces this week after releasing early exit-poll data from Tuesday’s vote suggesting John Kerry was on his way to a victory against George W. Bush.

Oh, I don’t know about the egg on face aspect: most of the sites I saw (including my own) weren’t running wild with the data. Certainly I didn’t interpret it immediately as the gospe-indeed, the early afternoon stuff was, by definition, incomplete.

Indeed, the MSM’s coverage and analysis (including Fox’s) was very much driven by the exit polls, so this claim is a bit silly:

Although the preliminary exit poll data were not widely used by television networks and other mainstream media, the misleading news spread like wildfire and even prompted a selloff late in the day Tuesday on Wall Street when it appeared Bush was in trouble.

Further, I don’t consider Drudge a blogger-and he has been releasing exit polling data on his site well before anyone knew was a blog was.

Indeed, the egg should be squarely on the face of the exit pollsters, then on Wall Street for acting on incomplete data, and on the TV folks for similarly reacting in the same way.

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Image That

By Steven Taylor @ 10:23 am

Sept 11 Concerns Helped Boost Bush.

Maybe now Reuters (and the Democratic Party, for that matter) will finally figure out that 9/11 did, in fact, change some things.

Hmm. I shan’t hold my breath.

In all seriousness: the Democratis underestimated the security issue in 2002 and paid the price in the Senate and I think that they still didn’t fully comprehend it (as evidenced by the fact that they thought Kerry’s Viet Nam service was enough to solve the problem) in 2004.

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Brad DeLong isn’t Happy

By Steven Taylor @ 9:59 am

Economist Brad DeLong thinks we need a different system for picking the president. His logic:

The pattern is clear: when there isn’t an unknown southern governor running, an incumbent president can win reelection or an incumbent vice president can win election; but the unknown southern governor without a national political record wins the presidency-always.

He goes on to state the reason for this:

Why? Because he is a governor, he can raise money. Because he is unknown, he has no enemies in Washington who inform the press corps of weaknesses. Because he has no record, nobody has an incentive to try to block him. Because he is southern, the south tends to vote for him.

I’d like to think he is being tongue-in-cheek, but I don’t think so.

For one thing, he should know better than to try and generalize from such a small number of cases. Since 1976 there have been eight elections. N=8 isn’t a very big sample to use to criticize the EC. Further, his number of “unknown Southern governors” (Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush) is an even smaller number-and that is leaving aside the problem of classifying Reagan as a “southern governor” (let alone as unknown in 1980-or, for that matter, a failure, which is how DeLong classifies him).

His picking on the South strikes me as a combination of parochialism (them southerns’ll only vote for Southerners) and prejudice (the best way to trick the southerners is to pick an “unknown” candidate).

If I may point out (numbers here)—the South went heavily for FDR, half for Truman (unfortunately, several went for Thurmond), went mostly for Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, mostly for JFK (eek! a northeastern Senator!) in 1960, mostly for Goldwater in 1964, Nixon in 1972 (not 1968), and Reagan in 1980 and 1984—all non-southerners (except Thurmond) and most of whom were non-governors.

Indeed, the operationalization of the term “unknown” is problematic as well, given that only Carter was wholly unknown going into 1976-even Clinton had made a minor splash as “New Democrat” governor who was seen as an up-and-comer in the party. I would argue that most candidates are unknown to the general populace going into an electoral cycle, but that doesn’t mean that they are truly unknown quantities (i.e., they are hardly blank slates).

And further: the idea that an electoral campaign that lasts for practically two years (more than a year of which this time was used to narrow the field for the Democratic nominee) results in unknowns running for office is simply incorrect. Or that someone like Kerry was any more “known” to the general electorate than was Bush in 2000 is also incorrect.

Brad wants a new way to do this-although he doesn’t say what it is. I would opine that even in parliamentary systems that leaders of the major parties aren’t especially known to the general population until they emerge as the head of their respective parties. Indeed, the more I think about it, I am not sure what his whole “unknown” variable means.

Kerry’s problems in the South was clear (and it wasn’t just because he was from Massasshusetts): it was that his values conflicted with a large number of southern voters. And when one’s values and policy positions conflict with a sufficiently large number of voters, one tends to lose. That’s the essence of democracy.

And to conclude by being slightly snarky: the Democrats weren’t griping about the South when it was solidly Democratic and gave the party ironclad majorities in the Congress for decades (which only started to change in large numbers in the 1990s).

Hat tip: OTB.

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On Speeches

By Steven Taylor @ 9:28 am

From a few comments and from stuff I have heard on the radio, clearly a lot of folks are in a knot about Edwards’ speech (and in many cases Kerry’s as well).

My I say: who cares?

Was Edwards’ speech fiesty, political and geared towards 2008? Sure. When I heard it, however (and I missed part of it), I didn’t have an especially negative reaction, thinking that his delivery was good and did what he needed to do, which was position himself for 2008.

Further, as I noted in the comments: I was in a really good mood yesterday, and hence no doubt operating in a very forgiving fashion yesterday.

Ultimately: I figure that if Edwards wasn’t gracious-so what? He isn’t going back to the Senate and he isn’t going to be the Veep. So why even bother worry about it?

(BTW, while I think he will run in 2008, I don’t think that he is favorite to be the nominee at this point and unless he enhances his political resume, he never will be that nominee, let alone win the presidency).

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Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Leader Reid?

