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November 02, 2004

Virginia Democrats: First Update From The Boiler Room

The staff here at Democratic Party of Virginia headquarters has been here since 5 a.m. Krispy Kremes have been devoured. Coffee percolated and consumed. And every phone line we have is in use as we speak.

My phone rang at 5:05 a.m.--my friend Dan Drummond, the Fairfax city chairman, called to tell me he had finished putting up signs at his precincts. "I'm like a kid at Christmas," he said, reporting that no Bush/Cheney signs were in sight.

As I write this, polls have been open now for three hours and 21 minutes. By all accounts, it looks like Virginia will have a voter turnout of historic proportions. My boss's brother, who lives in Caroline County, reports a 40-minute wait in line to vote. There have been some spotty glitches, but otherwise things seem to be going smoothly across the state. Our phone has been ringing off the hook with people calling in requesting a ride to the polls, and our rides coordinator, Abbi Easter, and three of her volunteers have been on the phone nonstop for the last two hours. No voter will be left at home without a ride, from what it sounds like.

If you haven't voted, please remember to do that ... expect long lines, and be patient. I'll be heading back home in a little while to vote and pick up my mother, who will spend her second Election Day here helping out at party HQ.

A real excitement is building. Dan Redwood, our amazing volunteer coordinator from Virginia Beach, emailed us last night to say that someone passed on to him that some internal polling in D.C. showed Kerry beating Bush in Virginia by 1 percentage point. My last phone call last night was from a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot, who asked if we had photos of our Democratic electors. Everyone, everywhere seems to be preparing for victory.

On a personal level, I'm feeling good. Really good. Yesterday I started thinking about this long, long journey. I staffed my first event related to the primary in June of 2003, when Joe Lieberman visited Richmond. Sixteen months. The fight for an early primary...our Sign4Nine petition drive...our most successful Jefferson-Jackson dinner with four of the presidential candidates...our Feb. 10 primary, with a record-setting 400,000 voters who participated in that election...our visits from John Kerry and John Edwards, which started way, way back in 2002...our state being targeted as a battleground for the first time ever...incredible state and national conventions (thank you, Aaron Mahler, for your amazing photography work)...our amazing local committees and their efforts (especially Lynchburg, which will always be near and dear to my heart, thank you, Rob Daniel and Sara Parker!)...our grassroots groups (thank you, Eric Graves and Heather Bridge), the Deaniacs, the progressives (thank you, Robin Crane), the people who stood on boiling sidewalks registering voters standing in line for "Farenheit 9/11,"...my wonderful MeetUp group in Richmond and elsewhere (thank you Mike O'Neill, Lee Williams, Morgan O'Leary, Bob and Nita Jones, Dan Redwood, and Kurt Navratil in Roanoke, Rick Howell in Amherst, Jan May in Staunton, and so many others across the state who made MeetUp the phenomenon that it was and is)...the Virginia veterans, those amazing veterans, Rick O'Dell and Paul Sullivan and others, whose ongoing sacrifice for John Kerry in this election's ground war made me weep with gratitude and helped inspire me...an amazing coordinated campaign effort.

From Day One of this campaign, we've been determined as a staff, as a party, led by our Governor, Mark Warner, to make Virginia competitive for John Kerry and John Edwards. As Lindsey Reynolds, our executive director, is fond of saying, "Don't tell Virginia Democrats it can't be done." With few exceptions, the Virginia media has spent much of this campaign comfortably perched behind its collective desk, talking to the pundits, watching the polls and reporting that absolutely nothing has been happening in Virginia. All the while, we have been working. And working. And working. You can't tell the 64,000 people who signed up to volunteer in Virginia that nothing is happening, that there is no campaign. You can't tell our grassroots activists who stood on street corners to register voters that nothing is happening. You can't tell our phone bankers and door-to-door canvassers that nothing is happening. You can't tell the 330,000 new registered voters that nothing is happening. We know what "no campaign presence" means here in a presidential year. In 2000, we had one paid staff person in Virginia. This year, there were as many as 33 and currently about 15. Six regional headquarters. Hundreds of thousands of phone calls made...thousands of signs distributed...50,000 bumper stickers handed out in the first two weeks our coordinated office was open in Richmond. Blink and you miss it? I don't think so. We haven't missed anything. We've been here all along, working our collective asses off.

Regardless of who wins--and I feel good about Kerry's chances today--Virginia Democrats can hold our heads high. "No retreat...no surrender," goes the Bruce Springsteen song. We never retreated...never surrendered...we did not cede Virginia to George Bush and the Republicans. We have victory within our grasp today.

Go, Kerry, go!

Posted by laura at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

The Votemaster Unmasked

Many of us have been fans of electoral-vote.com throughout this campaign. The site compiles polling information and does constant projections of the winner. Your opinions of polling aside, the site has had a fascinating effect if for no other reason than the consistant, non-partisan honesty and wisdom expressed by the guy behind it.

Who is this guy? Well, nobody knew until today. He purposely kept his name and location out of the picture along with refusing to take donations or paid advertising of any sort. He paid for the entire site expenditure out of his own pocket and has created quite a following - about 650,000 hits a day - across the campaign spectrum.

His name is Andrew Tanenbaum and he's a God in the Computer Science world. He's written operating systems, software, numerous books and is a respected professor. He also is an American living in Amsterdam.

His story, and his political views are eloquently revealed here:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/info/votemaster-faq.html

And, yes, he's extremely pro-Kerry and even went so far as pursuing being one of the DNC's Delegates Abroad to our convention this year.

His pro-Kerry stance has not, however, appeared to skew his project in any way since he is a true scientist and he lets the numbers speak. His predictions of a Kerry victory, though, don't hurt one bit. :) Granted, we're all a bit fed up with polls and nothing will happen without follow-through, so the only thing that matters right now is voting. And making sure your family members vote. And your friends. And your neighbors. And people you've never met. You get the idea...

A relevant excerpt from his FAQ:

Let me tell you a short story. When I was in elementary school, the school was plagued by a bully. He was the biggest, strongest kid around and would beat up anyone he didn't like. We were all exceedingly polite to his face, but hated his guts behind his back. One day he was chasing some poor kid and he tripped and skidded a considerable distance, scraping his face on the rough asphalt of the playground. He was bleeding and in pain, screaming for help. But nobody came to help him. We all just walked away. George Bush is the world's playground bully. The world sees him--and by inference, America--as arrogant, self-centered, and mean. I spoke to Americans from dozens of countries at the DA caucus. Everyone told the same story--the world hates America. When talking to foreigners, I can tell them about the Bill of Rights or freedom or World War II, or whatever I want, but all they see is this big, stupid, arrogant, playground bully and a stolen election in Florida last time. I think America deserves better. I want America to be respected in the world again, and John Kerry can restore the respect America deserves.

DocDem is alive and breathing, but we've all been pretty swamped of late and our hardcore readers are all knee-deep in GOTV activities. I spent just about every waking hour of this weekend on a 16-minute photo and music video montage to be used at three election parties tomorrow night. I'll be turning attention back to some late day posting as the evening rolls around. Tomorrow I'm working at various precincts (one in particular) in my Amherst voting district and am then on the road to Richmond for the festivities with DPVA staff and guests.

Things are looking sweet. Don't slow down, do everything you can tomorrow to get people to the polls, and let's keep turning Virginia blue in these last 24 hours. All of our work for months has come down to the single most crucial factor to make it worthwhile: VOTE.

Posted by amahler at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

Wow... sure is crowded!

Thought I'd share a few rally photos I've been seeing on the net this week:


Kerry in Philadephia, PA this morning.

Kerry in Pueblo, CO yesterday.

Kerry in Minneapolis, MN last week.

Posted by amahler at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2004

100 Facts and 1 Opinion: The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Admin

This list, which prints VERY nicely as a single sheet PDF, is available at The Nation.

It includes topics such as Iraq, Terrorism, National Security, Cronyism, The Economy, Education, Healthcare, Environment, Rights & Liberties, Bush Flip Flops, some biographical information, Secrecy and one resounding opinion:

If the past informs the future, four more years of the Bush Administration will be a tragic period in the history of the United States and the world.

This is an excellent piece to pass around and shouldn't give those with a short attention span (like most Bush supporters that I know) a heart attack.

Posted by amahler at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

Misinformed Bush Supporters: Some Numbers

Summarized numbers from the PIPA report regarding the beliefs of surveyed Bush supporters:

  • 75% believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
  • 74% believe Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade.
  • 72% believe Iraq had WMD or a program to develop them.
  • 72% believe Bush supports the treaty banning landmines.
  • 69% believe Bush supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
  • 61% believe if Bush knew there were no WMD he would not have gone to war.
  • 60% believe most experts believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
  • 58% believe the Duelfer report concluded that Iraq had either WMD or a major program to develop them.
  • 57% believe that the majority of people in the world would prefer to see Bush reelected.
  • 56% believe most experts think Iraq had WMD.
  • 55% believe the 9/11 report concluded Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda.
  • 51% believe Bush supports the Kyoto treaty.
  • 20% believe Iraq was directly involved in 9/11.

Posted by amahler at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

The Bush Admin Is Failing At Securing the Homeland

The non-profit group, Private Citizen, has put together an assessment of the current state of homeland security. Their report is broken into separate PDFs on aspects including chemical, nuclear, water supply, ports etc., along with an executive summary and an overview.

A few samples:

Regarding Nuclear Plants:

"Twenty-seven state attorneys generals warned Congress in October 2002 that the consequences of a catastrophic attack against one of the country�s 103 nuclear power plants 'are simply incalculable.' The plants were not designed to withstand the impact of aircraft crashes or explosive forces, and the government does not require nuclear plants to be secure from an aircraft attack. Radioactive waste is stored in standing pools or dry casks, making it vulnerable, and the plants have grossly inadequate security. But the Bush administration and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have resisted congressional efforts for additional security regulation. In fact, the NRC proposed weakening fire safety regulations, which would make it harder for a reactor to be safely shut down in the event of a terrorist attack."

The reasons for his failures include an aversion to regulation and a fear of upsetting the apple cart among his big money donors that are so often associated with these industries.

"'Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush has made protection of the American people from terrorism the rhetorical centerpiece of his presidency,' said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. 'Yet this administration has failed to use its executive powers or support legislation to mandate regulatory requirements that should be taken. Bush has abdicated his responsibility to protect America from the risk of terrorist attacks because he is fundamentally hostile to regulation of private industry, including the industries analyzed in this report, and is loath to cross his big money campaign contributors.'

Bush can fling around all the rhetoric he likes about being our great protector in his stump speeches, but his actions don't match his words. Whether it's homeland security or dragging us into a quagmire on the basis of lies, this administration continues to say one thing while doing another. The results could well be catastrophic.

Posted by amahler at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

According to Pat Robertson, God wants a lousy, arrogant president

Ok, that's my reading of his remarks anyway.

Our blog is focused on Virginia which just happens to be home to two people who can't seem to keep politics, religion, flag-waving and the Bible from being mixed together so thoroughly that it's hard to tell where the Constitution ends and the scripture begins. It's no shock that they are both part of the far right that is fueling the division in this country and laying the groundwork for the GOP tearing itself apart at the seams in the coming years.

Falwell, founder of the now defunct Moral Majority of the Reagan era, has had his hand in politics for as long as I can remember (I've grown up living in the shadow of his empire centered here in Lynchburg). Just this past weekend I spent several hours at a Kerry/Edwards table handing out stickers, yard signs and information at the local Apple Harvest Festival in rural Amherst. On Saturday we were vastly outnumbered by the Bush/Cheney ground troops that, in our area, come in the form of an army of polite Liberty University students. I remember one young woman being in a hurry to leave her post so she didn't miss an open house at Liberty's new Law School named in honor of Jesse Helms. I think I literally shivered hearing her words.

Pat Robertson, the man behind The 700 Club, Regents University, and a former candidate for President lives in Virginia Beach at the center of his religious and political media empire. Let me let Pat profile himself in his own quotes:

From a 1992 fundraising letter:


The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.

On his show, The 700 Club, in September 1991:


[Planned Parenthood, a pro-choice group] is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism - everything that the Bible condemns.

During a 1993 address to the American Center for Law and Justice:


"There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore."

And, as a Presbyterian, I especially enjoy this one (quoted in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast):

"Presbyterians are the spirit of the Antichrist."

I could fill pages with his mind-boggling quotes.

So, let me turn to his most recent quotes from an interview on CNN with Paula Zahn:

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world,' " Robertson said on the CNN show, "Paula Zahn Now."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

Over 1,100 US troops have died in Iraq so far with over 8,000 wounded (a number that I've been told several times is highly conservative due to a deliberately narrow definition of "wounded" that excludes psychological damage).