By Steven Taylor @ 5:20 pm

Fox News is reporting that Harry Reid (D-NV) claims to have rounded up thirty votes to support his elevation to Minority Leader. If true, it’s his.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Reid to replace Daschle?
Congratulations on a Second Term

By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

Now that Kerry has officially conceded, PoliBlog is able to declare the following:

Congratulations to President Bush for Winning a Second Term

Also, PoliBlog can now officially declare that Kerry is, indeed, French Toast.

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Kerry’s Speech

By Steven Taylor @ 1:11 pm

Kerry was gracious to say that he and the President had discussed the need to avoid deep divisions.

I very much appreciate his concession that the election should settled by the ballot box and not a protracted legal battle.

I must also state that I am impressed that Kerry was able to see that the math was against him and to be man enough to concede rather than drag this out unnecessarily. I perfectly well understood why he didn’t concede last night, but there was no doubt this morning that the numbers were against him, and he stated such quite directly in his speech.

Nice line about all of us being winners, since we all wake up the next day as Americans.

Enough, already with the laundry list of wants, however.

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Edwards’ Concession Speech

By Steven Taylor @ 1:07 pm

Edwards gave a graceful speech that was quite good. He is clearly looking to 2008.

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ABC Still Hasn’t Called Ohio

By Steven Taylor @ 12:56 pm

As of 12:55pm central, ABC News has called the election for Bush, but still hasn’t called Ohio.

CBS has as has CNN.

No one seems to have called NM or Iowa-which is odd, as with 99% counted in each, neither looks in doubt to me.

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Toast Trumps the Crystal Ball

By Steven Taylor @ 12:32 pm

Paul of Wizbang points to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball predcitive success, as he called the race to be 269-269 and got all the states right except Florida and Wisconsin.

However, the Toast-o-Meter came closer: calling all the states right except calling Hawaii for Bush. (And I don’t have a research institute, just a messy office!)

Of course, OTB got it on the money.

This all assumes that NM and Iowa go Bush, which I am certain that they will.

Still: remember-next time, take the Toaster ;)

Update: Dave Wissing’s numbers show that I bested Zogby, too! :)

Update 2: Robert Tagorda was right on the money also.

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  • linked with A Partial Roundup
  • Wizbang linked with Loose Ends and Links of Note
Kerry to Speak at 2pm

By Steven Taylor @ 12:21 pm

CNN is reporting that Kerry’s concession speech has been rescheduled for 2pm eastern.

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Checking the Predictions

By Steven Taylor @ 12:15 pm

Here’re are my predictions and the actual results:

  • I predcited in the ToM and on Birmingham radio last week that Bush would win the popular vote by 3%. The final differential: 3% (with 99% reporting)
  • The EC Prediction: 290-248 (that was giving Hawaii to Bush). The likely final total: 286-252.
  • In the ToM I stated “I will also be shocked if the much ballyhooed youth vote turns out at the levels some have been predicting.” The result: As I Expected: Youth Vote Normal.
  • In regards to overall turnout, I stated: “The ToM predicts a 55% turnout. This is 4 points higher than 2000. I think that predictions of 60%+ are highly unlikely.” In reality, it appears to have been at about 60%,-so I missed that one.
  • The Senate Predictions:

    • IL goes from R to D
    • GA goes from D to R
    • SC goes from D to R
    • OK is held for the Rs
    • NC goes from D to R
    • CO goes from R to D
    • AK is held for the Rs
    • SD goes from D to R
    • I thought LA would go to a run-off, so I missed that one.
    • I predicted that the presidential winner’s party would win Graham’s Senate seat.
    • I was wimpy in a hard number (I said 1-3 GOP pickup), so nothing to claim there.

In other predictions: James Joyner nailed the EC (he wisely avoided the whimsical Hawaii nod).

If you would like to showcase how well (or how not so well) you did with your predictions, feel free to link up. All links will be displayed as inline trackbacks at the end of the post (as long as a trackback is sent, of course).

Note: If you leave a comment with a link, it will be put in the moderated que and I will have to approve it. No need to post mulitple copies.

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

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Also Fast: Castor Concedes

By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

Castor concedes Florida Senate race

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Castor Concedes Florida Senate Race
That Didn’t Take Long

By Steven Taylor @ 11:12 am

MSNBC: Kerry calls president to concede after hard-fought election.

While the numbers clearly showed that there was no way he could win, I really thought he would drag it out a couple days livin’ on hope.

However, given that he still has his Senate career, it was best not to drag it out if the results were clear.

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Speaking of Math

By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 am

According to an NPR story this morning, Kerry would need 90% of the provisional ballots to break his way to win (and that assumes that they are all valid). So, what, does the Kerry campaign think that Ohio is DC?

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Morning Election Update
More Math

By Steven Taylor @ 7:05 am

Kevin Drum has reached a similar conclusion:

Kerry needs to be within about 50,000 votes in order for the provisional ballots to have any chance of tipping Ohio in his direction. Right now, he’s behind by 140,000 with 99% of the precincts reporting, so getting within 50,000 seems like a rather forlorn hope.


In other words, it doesn’t look like the provisional ballots are going to save Kerry. I know that conclusion won’t be popular with my readers, but that’s the way I see it. We’ll know more by Wednesday morning.

Kos, however, clings to the hope that the counting isn’t over.

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The Math

By Steven Taylor @ 7:02 am

Via the LAT: Ohio Up for Grabs; Bush Has Slim Lead

“Everyone should take a deep breath and relax,” Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, said on CNN. He said at least 150,000 provisional ballots-those set aside for review because of discrepancies-would not be tallied for at least 10 days under Ohio law. There were also tens of thousands of absentee and military ballots to be totaled.

First off, I am not sure that a 2% lead is “slim” by recent standards, but more speficially, here are the numbers:

2,794,346 (Bush)

2,658,125 (Kerry)

The differential: 136,221

Now, for Kerry to win, he would need basically all those 150,000 provisional ballots to be valid and be Democatic votes. That is highly improbable. Further, the military ballots would have to break the same way.

Really, their main hope is that all these ballots break in a statistically unlikley direction which forces a recount. However, the math is in Bush’s favor, not Kerry’s.

This isn’t Florida II, this race is over. This is the final minutes of a football game in which a team is down by 28 points. Only a miracle of ridicuous proportions could result in victory.

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Like 2000, Yet Not…

By Steven Taylor @ 6:46 am

On that faitfhful morning in 2000 I awoke to find that the presidency had not been decided. Today, I did the same thing. However, unlike 2000, this one seems to me to be all over but the shouting. The numbers in Ohio seem to me to insurmountable. The gap is about 140,000. Even if there are 200,000 or 250,000 provisional ballots, they would have to all be valid and would have to break for Kerry in insanely high numbers to overcome that gap. Plus, such a scenario would assume that any lingering military ballots that show up would be heavily Kerry, which is rather unlikely, shall we say.

No, let the concession watch begin.

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  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Morning Election Update
Not in Bed Yet

By Steven Taylor @ 2:03 am

96% precincts are in inOhio and Bush is up by 120,000.

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PoliBlog Calls It

By Steven Taylor @ 1:57 am

Well, calls it a night, anyway. It doesn’t appear that a definitive answer is forthcoming in the next hour or so, therefore I think I shall hit the sack.

I also call it for Bush. He will be re-elected. Bush has over a 100,000 vote margin with 93% of the vote counted. It seems unlikely that that margin with shrink so radically to make a recount automatic, or even if there will be enough votes in the legit provisional ballots to make up the difference. Further, the press is ignoring the fact that there are overseas military ballots that have not made it to Ohio as yet.

We aren’t talking about the 530-odd votes that Bush won by in Florida.

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  • bLogicus linked with Bush Wins, Kerry Disputes Ohio
Kerry Won’t Concede (and More on the Provisional Ballot Issue in OH)

By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 am

NBC news is reporting that the Kerry-Edwards campaign will not concede Ohio, citing 200,000+ votes they claim have not been counted.

Napolitano on Fox is saying that the only legal challenge at this point that he can see would be about the provisional ballots.

And, of course, there is the happy news that 70% of Ohio voters use punch cards. However, there is a clear law about chads and recounts.

CNN is reporting that the Ohio SoS is saying that there aren’t as many provisional ballots as the Kerry camp think (hopes). Although he is on CNN right now and he says it could be 250,000, but that his original estimates that there are less than that. He also notes that there are military ballots that are still not in. He notes that that provisional ballots wouldn’t be counted until 11 days after the election.

It strikes me that the quesiton of whether this will be drawn out or not depends on the final margin of victory in Ohio and the number of legit provisional ballots.
The good news is that Ohio has a long standing provisional ballot process, and so this isn’t a new system.

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Carville Speaks

By Steven Taylor @ 1:30 am

Via Ann Althouse at Instapundit:

“REALITY IS HERE, and I think we’ve got to give the President and his team a lot of credit. … They’ve won it.” So said James Carville just now on CNN.

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:27 am

A sure sign that the talkng heads think that this election is over: Russert and Brokaw are talking about 2008.

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By Steven Taylor @ 1:23 am

With 90% of the precincts reporting Bush is now slightly ahead in Iowa.

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From the Mouth of Tom Brokaw

By Steven Taylor @ 1:22 am

“…it does appear all but inevitable that George W. Bush will be re-elected.”

“The best that Kerry can do at this point is a tie.”

1:21 eastern time, 11/3/2004

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ABC Hasn’t Called Ohio Yet

By Steven Taylor @ 1:18 am

They have the Bush tally at 249.

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Provisional Ballots

By Steven Taylor @ 1:15 am

CNN is reporting that the Kerry people are banking on provisional ballots (maybe 200k in Ohio). So, the predictions of Florida II begin.

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MSNBC Calls Ohio for Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 1:08 am

Bush close to victory with wins in Florida, Ohio.

They have him at 269.

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CNN is Getting Close

By Steven Taylor @ 1:05 am

In listening to Wolf Blitzer and Jeff Greenfield on CNN, it is clear that they think that the odds are heavily in Bush’s favor in regards to Ohio, although they aren’t willing to call it yet.

They have called AK for Bush, and have his total at 249.

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MSBNC Ain’t So Sure

By Steven Taylor @ 12:52 am

MSNBC isn’t calling Ohio yet. Indeed, they are currently talking about vote margins in various precincts. The issue is whether Kerry carries Cuyahoga County by 200,000. Right now he has around 190,000.

Of course, if Bush get Ohio, it’s over: he would have 266 and a guaranteed 3 from AK-meaning 269 at worst and the House deciding. However, he looks to be winning NV and NM also-at 5 each.

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CNN Reports SD Looking Thune-ish

By Steven Taylor @ 12:46 am

CNN is reporting that Thune’ s camp thinks they are up buy 5ooo votes, and that the uncounted precincts are GOP strongholds.

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Bush Projected to Win Ohio

By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 am

Fox has projected Bush to win Ohio.

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Fox Calls it for Vitter

By Steven Taylor @ 12:38 am

Vitter will avoid a run-off in LA and the GOP picks up that seat-the first Rep Senator from the Cajun State.. This gives makes it impossible for the Dems to take control of the Senate.