Robertson goes on to indicate that Bush should admit his mistakes. Despite all of this, though:

Even as Robertson criticized Bush for downplaying the potential dangers of the Iraq war, he heaped praise on Bush, saying he believes the president will win the election and that "the blessing of heaven is on Bush."

"Even if he stumbles and messes up -- and he's had his share of stumbles and gaffes -- I just think God's blessing is on him," Robertson said.

Let me throw in a few more interesting Robertson tidbits. Robertson's Operation Blessing International program received half a million dollars as a result of Bush's push for funding of faith-based initiatives. When Bush first announced his faith-based initiative concept, Robertson blasted it as a "real Pandora's Box". It's likely the only opinion he and I have ever shared.

Of course, he's now become a recipient of the vast wealth discovered in Pandora's box. OBI has been known to use its humanitarian aid resources, namely planes and pilots, to assist in hauling equipment for Roberton's diamond mining operations in Zaire. Then there is the matter of OBI giving a $2 million grant to Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Oh, and its $2.5 million purchase of Ensure, Splenda and $10.4 million spent on candy and panty hose. Go here if you can stand to read more.

Posted by amahler at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Nevada Judge's Ruling on Shredded Voter Regs: Too Bad

For background: I wrote about this issue on Wednesday.

Clark County District Court Judge Valerie Adair told the AP today that she didn't wish to open the "floodgates" to manipulation of the voter roles by allowing those Democrats who had their registrations shredded re-register.

Granted, I think manipulation of the voter roles already happened when an RNC funded company filed Republican registrations and systematically ran Democratic ones through the shredder... but apparently that's beside the point.

Judge Adair is a registered Republican. Make of that what you will.

Posted by amahler at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

Gen. Sanchez of Abu Ghraib fame up for promotion

In the world of Bush's "Culture of Responsibility", being the man that gave the orders that likely led to much of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal gets you another star on your uniform (from LA Times):

The Pentagon plans to promote Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former head of military operations in Iraq, risking a confrontation with members of Congress because of the prisoner abuses that occurred during his tenure.

Senior Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have privately told colleagues they are determined to pin a fourth star on Sanchez, two senior defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this week.

Rumsfeld and others recognize that Sanchez remains politically "radioactive," in the words of a third senior defense official, and would wait until after the Nov. 2 presidential election and investigations of the Abu Ghraib scandal have faded before putting his name forward.

[...]

"It'll just be one more thumb in the eye of the Iraqis and the Arab world," said Charles V. Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. "If Sanchez gets another star, it's just more evidence that we're not trying to deal with the hearts and mind issues inside Iraq or the larger Islamic world."

[...]

Fay said Sanchez adapted interrogation rules from those at Guantanamo where, unlike in Iraq, the administration did not grant detainees the rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

Sanchez "authorized the use of techniques that were contrary to both U.S. military manuals and international law," Leahy said in an Oct. 1 statement. "Given this incredible overstepping of bounds, I find it incredible that the reports generated thus far have not recommended punishment of any kind for high-level officials."

Abu Ghraib, with it's horrible history as Saddam's most ruthless prison, should have been torn down after our so-called "liberation". Instead, the Iraqi people have now seen the U.S. as the new wardens and the stories and photographic depictions of what happened on our watch are devastating. As if things in Iraq aren't bad enough (1092 U.S. soldiers dead AND bombings have begun happening inside the green zone), the man who had a hand in the activities at Abu Ghraib is now on the list of those to reward.

George Bush likes to wrongly accuse John Kerry of "mixed messages". What message are the people of Iraq to take from this?

Posted by amahler at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

The GOP Voter Fraud Jobs Program

Here's a report from the Miami Herald that relates to our ongoing posts (and, sadly, there are more stories every day) regarding GOP efforts to disenfranchise voters:

Larry Russell, who left the state Republican Party's get-out-the-vote operation when questions came up about absentee ballot applications, has joined the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.

According to an internal Republican Party memo obtained by the Argus Leader, three other GOP workers who resigned also will be involved in the Ohio campaign [...]

Jason Glodt, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, confirmed the memo was authentic. But he said he did not want to comment on an internal communication.

The memo was e-mailed to Republican staffers and officials Sunday evening by Glodt.

"Todd Schleckeway, Nathan Mertz and Eric Fahrendorf have also been recruited to Ohio to work with Larry on the President's campaign," the e-mail said.

How nice. In the GOP world, do you put your involvement in the suppression of Democratic voters on your resume' to give yourself a leg up? It probably goes nicely with "Can speak glowingly of George W. Bush while maintaining a straight face". Great, you're hired!

Posted by amahler at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2004

More States with Possible Voter Suppression

DailyKOS has a good roundup of the growing number of states possibly caught up in the destruction of Democratic voter registration forms.

Consider this an update to my post from earlier today.

So far we're looking at: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Nevada.

The company associated with this controvery is Sproul & Associates run by Nathan Sproul, former head of the Arizona Republican party and (I love this) the Arizona Christian Coalition. All indications are that the company has apparently been doing this on the RNC's dime.

It never ceases to amaze me that the party that seems to claim they have exclusive rights to family values, God, patriotism and freedom sure does have a lot of associates doing some mighty sketchy stuff.

Posted by amahler at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Toledo, OH Dem HQ Robbed - Computers Stolen

Well, more lovely news this morning from the field:

"Thieves shattered a side window overnight at Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, stealing computers with sensitive campaign information and triggering concern of the local party's ability to deliver crucial votes on Nov. 2. Among the data on the stolen computer of the party's office manager were: e-mails discussing campaign strategy, candidates' schedules, financial information, and phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers."

"Also taken were computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security. The thefts have prompted the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Democrats in Washington to offer help and have left local officials fretting about the crime's impact on the upcoming election, in which Ohio plays a high-profile role."

"'This puts us behind the eight ball," party spokesman Jerry Chabler said. "This can affect our entire get-out-the-vote operation.'"

I'll add to this that our own HQ in Norfolk, Va the other night was vandalized. The word "commie" was spraypainted on the wall along with the phrase "4 more years".


So, this morning we have voter registrations being shredded in two states, a serious break-in of a HQ with theft of campaign information on computers, and reports of some odd sleight-of-hand going on to fool people into changing party affiliation in Oregon. Throw in the fact that we've seen massive amounts of Kerry/Edwards yard sign theft (over 300 stolen right here in Lynchburg alone) and who knows what else I've left out.