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More Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 12:25 am

Fox and now MSNBC have called Florida for Bush.

The interesting thing is that it seems that turnout was higher in FL this year, which was supposedly going to help Kerry, yet Bush appears to have it by 5 points.

ABC Calls Florida for Bush as Well

By Steven Taylor @ 12:18 am

Their map

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CBS Calls Florida for Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 12:07 am

Here’s their map.

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Even More Exit Poll Dissing

By Steven Taylor @ 12:04 am

Even the guys on PBS are bad mouthing the exit polls.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Exit Polls: Not so Helpful

By Steven Taylor @ 11:44 pm

All three cable nets are dissing the exit polls.

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CNN Reports: Kerry Insider Says They’ve Lost Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 11:42 pm

Judy Woodruff (looking the way Britt Hume looked several hours back) is reporting that a Kerry insider has told her that the Kerry camp believes now that they are likely to lose Florida. The mood at the Kerry campaign, she reports, now is down in contrast to the up mood being reported from the Bush camp.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with 2004 Election Returns Live Blog
Vitter to Avoid Run-off?

By Steven Taylor @ 11:18 pm

WIth 90% in he has 51% of the vote.

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Bush is Going to Win Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 pm

Here’re the data.

In any other year with 92% reporting and a 5% lead, the nets would’ve called this one already.

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More on the Youth Vote

By Steven Taylor @ 10:55 pm

MSNBC is also reporting that the much ballyhooed youth turnout ended up being a non-starter. They turned out in the same percentage in 2004 as they did in 2000.

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Bunning Wins KY

By Steven Taylor @ 10:33 pm

After a close race, Bunning pulled out his seat and retained KY for the GOP.

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Exit Poll Woes

By Steven Taylor @ 10:29 pm

MSNBC (Lisa Myers) is reporting that the Republicans have caluclated a 3% to 4% undercounting of Republican votes in the exit polls.

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with 2004 Election Returns Live Blog
CNN Calls MO for Bush

By Steven Taylor @ 10:25 pm Election 2004 - U.S. President

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Florida Update

By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 pm

Florida Department of State: with 72.8% of the vote in, Bush continues to lead, 51.2% to 47.9%.

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Senate News

By Steven Taylor @ 10:12 pm

With 90-something% of the vote, it looks like Bunning will hold that seat in KY for the GOP.

Spectre is still trailing in Pennsylvania, but the gap has narrowed.

It is neck-and-neck in Florida.

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As I Expected: Youth Vote Normal

By Steven Taylor @ 10:10 pm

2004 not the breakout year for youth vote after all

This was not the breakout year for young voters that some had anticipated.

Fewer than one in 10 voters Tuesday were 18 to 24, about the same proportion of the electorate as in 2000, exit polls indicated. Still, with voter turnout expected to be higher overall, more young people appeared to have come out.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark.

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  • Nobody asked me,but… linked with Vote or die? Maybe not...
Florida Update

By Steven Taylor @ 10:01 pm

Florida Department of State:

With 65.8% of the vote counted, Bush leads Kerry 51.5% to 47.6%.

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  • The Jawa Report linked with Jawa Live Porn Blogging
Watching Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

Via the Florida Department of State:

Bush leads Kerry 51.7% to 47.4% with 52.8% of the precincts reporting.

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DeMint wins in SC

By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 pm

Fox project DeMint the winner in the SC-a pickup for the GOP, and another one I called.

Also: Bunning (R-KY) has pulled slightly ahead.

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By Steven Taylor @ 9:40 pm

Thanks to Eric Erickson, who is blogging at MSNBC’s Bloggers Cafe for linking to PoliBlog.

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Gergen on CNN

By Steven Taylor @ 9:38 pm

Gergen is on CNN saying that Republicans are starting to feel better than they did two hours ago. He seems to be basing this on the Florida numbers that Kristol and Barone were talking about.

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As Expected

By Steven Taylor @ 9:37 pm

Republicans, Democrats Swap Senate Seats, i.e.: Reps gets GA and the Dems get IL.

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By Steven Taylor @ 9:32 pm

Fox has called the CO Electoral College amendment as dead, so CO continues to use the Unit Rule.

Also, the early returns show Arlen Spectre as in trouble in Penn.

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Covering the Coverage VI

By Steven Taylor @ 9:19 pm

Now Britt Hume is getting a tad more animated. He seems jazzed by the current Florida numbers.

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Exit Polls

By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

Mort Kondrake just gave the following exit poll figures:

Florida: Kerry 52 to 48.

Ohio: Kerry 52-47.

Pennsylvania: Kerry 58-42.

The only empirical data of actual votes came from Michael Barone who gave limited returns from Florida to suggest that the exit poll may not be correct. However, that was without South Florida, meaning: who knows?

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  • Truth, Lies & Common Sense linked with Flashers Support Kerry
  • bLogicus linked with Can You Trust Exit Polls?
Poor Florida

By Steven Taylor @ 9:05 pm

Most voting complaints so far are in Fla.

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Covering the Coverage V

By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 pm

Britt Hume looks down right depressed.

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Fox Also Calls OK for Coburn

By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 pm

That tracks with MSNBC.

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Covering Coverage IV: Susan Estrich

By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 pm

Did Susan Estrich get botox? She was just on Fox talking about how she thinks the exit poll show a Kerry victory, yet she seems largely emotionless, facially speaking. Most odd.

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Reminder: State-Level Info

By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

Don’t forget that I have links to state-level news and election info at the top of my Election Guide to All Things Not Presidential.

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Kristol on Exit Polls

By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 pm

Bill Kristol is noting that in several of the states that have closed the exit polls seem to be undercounting Bush (he largely cited Virginia). He also cited NC.

We shall see.

At any rate, aside from partisan considerations, if the exit polls get it wrong again (after the 2000 debacle and the 2002 meltdown) then one wonders what their future will be. This is especially interesting, given that they did a major redisgn for this year.

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Covering the Coverage III

By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 pm

You know that they (the nets) are being cautious when they are reluctant to call Mississippi (indeed, they haven’t called it yet) and it took ‘em a while to call Alabama.

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MSNBC Calls OK for Coburn

By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

The Republicans have held on to the Oklahoma Senate seat, according to MSNBC.

That marks one right on my Senate projections to this point.

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Covering the Coverage II

By Steven Taylor @ 8:29 pm

Why does CNN use Larry King for serious prime time election coverage?

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More Exit Polling

By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 pm

Slate has Late Afternoon Exit Polls.

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Live Blogging the Election

By Steven Taylor @ 7:17 pm

Yes, I am live blogging the election.

If you are live blogging as well, just link to this post and the inline trackbacking will list you blog at the bottom of this post.

Some others who are live blogging:

  • James Joyner.
  • Mark Griffith.
Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(12)
  • On The Third Hand linked with Election Coverage.
  • The World Around You linked with ELECTION NIGHT LIVE
  • The Window Manager linked with Election Party Liveblogging - 5:30
  • QandO linked with Election Night
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Election Night Liveblogging
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
  • the evangelical outpost linked with The Finish Line:Liveblogging the Election
Covering the Coverage

By Steven Taylor @ 7:14 pm

Britt Hume on Fox seems down tonight. I would assume that his demeanor reflects “bad news” in the exit polls, but the whole Fox crew Juan Williams included, seems subdued.

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Other Exit Poll Info

By Steven Taylor @ 5:08 pm

K-LO at The Corner on National Review Online shares the following:

David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, e-mails:

At Strategic Vision, we have been reviewing and conducting exit polls and do not know where the media reports came from. We are showing a slight advantage for Bush in Florida by 1 point.

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Exit Poll Info

By Steven Taylor @ 5:05 pm

Drudge has the following (which isn’t much, granted):

Exit poll mania spread through media and campaign circles Tuesday afternoon after first wave of morning data showed Kerry competitive in key states…. National Election Pool - representing six major news organization - shows Kerry in striking distance - with small 1% lead - in Florida and Ohio, sources tell DRUDGE… [But early 2000 exit polls showed Gore +3 in Florida; showed Gore-Bush even in CO [Bush won by 9], 2000 exits showed Gore +4 in AZ [Bush won by 6]… Exits Senate races: Thune +4 Castor +3 Burr +6 Bunning +6 Coburn +6 Demint +4 Salazar +4…

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Electoral Vintage

By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

Stephen Bainbridge asks and answers the question on everyone’s mind: What Wine to Drink on Election Night?.

My advice: don’t drink too much, as it may be a looong night.

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Quote of the Day

By Steven Taylor @ 1:17 pm

“I won’t say what I really think about the genius that started the season on election day since it’s probably the same person that started the season on Halloween in previous years. There’s only a presidential election once every four years. We start on that day. Genius. It’s had an impact. ” - Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban

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Amusing Election Toon

By Steven Taylor @ 10:54 am

OBE has it.

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The Final Slice: It’s the Election Day Toast-O-Meter

By Steven Taylor @ 9:58 am

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

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

FINALLY: It’s Time to Serve the Toast

After a campaign season that started in 1812 (ok, it actually started in early 2003-but it seems like it started when Robert Byrd was a freshman Senator-which was, of course, 1812) we are finally here: the Super Bowl of Politics, the US Presidential Elections. And, don’t worry if you think you are going to go into election withdrawal-I am guessing that Election 2008 will start sometime in early 2005.

Today’s final Toast-O-Meter of 2004 is now ready to go. Instead of focusing on issues, the ToM will look primarily at election watching, with all the links and info one might want. The final reading of the ToM, along with an EC prediciton, is at the end of the post.

The ToM is hoping to be able to officially declare either John Kerry as French Toast or George W. Bush as Texas Toast before going to bed tonight/this morning, but I ain’t holdin’ my breath. Still, of the predictions held herein, one that we are going to make up front: we will know tonight-the election will break one way or another and while there will be lawsuits aplenty, we will avoid a recount fiasco a la Florida 2000. Why do I think so? Mostly wishful thinking, methinks. However, it strikes me that it is more likely that the vote will break one way or another, rather than repeating the 2000 nonsense in Florida, New Mexico and elsewhere.

Of the stories to watch tonight, the biggest voter turnout: Polls Suggest Higher Voter Turnout Likely. The ToM predicts a 55% turnout. This is 4 points higher than 2000. I think that predictions of 60%+ are highly unlikely. If the turnout is that high, I shall be truly shocked. I will also be shocked if the much ballyhooed youth vote turns out at the levels some have ben predicting. But for sure, Newly registered pose new variables.

Another story of great significance: 11 States to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage. That the states of Ohio, Michigan and Arkansas are among this list works in Bush’s favor, as the Same Sex Marriage issue plays more to mobilizing Bush voters. Also, the fact that Oklahoma is one of those states will help the Republican candidate for the Senate, Coburn, in his close race.

And, always fun: Dead Voters May Sway Election.

More fun: Here’s Hoping for Chaos on Tuesday.