Posted by amahler at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Dem Voter Regs in Nevada and Oregon Destroyed

One of the stories ripping through the blogosphere during the night has been the discovery that a firm hired by the RNC to do voter registrations in Nevada and Oregon has been systematically shredding forms marked with a Democratic affiliation (from KLASTV in Nevada):

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Two former workers say they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.

"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assisatnt to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.

Eric Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded paperwork including signed voter registration forms, all from Democrats. We took them to the Clark County Election Department and confirmed that they had not, in fact, been filed with the county as required by law.

Later in the night, the Secretary of State of Oregon held a press conference announcing that they had a registration worker on tape tearing up Democratic registration forms. They also claim to have sworn statements from registration workers stating that they were told to tear of Democratic registrations.

The company, Voters Outreach of America, has been largely or entirely funded by the RNC. They are also known to be the firm hired to collect signatures for Ralph Nader's quest to be on the Arizona ballot.

On an interesting sidenote, the firm was evicted in Nevada by their landlord for non-payment of their rent.

Is this how you try to win an election when your candidate is a resounding failure who presides over massive job loss, gives tax cuts to the wealthy while turning a surplus into record deficit, trashes diplomatic relations and sends soldiers to die based on lies? Considering what happened in Florida in 2000, I can't say this comes as a big shock.

Posted by amahler at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

Thanks to Bush, chances of terrorist WMD use vastly increased

The Duelfer report last week confirmed, yet again, that Bush took us into Iraq on the basis of a lie: the threat of Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. We're now in a quagmire with no end in sight (at least two more soldiers killed already this morning) and the reasons for being there are constantly being rewritten by the BC04 campaign narrative.

Much of the attention on the Duelfer report has been on its confirmation that Iraq's WMDs were destroyed in the 1990s and, between 1998 and the start of the war in 2003, his ability to create them was at an all time low. That didn't stop this admin, though, from working to scare the American people into supporting a war by fabricating parallels between Iraq and 9/11 that preyed on fear and emotion.

What hasn't been discussed much is the part of last week's report that indicates that the overall threat of WMDs has now increased due to the U.S.-led invasion and the destabilisation of Iraq. (SFGate article)

This is yet another example of the policies of the Bush administration exacerbating precisely the problems they claim to be preventing. They run a campaign based on the claims that only they can be trusted to make us safer, all the while putting everyone (especially our soldiers on the front lines) at greater risk with each passing day.

Posted by amahler at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

Quote of the Day

"They are willing to say left is right and up is down. The vice president, Dick Cheney, and the president need to recognize that the earth is actually round and that the sun is rising in the east."

- Sen. John Edwards

'nuff said...

Posted by amahler at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

More Proof that Bush is a Failure on Jobs and the Economy

Some clips from MSNBC today:

U.S. planned job cuts soared to an eight-month high in September while new hiring rose only slightly, a report said on Tuesday.

Employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said employers announced 107,863 layoffs in September, 41 percent more than in September 2003 and 45 percent more than in August of this year, when 74,150 were laid off.

The September figure was the largest since January 2004, when employers laid off 117,556 workers.

The September figure brings third-quarter job cuts to 251,585, 19.9 percent more than the 209,895 registered in the previous quarter and 4 percent more than the 241,548 for the third quarter of 2003.

Job losses in September were particularly heavy in the computer, transportation, telecommunications and consumer products industries, the report said.

Adding to the glum jobs picture was the slow pace of new hiring in September. The report said employer hiring announcements revealed only 16,166 new job openings in that month compared with 132,105 in August.

Throw in massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, our surplus being turned into the largest debt in history, a staunch defense of corporate welfare by the GOP, rising healthcare costs and policies designed to dump more and more of the burden on the average person and you've got a good sample of the Bush vision of America.

Fortunately, this is NOT the Kerry/Edwards vision of America and November 2nd is your opportunity to help put this entire country back on track.

Posted by amahler at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Another Republican Bails on BC04

From AZCentral.com today:

A man who until last week was one of Sen. John McCain's top aides is endorsing John Kerry for president, asserting that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have "waged an unprecedentedly cynical and divisive campaign."

Led by Kerry, Democrats now can seize the opportunity to reach out to disaffected moderate Republicans and independents to build "a new political coalition of national unity," Marshall Wittmann writes in the upcoming edition of Blueprint Magazine, published by the Democratic Leadership Council.

"I am an independent McCainiac who hopes to revive the Bull Moose tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, and I support the Kerry-Edwards agenda," Wittmann writes.

He left McCain is now headed to the DLC, a right-of-center Democratic group.

I wish Senator McCain would step up and call Bush and Cheney on their horrid tactics. He was Rove'd pretty badly in 2000 during the primaries and it continues to baffle me that a man of his integrity would continue to choose Bush and the divisive attitudes of the GOP over the greater good of the American people.

Posted by amahler at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2004

The GOP Convention Drinking Game

I don't usually post videos and audio on here, but this little gem I found on the web this morning is both humorous and frustrating. The linked file is a 5 megabyte Quicktime movie, so I don't recommend it for those on a dial-up connection unless you have plenty of time to let it download. It is worthwhile, though, if you can spare the time. Broadband users won't have any real trouble here.

For dial-up users wanting a quick fix, I've extracted the audio into an MP3 file that is 1 megabyte in size. The visuals help, but the audio will do most of the job for you in this case.

The source for this is the Republican National Convention and each invocation is unique - there are no repeats.

If anything makes the GOP message and tactics clear, this is it.

Have a nice weekend!
- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

Sidney Blumenthal on Last Night's Debate

With characteristic grace and eloquence, Sidney Blumenthal (one of my favorite columnists and authors) summarizes last night's debate on Salon:

But onstage the incumbent president ran out of programmed talking points. Unable to explain the logic for his policies, or think on his feet, he was thrown back on the raw elements of his personality and leadership, and he revealed even more profound issues than the policies being debated.

Every time he was confronted with ambivalence, his impulse was to sweep it aside. He claimed he must be followed because he is the leader. Fate in the form of Sept. 11 had placed authority in his hands as a man of destiny.

Skepticism, pragmatism and empiricism are his enemies. Absolute faith prevails over open-ended reason, subjectivity over fact. Those who do not pray at his altar of certainty are betrayers of the faith, not to mention the troops. Belief in belief is the ultimate sacrament of his political legitimacy.