And, if you need it: The Electoral College Explained.


If you want to do a little historical research, try these:

  • Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  • Geostat Center: US Presidential Election Maps: 1860-1996
  • U.S. House: Party Divisions over Time.
  • U.S. Senate: Party Division over Time.

Here’s the EC map from last time:

And, the famous Red/Blue map:


To keep track of the polls across the country, here’s a list of poll schedules.

And here’s a graphic via Reuters showing poll closing times across the country:

And, will weather play a role? Notice Ohio.

Hat tip: Daily Kos

And, John Fund provides An hour-by-hour guide to tonight’s results-plus my predictions.


  • RealClear Politics - Polls (Presidential, Battleground States).
  • RealClear Politics - Polls (Presidential, EC).
  • RealClear Politics - Polls (Presidential-National).
  • Dales’ Electoral College Breakdown.
  • Election Projection - 2004 Edition.
  • The Hedgehog Report.
  • Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004.
  • The Big Picture: Presidential Polling Data Resources.
  • CNN’s poll of polls.
  • - Charting the Campaign


My final prediction: Kerry is French Toast (but Bush and hs supporters will be singed by heartburn before it is all said and done).

(To make your own prediction map, go here: | Electoral College Calculator)

Popular vote-wise, I will stick with the prediction I made on the radio last week: Bush by 3 points. I am calling Hawaii for Bush mostly out of whimsy (and it doesn’t really matter one way or another in my projection). Further, it strikes me if Kerry has so flubbed Hawaii that it is in play (indeed, slightly Bush-ish, poll-wise) it strikes me as seriously possible that Bush will take the state.

For more blogger predictions see:

  • Professor Bainbridge.
  • James Joyner.
  • Stephen Green.
  • Wizbang!.
  • Daily Kos.
  • For the Blogger’s list of lists: Les Jones’s Blog.
  • Overtaken by Events.
  • Dave Wissing.
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  • Arguing with signposts… linked with The Final Slice
  • Overtaken by Events linked with Four Years Without Toast
  • The Moderate Voice linked with Is John Kerry "French Toast?"
  • Outside The Beltway linked with OTB Election Prediction: Bush 286, Kerry 252
  • VodkaPundit linked with French or Texas?
  • The Big Picture linked with Presidential Polling Data Resources
  • Chicago Report linked with ***Election Report***
  • Chicago Report linked with ***Election Report***
  • Chicago Report linked with ***Election Report***
  • Accidental Verbosity linked with Election Day Toast
  • DCist linked with Blogger Predictions
  • The Jawa Report linked with New Prediction: Electoral Vote Tie!!
  • FreedomSight linked with a pingback
I’ve Heard That One Before

By Steven Taylor @ 9:24 am

Democracy in action, or an excuse to not work?

I report, you decide: Over 100 professors lighten class loads for Election Day

A newly organized group on campus is working to make it as easy as possible for students to join the Election Day efforts today.

“Penn Votes and Volunteers 2004″ is a coalition of 20 student organizations ranging from the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association to the InterFraternity Council. These groups have joined together under the leadership of Political Science professor John DiIulio to e-mail professors who teach classes or hold recitations or lab sessions on Tuesdays.

These professors have been asked “to kindly refrain from giving an exam, having work due or requiring mandatory class attendance on Election Day … without otherwise making alternative arrangements such as makeup classes for student volunteers,” according to the request sent out by PVV.

Full disclosure: I had short, election-related papers due in two classes yesterday. Today is a grad seminar, so nothing due but reading. Still, people work real jobs and manage to vote, so why do students, who are likely in class an average max of 3 hours in a given day, need a lightened load so they can vote? What, there are spending so much time trying to figure out who to vote for they can’t study for an exam? ;)

Of course, I get grumpy about this kind of thing, as my students know.

Update: Evidence that Harvard agrees with my stance.

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And So it Begins…

By Steven Taylor @ 6:44 am

Via the LAT: 1st Election Day Votes in New Hampshire

The nation’s first election day votes were cast and counted just after midnight today in this mountain hamlet, with President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry each receiving 15 votes. Ralph Nader received one.

The communities of Hart’s Location and Dixville Notch since 1948 sporadically have been taking advantage of a state law that allows communities to close polls early if all registered voters have cast ballots.

Voters in Dixville Notch backed Bush over Kerry 19 to 7, election officials said. Independent candidate Nader received no votes.

In 2000, both communities chose Bush over Democrat Al Gore. In Hart’s Location, Bush won 17 to 13. In Dixville Notch, about 50 miles to the north, Bush had 21, Gore five and Nader one vote.

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500k Served

By Steven Taylor @ 6:39 am

Overnight my sitemeter turned over the half-million mark.

My thanks to all who have visited (and who keep visiting) since Februrary of 2003.

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Monday, November 1, 2004
Today’s WaPo: Bush by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 10:07 pm


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An Election Guide to All Things Not Presidential

By Steven Taylor @ 9:51 pm

In anticipation of the Big Elections tomorrow, here’s a run-down of major races and issues that are worth watching other than the presidential contest. It is worth remembering that there is more going on tomorrow than Bush v. Kerry. There are congressional races, state-level elections, referenda and ballot initiatives galore. It is the Super Bowl for political junkies.

For state-level ballot info and election returns, find a link to a state’s Secretary of State/Election Division here (Here’s the Graphic graphic/map version).

For state-specific news:

  • This graphic from the AP provides links to state-level newspapers.
  • Swing States newspaper links.