I encourage people to read the entire piece.

Note: Salon requires a subscription. Non-subscribers, however, can obtain a free day pass by watching a very brief ad from a sponsor. You will see this option when attempting to read the article. It's quick, easy and worthwhile.

Posted by amahler at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

A. Q. Who?

One of the somewhat desperate utterances of George W. Bush last night during his miserable debate performance included a reference to "busting" A. Q. Khan. In the context, it likely impressed some Bush supporters even if they had no clue who he was talking about. Obviously, Kahn must be another member of that "group of folks" wanting to do evil things (one of the less weighty monikers I've heard applied to the collection of international terrorists).

Abdul Qadeer Khan was the man behind Pakistan's nuclear program. One of his claims to fame was having to admit that he gave nuclear technology to other countries, including North Korea and Iran.

Pervez Musharraf pardoned him. And guess what? Bush supported the pardon. Now that's what I call getting tough on nuclear proliferation!

Beyond this, the Washington Post reports that not a single member of his network has ever been prosecuted anywhere. Pakistan apparently will also not allow the UN nuclear proliferation watchdogs to interview him.

I'm still trying to figure out where Bush gets his bragging rights on this one. Then again, in the scope of his overall performance last night selling himself as the "War President," this kind of misleading claim is clearly par for the course.

Posted by amahler at 04:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004

Do Bush Supporters Really Know Him?

One thing I frequently encounter when debating with Bush supporters is their lack of actual knowledge about his policies. It's no big shock, really. I've written many times on here about the lack of substance in his speeches, not to mention the misleading terms he uses to disguise bad ideas like the "ownership society" policies that boil down to screwing the little guy. It sure sounds empowering on the surface, though. The "Clear Skies Initiative" sounded good, too, until it was revealed that it would lead to even worse air quality and gave polluters a free pass.

The obvious rule of thumb in this admin is to give bad policies good, positive sounding names. Apparently, some people only read the policy names and then go stick a BC04 yard sign out by their driveway. Upon returning to their living rooms, they wrap themselves in the flag and think happy thoughts for the newly freed people of Iraq. These same folks find the term "flip-flopper" catchy and assume that it must be true... facts be damned.

He is running entirely on a platform based on sounding like a tough guy, instilling fear in the populace, wrapping himself in 9/11 (minus the "My Pet Goat" part) and, more than anything, trying to tear down John Kerry for fear that the campaign might slide into a comparison of track records, discussing real issues and having to admit that his own plan for the future will likely horrify most Americans.

So when this post on Daily KOS came up, it read about like I might expect:

As the nation prepares to watch the presidential candidates debate foreign policy issues, a new PIPA-Knowledge Networks poll finds that Americans who plan to vote for President Bush have many incorrect assumptions about his foreign policy positions. Kerry supporters, on the other hand, are largely accurate in their assessments. The uncommitted also tend to misperceive Bush's positions, though to a smaller extent than Bush supporters, and to perceive Kerry's positions correctly. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments: "What is striking is that even after nearly four years President Bush's foreign policy positions are so widely misread, while Senator Kerry, who is relatively new to the public and reputed to be unclear about his positions, is read correctly."

The study goes on to cite percentages on various issues ranging from labor and the environment to missile defense systems and the UN.

I'd love to see a similar study on Bush supporters and their knowledge of his domestic agenda...

Posted by amahler at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

Words from a Currently Deployed Soldier in Iraq

The blogosphere is fairly hot right now with this letter from a soldier currently deployed in Iraq.

It is entitled "Why We Cannot Win".

Here is just one of his five detailed points to support his thesis:

Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed, again by politically motivated "experts." We came here with some fantasy idea that the natives were all ignorant, mud-hut dwelling camel riders who would line the streets and pelt us with rose petals, lay palm fronds in the street and be eternally grateful. While at one time there may have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly friendly into the recently hostile.

Attempts to correct the thinking in this regard are in vain; it is not politically correct to point out the fact that the locals are not only disliking us more and more, they are growing increasingly upset and often overtly hostile. Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality.

We are told that the locals are not upset because we have a hostile, aggressive and angry Army occupying their nation. We are told that they are not upset at the police state we have created, or at the manner of picking their representatives for them. Rather we are told, they are upset because of a handful of terrorists, criminals and dead enders in their midst have made them upset, that and of course the ever convenient straw man of "left wing media bias."

As a result of his letter, the Pentagon is threatening him with court martial on several points, the most absurd of which is:

The military chain of command is also considering charging Al with violation of 1344.10, the conduct of partisan political activity, and violation of Standards of Conduct for unauthorized use of Government assets to create and email stories.

This is especially hypocritical since 3% of the delegation to the RNC a few weeks back were active duty military. I've not heard any reports of any of them being reprimanded. Apparently this rule only applies when your war is being criticized rather than supported by the guys risking their lives for your political gain.

Posted by amahler at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

Serious Questions Regarding Gallup Polls

There has been a lot of discussion about the Gallup Polls in Democratic circles for several weeks (mostly in the form of wilting and handwringing as numbers are mistakenly taken at face value and fed to us by a media providing NO backstory). People are quite accustomed to seeing Gallup Polls, not the least of which is due to CNN and USA Today being two of their big purveyors.

So when they gave Bush a double-digit lead in their September 13-15 samples (the biggest spread of any of the national polls at that time), it became a big story. What didn't get as much attention was the analysis and discussion (much of it in the blogosphere and not the "mainstream" media) about the GOP having a 7% bias toward likely GOP voters in their process.

Well, their new poll is now out and it also shows a gap that doesn't fit with other national polls. And, to add insult to injury, their bias toward likely GOP voters is now 12% in this poll... which is NOT by any means a valid reflection of the populace.

Here is the amusing catch... the odd gap is closing and looking better for Kerry - even in their newly biased numbers.

This is all another bit of information to consider as you decide whether you wish to put stock in poll numbers. Keep in mind that these rules apply when the numbers favor us, too.

Look at the trends and the poll scene overall. Once you're done thinking about it you've had some moments to superficially feel horrible or wonderful... quit wasting your time and get back to work focusing on what really matters: getting out the vote, registering voters in the final days before the cutoff date, clearing up Bush lies among the misled and the confused, and generally doing the good things Virginia (and national) Democrats are already doing to assure a Kerry/Edwards victory in November.

Some analysis of this issue is discussed here and here. Now get back to work. ;)

Posted by amahler at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

The RNC: Scary Gay People Will Ban Your Bible!

I've been hearing about this all week starting back when there was still some speculation regarding whether this was an offical RNC mailing. The RNC, though, has now confirmed that they are proudly mailing this piece of right-wing, gay-bashing trash to people in both West Virginia and Arkanas (click to enlarge):


Apparently when your incumbent candidate has nothing to lay claim to but a staggering deficit, less jobs at the end of his term than when he entered, and a war based on lies that is killing soldiers, contractors and innocent civilians in increasing numbers... well, don't despair... just bash some people in the name of God and mail it deep into the heart of your rural, religious base.

You've been lying to them for four years... why stop now?

At the moment I'm feeling quite sorry for the true Republicans out there - the so-called Goldwater Republicans - who are having their party pulled ever deeper into the pit of right-wing, religious radicalism. I know I wouldn't want this kind of stuff being sent out under my party's banner.

Unlike George Bush, our candidates do not believe in dividing the nation through distorions and appealing to the worst in people. According to the New York Times:

In a statement, Senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said President Bush "should condemn the practice immediately and tell everyone associated with the campaign to never use tactics like this again."

Unlikely. George Bush has a history of taking the apparent (and hypocritical) high road by calling for tolerance while letting his operatives pander to the lowest of the low. I doubt this situation will be any different.

Posted by amahler at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Pentagon Lifts Restrictions on Overseas Voter Reg Site

Yesterday, I wrote about the Pentagon's extreme firewalling of a website set up to help overseas Americans get registered to vote (here).

The word this morning is, under pressure due to such reports, the Pentagon has now turned off the restrictions that kept over 25 of major overseas Internet Service Providers from being able to reach the site. The stated reason? That it was a several year old set of restrictions that had been accidentally left in place.

Brett Rierson of the non-partisan overseasvote.com stated his disbelief on that explanation and pointed out that voters around the world had been logging into the site without problem for much of the year until very recently.

Whatever the case, over 47,000 people have obtained forms from Rierson's organization and tens of thousands more have obtained them from other sources. Now that the Pentagon site is once again accessible to many people, let's hope those numbers keep climbing. And since Zogby International's study indicates that passport holding Americans prefer Kerry to Bush, 55% to 33%, it's a good chance the majority of these registrations come from people fed up with the current administration.

Posted by amahler at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Get a Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction? Kiss it Goodbye.

Something I just picked up on KOS that is creeping into the mainstream news...

John Edwards made this comment in Ohio:

"Bush will eliminate entirely the tax deduction for home mortgage interest."

Further research yields this press release which states:

The Bush administration's new "tax reform" plan, as revealed in a memo released by his former Treasury Secretary, is a reckless continuation of the President's history of serving special interests on the backs of working Americans.

The President's plan will raise taxes on typical families and take away deductions for home mortgages, charity and health care, hurting middle class families even more than before and rewarding special interests.

Questioning the press release, further digging brought out this Business Week article:

...allowing investment income to go tax-free would have to be coupled with ending the tax deduction for interest paid by corporations and by homeowners on their mortgages -- a huge and far less popular change.

As a homeowner who has relied on the tax break I get on my mortgage interest, this concerns me a great deal. I can't say, though, that is strikes me as big shock since Bush routinely talks out of both sides of his mouth... pandering to the wealthy while campaigning in a substanceless way as the champion of the common man (never offering details... just codewords like "ownership society" that are supposed to sound positive). You don't have to dig far under the surface to realize the middle class is being sold out.

Oh, and don't worry that low income renters will be left out of getting the shaft as well. Here is an excerpt from a Salon entry (referencing a Times article) concerning a Bush admin HUD proposal that will end up costing many low incoming families hundreds more in rent:

"The Bush administration has proposed reducing the value of subsidized-housing vouchers given to poor residents in New York City next year, with even bigger cuts planned for some urban areas in New England. The proposal is based on a disputed new formula that averages higher rents in big cities with those of suburban areas, which tend to have lower costs."

"The proposals could have a 'significantly detrimental impact' in some areas by forcing poor families to pay hundreds of extra dollars per month in rent, according to United States Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican. That extra burden could be too much for thousands of tenants, 'potentially leaving them homeless,' Mr. Shays wrote in a recent letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development."

Compassionate Conservatism at its wealth-favoring best...

Posted by amahler at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

Juan Cole: If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?

Juan Cole has written a very thought provoking piece that might help people gain some perspective on the violence in Iraq:

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

He goes on to lay out a vivid set of geographical analogies that tend to drive the point home. It's well worth reading and it can be found here.

Posted by amahler at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Pentagon Making Overseas Online Voter Reg Difficult

Various reports are cropping up in the blogosphere and on mainstream media sites discussing the fact that a Department of Defense website set up for non-partisan assistance in voter registration for overseas Americans is being heavily blocked by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon claims that the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website has been locked down to deny access to over 25 large international Internet Service Providers (such as the enormous Wanadoo in France, BT Yahoo in Great Britain, and Telefonica in Spain) to limit hacking attempts. Other Pentagon operated sites, though, for things such as benefits and payroll management are not exhibiting similar "protection".

Needless to say, there are a lot of conspiracy theories swirling around over this issue. A recent Zogby survey indicates that American holders of passports favored Kerry by 55% to a Bush at 33%.

An immediate question that springs to mind would be the impact on the military. All indications (subject to some arugment of late) are that enlisted Americans overseas lean heavily Republican. Fueling the conspiracy theories is the fact that the military has voting assistance officers that have been instructed to meet personally with all of the soldiers in their units. Meanwhile, many civilians overseas are running headlong into a firewall when trying to reach the FVA website.

From a Salon.com article on the topic today:

The official -- a self-described Democrat who adheres to requirements of non-partisanship as a voting officer -- could see no explanation other than pure political trickery in the Pentagon's decision to block the FVAP Web site. "There is no way in hell that this is not a deliberate partisan attempt to systematically disenfranchise a large Democratic voting bloc," the official said.

It's easy to see why the Bush administration might be worried about the prospect of huge numbers of American civilians living abroad exercising their right to vote. In efforts to register Americans living overseas, the official has come across a host of people who say they're signing up specifically to hasten Bush's defeat. "I've had so many old people coming to register say, 'I haven't voted in such a long time,' or 'The last time I voted in an election was when Kennedy ran, but we've got to get rid of this man. This man makes me ashamed to be an American.'"