  • U.S. Senate: Party Division over Time
  • Here’s my run-down of the close races.
  • RealClear Politics - Polls (Senate Races)
  • Senate Analysis 2004
  • Race for the Senate (CNN)

  • Democrats Have Designs on Senate
  • AK
    • Nation watches Alaska’s Senate race with the balance of power at stake

    • Oil money flows in Alaska Senate race.
  • FL
    • The Miami Herald: Senate rivals bank on voter fear
    • Mel Martinez | ‘I’m bottom-line oriented’ and basic bio on Martinez.
    • Betty Castor | ‘She’s a people person . . . She’s reachable’ and basic bio.
  • NC
    • North Carolina Senate Race, Burr 49% Bowles 45%
    • Burr, Bowles race to wire in N.C. Senate bid.
  • SC
    • South Carolina Senate Race Surprisingly Close.
    • Tenenbaum, DeMint shift senate race into full sprint.

  • OK
    • WaPo: In Okla., Bush’s Popularity Boosts GOP Senate Hopeful.
  • SD
    • WaPo: In Response to Poll, Daschle Backers Amass.
    • ABC News: Daschle in Tough, Costly Election Fight.
    • TCS: Daschle May Lose - And Republicans May Regret It
    • WaPo: La. Could Decide Party Control of Senate in December


  • U.S. House: Party Divisions over Time
  • Race for the House (CNN)

  • GOP expected to keep control of House
  • California: 1 hot contest in 53 House races


  • 11 Governorships up for election
  • CNN’s index of governor stories.
  • Washington Among Tight Governors’ Races.
  • With 11 governors races, domestic issues getting a workout in many states.
  • Attacks rising in races for governor.


  • 11 States to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage:
    Proposed amendments in Mississippi, Montana and Oregon refer only to marriage. Those in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah would ban civil unions as well.

  • Basic summary: National snapshot: ballot issues.
  • Ballot initiatives: From weeds to weddings.
  • Initiatives span political spectrum.
  • Voters To Decide Tobacco Tax Initiatives in 3 States”.
  • And, of course, there is the proposed Colorado amendment that would split the EV of the state (and the commensurate lawsuit: Federal lawsuit challenges Colorado’s Electoral College plan).
  • Here are CA bloggers’ endorsements via Stephen Bainbridge for the CA ballot (including initiatives).
  • Alabama has Amendment Two, which strips racist language from the state constitution, but also has erupted into a big political debate over taxes.
  • Alabama: 8 amendments on Tuesday ballot.
Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(10)
  • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Going Beyond the Presidential
  • VodkaPundit linked with Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Politics
  • Wizbang linked with Election day goodies
  • bLogicus linked with Election Short Shots
  • The Moderate Voice linked with An Election Guide to All Things Not Presidential
  • The Glittering Eye linked with It's Toast!
  • On The Third Hand linked with Election Coverage.
  • Michelle Malkin linked with THE REST OF THE RACES
  • La Shawn Barber\’s Corner linked with Don't Forget To Vote!!!
  • Priorities & Frivolities linked with Who Will Win?
Handicapping the Senate

By Steven Taylor @ 4:52 pm

I think that in the states where the polls for Senate races are close, but in which Bush is likely to win big (i.e., AK Bush is leading by 20+, in OK he is leading by 30+, in SD he is leading by high teens to 20, and in SC he is leading by the mid-teens), then that differential, through mobilization of Reps and the presence of some straight-ticket voting, will lead to Senatorial victories for Republicans in those states.

Hence, I predict that even though Murkowski is slightly down in AK, that she pulls a win and ditto for Thune in South Dakota. Coburn, who was looking anemic in OK not that long ago, looks like he has the numbers he needs to win even without Bush’s coattails, but with them (I mean, gee whiz, that 30+ point advantage for Bush has to translate into some juice for GOP candidates across the board) he should win by 5 at least. In SC DeMint is leading fairly strongly in the polls, and with that double-digit Bush lead, SC should be a pick-up for the GOP.

In terms of seat that could switch, here are my predictions:

Sure Fire

IL goes from R to D (the only fun in Illinois will be seeing how badly Keyes loses).

GA goes from D to R (although some Democrats would argue that it already is an R).

Of course, a monkey could figure out those races. And they cancel each other out. However, I would call the following as solid as well:

SC goes from D to R

OK is held for the Rs

Hence, in the Sure Fire category, I think that there is at least 1 GOP pick-up.


NC goes from D to R
CO goes from R to D
AK is held for the Rs
SD goes from D to R (that’s your upset special)

So, in the Likely category we have a net gain of 1 seat for the GOP. Taking the Sure Fire picks and the Likely picks, that gives a +2 to the Republicans, making the Senate 53-46-1. Of course, that leaves LA and FL.

I Haven’t a Clue (or, Not Much of One, Anyway)

FL—I think that whichever party wins the state for the presidency gets the Senate seat as well. My gut says Bush wins FL, so Martinez should get the seat. However, I am not confident enough to state that as anything more than a solid guess.

LA—There is a slight chance that Vitter pulls out the needed 50%+1, but if not, we won’t know this one until December, and since I don’t know who his opponent will be, it is hard to predict anything.

So, going with my gut and not much empirical evidence, that might take the GOP majority to 54 and then a month-long wait until December for the final tally. If my gut it wrong, it would still likely be at 53.

Of course, if my Likelies break Dem (i.e., AK, NC and SD) and the Haven’t Got a Clues hold, then we will likely get the 2000 results: 50-49-1 and then it will come down to who wins the presidency. I find this to be unlikley, however.