Fortunately, Voter Verified Foundation has established a proxy to help those overseas avoid the problem.

Posted by amahler at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

GWB: Feelin' the GOP Love

In the last few days:

Republican Sen. John McCain on the war in Iraq:


"We made serious mistakes..."

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel on Iraq:


"The fact is, we're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy."

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar on funds for Iraq:


"This is the incompetence in the administration..."

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee claiming he probably won't vote for Bush:


"There is no secret that on some very important issues I have difference with the current administration."

Pair this with declining support for Bush among soldiers in Iraq. Looks like somebody's gettin' thrown under the bus...

Posted by amahler at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

Dissension in the Ranks: 'We shouldn't be here'

I've heard murmurs about this in various places on the net and elsewhere recently, but an article today in the Christian Science Monitor puts the issue on the table: is support for Bush among soldiers in Iraq crumbling?

While we sit on the other side of the world and argue over the course and future of the wrong war in the wrong place, American soldiers, over 1,000 of which have been killed and counting, are facing the grim realities of Iraq firsthand. An increasing number of them are also breaking traditional ranks and making their anger heard both now and, come November 2nd, in the ballot box.

From the CSM:

"Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under "stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep units together during deployments.

While Bush tries to spin his misguided war to his benefit for re-election, at the cost of both American and Iraqi lives, John Kerry is presenting a clear plan to get things back on track and make sure that, in the future, war is used only as a last resort. That message is apparently understood by a growing number of soldiers currently on the front lines:

"There's no clear definition of why we came here," says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my family, to protect the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians or deal with Sadr's militia," he said.

Specialist Swink, who comes from a family of both Democrats and Republicans, plans to vote for Kerry. "Kerry protested the war in Vietnam. He is the one to end this stuff, to lead to our exit of Iraq," he said.

Furthermore, as GOP surrogates continue to mislead and distract many Americans with their distortions about Kerry's outspoken opposition to Vietnam (AFTER serving bravely in combat, unlike Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz), some soldiers actively fighting in Iraq express the kind of support for that opposition that the GOP would like to paint as treachery:

Whether representing pockets of opposition to Bush or something bigger, soldiers and marines on Iraq's front lines can be impassioned in their criticism. One Marine officer in Ramadi who had lost several men said he was thinking about throwing his medals over the White House wall.

The entire article can be found here.

Posted by amahler at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2004

What You Can Do: Dan Redwood Puts It Into Context

Dan Redwood, one of the Democratic Party of Virginia's most active volunteers in the Hampton Roads region, sent the following email to his volunteers about the need for folks to avoid the emotional ups and downs of poll-watching. This is an excellent message, one which I hope everyone will take to heart:


This (past) week's polling data provides what may be the definitive case study on why we should maintain a healthy skepticism toward national polls for the presidential race. Many polls show a statistical tie. But the Gallup poll shows Bush ahead by 13 points among likely voters (although several points less among registered voters) for approximately the same time period. Obviously both can't be true.

Continue reading "What You Can Do: Dan Redwood Puts It Into Context"

Posted by laura at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Offensive? To some, maybe. Worth Reading? Oh my, yes...

So I'm going to bring a previously spotty, sleepy week on DocDem to a screeching halt this Monday morning and share a link to the top DailyKOS diary.

If the f-word makes you deaf to a message or you're easily offended, go ahead and steer clear of this link. (though my advice is to get beyond that and read this anyway)

If, however, you're more than a bit tired of the spastic polls, the media horse race and talking some of your fellow Dems off the ledge, here's a nice kick in the pants to ponder for a bit. The comments that are mushrooming on this article are equally thought provoking.

Jeff Lieber's DailyKOS Diary... regarding closing the hole... and some stuff about pie.

I, for one, am not especially offended by some profanity and I've got a long list of people I intend to share this with.

43 days to go, folks. Our message is right, our candidate is fantastic and we've got work to do. If you're not engaged, hop to it. If you are engaged (and you'd likely not be reading this if you weren't), keep up the good work.

- Aaron

P.S. For those who read this article and think it's saying that we can't have differing points of view or this approach is too much like Limbaugh, I respectfully wish to say that you're missing the point entirely. If you want to see what a lack of free speech, debate and discourse looks like, then sit on your hands for the next six weeks. My two cents.

UPDATE: I wanted to toss in this little comment tree from within the enormous DailyKOS thread. I think it's helpful to read.

Posted by amahler at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

The Excuse Presidency

[No, we've not fallen off the earth here at DocDem... just spread rather thin over the last few days with travel, meetings, etc. Things are starting to return to normal, though, so look for posts to pick back up and life to return to normal.]

I thought I'd take a moment to share some words from John Kerry in a speech he gave earlier today:

Of course, the President would have us believe that his record is the result of bad luck, not bad decisions. That he's faced the wrong circumstances, not made the wrong choices. In fact, this President has created more excuses than jobs. His is the Excuse Presidency: Never wrong, Never Responsible, Never to Blame. President Bush's desk isn't where the buck stops - it's where the blame begins. He's blamed just about everyone but himself and his administration for America's economic problems. And if he's missed you, don't worry - he's still got 48 days left until the election.

And, speaking on the subject of Bush's myriad failures as a Commander in Chief:

We know the truth. George Bush's failed record is the result of George Bush's failed policies. And he chose time and again to do nothing to improve our economy or ease the burden on middle class families. In fact, nearly every choice has made it worse. You can even say that George Bush is proud of the fact that not even failure can cause him to change his mind. This is the man who promised his tax cuts would create 6 million new jobs. Today, three tax cuts later, we've lost a million -- seven million jobs short of his prediction. To George Bush, stubborn leadership is steady leadership. But as far as I'm concerned, George Bush's failures are the result of misplaced values and wrong choices that always give more and more to those with the most and tells the middle-class "you are not the priority."

Only 48 more days to go, folks... 48 more days to casting your official vote for a positive vision of America's future and steering us away from the failed course set, and stubbornly maintained, by George W. Bush.

Posted by amahler at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)

September 09, 2004

Truth Through Parody

I've been an avid reader of The Onion for years since I have a fondness for good parody. That also explains my love of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (click that for one of their best episodes ever).

Sadly, in this era of George W. Bush, media parodies are often the most honest and accurate commentaries out there. Anybody who watches The Daily Show will know what I'm talking about.