Bottom line predcition: the Reps will gain 1-3 seats, with other scenarios being unlikley.

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  • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Handicapping the Senate Races
  • Wizbang linked with Election day goodies
  • PoliBlog » MSNBC Calls OK for Coburn linked with a pingback
Sad, but True

By Steven Taylor @ 4:25 pm

Douglas Kern has a piece at TCS that underscores why it is that meaningful electoral reform is unlikely.

Hat tip: OTB.

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The Democrats to Take the Senate?

By Steven Taylor @ 1:54 pm

Ciro Scotti of Business Week presents Seven Steps to a Dem Senate.

I wouldn’t bet on it, but it is possible. More likely I think that the Reps pick up 3.

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The Uncomfortable Politics of Stem Cells and Donor Eggs

By Steven Taylor @ 1:51 pm

Slate asks the provocative question: Did Elizabeth Edwards Use Donor Eggs? - All signs point to yes.

Do the math, and it’s not hard to figure out that Edwards gave birth to Emma Claire at age 48 and Jack at 50. And yet if Edwards used her own eggs, this is all but impossible—a woman’s ovaries completely stop producing viable eggs by age 45 in all but a tiny percentage of women.

Edwards has publicly stated that she “used fertility treatments” and “took hormone shots” in order to have Emma Claire and Jack. (She wouldn’t comment for this story.)


Alas, no one but the Edwards family and their doctor—and maybe an egg donor, though most remain anonymous—can say for sure if donor eggs were used in the creation of Emma Claire and Jack. But reproductive endocrinologists agree that having babies with your own eggs at 48 and especially 50 is, well, just not going to happen: “The probability [that she used donor eggs] is 99.9 percent,” said David Adamson, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based reproductive endocrinologist and clinical professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. “If she hadn’t, she’d probably say, ‘No, I didn’t use donor eggs.’ ” Adamson, who sits on the medical advisory board of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, added that in the 25 years he’s spent treating thousands of infertility patients, he’s only seen one woman of 45 and one of 46 give birth using their own eggs. Fecundity starts to drop off long before that, he says. At 35, one in four women trying to have a baby will run into difficulties. At 40, about half will fail to conceive naturally. Above 45, there are so few births using one’s own eggs that no one keeps records of it, said Adamson. When it happens, you’re in miracle territory.


But if Edwards-who mothered two children before Emma Claire and Jack (Catharine, now 22, and Wade, who died in a car wreck in 1996 when he was 16)-did go vocal, it’s likely she would provide all manner of fodder for the religious right. Many organized religions have serious misgivings about the use of donor eggs or sperm, not to mention the very concept of conception taking place outside the womb. And then there’s one question that might really trouble the right: If Edwards did use IVF-a procedure one must undergo when employing donor eggs-what did she do with the embryos that weren’t transferred back to the uterus? If she and Sen. Edwards discarded them or donated them to science (read: stem cell) instead of freezing them for later use or donating them to another couple, the right-wingers would have an absolute field day. It’s no wonder Edwards has kept her lip tightly zipped.

While my initial reaction to this was that it was a crass question (and in many ways, it clearly is), the degree to which the Kerry campaign has made stem cell research such a big deal, it does beg a question: if Edwards does believe that better stem cell research would result in people like Christopher Reeves walking again, would he ben willing to donate any remaining embryos to science?

That sounds like a “gotcha” question, but if one finds that question rude or distateful, is it because there are, in fact, some serious ethical and moral questions concerning the usage of these embryos for medical research? If it really is no big deal, or nothing more than a non-scientific worldview to suggest that these embryos oughn’t be considered more than lab fodder, then why not ask the question? At a minimum, why consider it a crass question?

Now, granted, discussing the biological parentage of two small children on the national stage would be highly problematic, but if the stakes are as high as Edwards and Kerry claim they are, perhaps that isn’t too high a price to pay to allow the lame to walk and the blind to see. That is what Edwards, Kerry and Ron Reagan have all suggested in the last several months. If it really is that clear-cut, why not donate and then crow about it?

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  • Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
Rehnquist Not Back Yet; Working at Home

By Steven Taylor @ 12:49 pm

Via the LAT:Rehnquist’s Absence Places Court in Political Spotlight

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who had been expected to return to work after surgery, did not appear when the U.S. Supreme Court reconvened today following its two-week break.

In a statement, Rehnquist said he is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for thyroid cancer. He was released from Bethesda Naval Medical Center last week after a tube was inserted in his throat to help his breathing.

“According to my doctors, my plan to return to the office today was too optimistic,” Rehnquist, 80, said in a statement released by the court. “While at home, I am working on court matters, including opinions for cases already argued. I am, and will continue to be, in close contact with my colleagues, my law clerks and members of the Supreme Court staff.”

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Guessing the EC

By Steven Taylor @ 7:45 am

I would say “analyzing” but “guessing” seems best.

James Joyner
makes his precition and rounds up the last set of EC polls.

Stephen Green has his own list of those Wargaming the Electoral College as well.

I shall make my own prediction by this evening.

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Today’s Zogby: Bush by 1

By Steven Taylor @ 7:27 am

Bush Has One-Point Lead on Kerry - Reuters Poll

Bush led Kerry 48-47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, well within the margin of error, setting up a tense final day in an extraordinarily close race for the White House.

Bush and Kerry were deadlocked at 48 percent on Sunday.

In re: battlegrounds:

Kerry had the lead on Sunday in six of 10 battleground states being polled separately including Florida and Pennsylvania, but Bush had a four-point lead in the critical state of Ohio.

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