So, on that note, I'd like to pass along a link that is making the rounds in the blogsphere of late. The Onion, the gold standard in print journalism parodies, had an article in 2001 called "Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over'". I know I was in a pretty foul mood during that time of Florida election debacles and GWB's inauguration, so I clearly remember appreciating the dark humor as they predicted the coming years under W.

Never would I have dreamed that somebody could annotate that humorous article nearly four years later and suck much of the parody right out of it without changing a single word. Who is laughing now?

Check it out (Warning: it might be slow... many, many hits):

http://chak.org/pages/onion/bush_nightmare.html

Posted by amahler at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2004

Wednesday Noontime Blogosphere

There is a LOT going on all over the blogs these last few days, some of which we'll touch on later. I wanted to take a brief moment, though, to reference an entry at the DNC blog with pieces of Kerry's speech in Ohio today:

$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford after-school programs for our children. $200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford health care for our veterans. $200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford to keep the 100,000 new police we put on the streets during the 1990s.

When it comes to Iraq, it's not that I would have done one thing differently from the President, I would've done almost everything differently. I would have given the inspectors the time they needed before rushing to war. I would have built a genuine coalition of our allies around the world. I would've made sure that every soldier put in harm's way had the equipment and body armor they needed. I would've listened to the senior military leaders of this country and the bipartisan advice of Congress. And, if there's one thing I learned from my own experience in a war, I would never have gone to war without a plan to win the peace.

He also addresses taxes, social security and healthcare with equal clarity. It's well worth the read and you can find it here.

- Aaron

Posted by amahler at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Buzz: Why Virginia Is Tilting Kerry

Check out Benjamin Wallace-Wells' excellent new piece about battleground Virginia in Washington Monthly. Rather than speculate about Virginia's battleground status and conduct phoners from his desk with the pundits, Wallace-Wells actually got in his car and drove around Virginia to talk to real human beings about what they think about the 2004 election.

"Six months ago, Larry Sabato, the esteemed University of Virginia political scientist, told reporters that Kerry was a dead duck in the state. Now, he tells me, Virginia is still Bush's to lose--but Bush may very well lose it," Wallace-Wells writes in his lush description of Virginia and its current dead heat climate.

Speaking of Virginia ...

The August 28 edition of the National Journal has this buzz in the Democratic Insiders Verbatim/Inside Washington column:

"Virginia will be close."

"The big surprise is that there will be no surprise 'blues' turning 'red.' This is John Kerry's election to lose, in spite of all the pre-election punditry otherwise."

Posted by laura at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Wednesday Afternoon Blogosphere

The blogs are whirling with stories and opinions today (just take a spin down our sidebars for clues). I couldn't resist sharing part of this DailyKOS entry.

I think I was starting to develop a nervous twitch last night about the time we got to Schwarzenegger's speech, especially when he referred to Nixon as his initial attraction to the Republican party (citing it in an anecdote that suggested a Nixon-Humphrey debate that never took place... go figure).

"When the strongest nation in the world can be tied down for four years in a war in Vietnam with no end in sight, when the richest nation in the world cannot manage its economy, when the nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of war is plagued by unprecedented racial violence, when the President of the United States cannot travel abroad, or to any major city at home, then its time for new leadership for the United States."

- President Nixon, 1968 RNC Acceptance Speech

I think it's a safe bet that they won't be throwing that quote up on the big screen at the RNC this week.

Posted by amahler at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Sidney Blumenthal: "Isn't this a democracy?"

Sidney Blumenthal never fails to impress the heck out of me with his ability to succinctly and elegantly present the big picture. He has done it yet again with his latest opinion piece on Salon about the staged "Ask President Bush" events and their role in the current administration's overwhelmingly negative campaign.

Floundering in the polls, without a strategy for Iraq, unwilling to say the name of bin Laden, he is always secure in the knowledge that the cheering multitudes before him have been carefully selected. Strutting and swaggering on the stage as though he has conquered the crowd, he plays to true believers. But a 55-year-old social studies teacher from small-town Michigan who would not bend her knee had her ticket to see her president ripped up. "Ask President Bush" has crystallized the essential underlying question, framed succinctly by the greatest American poet of democracy, Walt Whitman, who wrote, "The President is there in the White House for you, it is not you who are here for him."

Be sure to read the entire piece here:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2004/08/19/ask_bush/index.html

Note: Non-subscribers to Salon can get a free daily pass by watching a brief ad. It's well worth the minor hassle.

Posted by amahler at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

The Broken Promises of George W. Bush

For those interested in a list of W's key promises from the 2000 campaign contrasted with the reality of his three years in office, check out Rhetoric vs. Reality by the American Progress Action fund.

Here's a sample from the Spending category:

Rhetoric:

"As President, Governor Bush will...pay the debt down to a historically low level." [Source: Bush-Cheney 2000 website]

Reality:

As of July 30, the national debt stood at $7,316,567,571,232.89, a record high. This year's budget will also create a record deficit: $445 billion, according to the White House. [Source: Treasury Department, 8/3/04, Reuters, 7/31/04]

Ouch.

Posted by amahler at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

Monday Morning Blogwatch

In the tradition of blog news cross pollentation, here are a few tidbits that have caught my eye this morning...

Turnout for the Kerry-Edwards whistle-stop in Missouri is exciting:

20,000 in Kansas City, 10,000 in St. Louis, 5,000 in Jefferson City and 1,500 in Lawrence (just for Edwards).

Hundreds are even coming out after midnight just to wave at Kerry's train (article).

After witnessing Barak Obama's incredible speech (standing about twelve feet to his left) at the DNC, I can pretty well smell the GOP desperation as Keyes' enters the race late in Illinois. His hypocrisy is already well established, too, since Keyes (a Maryland resident) bashed Hillary in 2000 for her New York run with these words:

I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it.

Go figure.

The Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll from Sunday shows Kerry beating Bush by 20 points in New Jersey. There's also a nice 25 point lead there among women. Bush also saw an increase in his "unfavorable" rating, up to 37 from 31.

Bush is also making his first visit to Virginia in more than a year this morning, evidence that he can't take it for granted as solid GOP territory any longer. More to come...

Posted by amahler at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

iTunes Music Store: 9/11 Report & DNC Audio

I just noticed a story on BOPNews this morning talking about Apple's iTunes Music Store having the 9/11 Commission Report and most of the major speeches from last week's DNC available as free audio downloads.

Super cool! I just snagged Barak Obama's speech on my PowerBook and it works like a charm. Off to get the rest...

Posted by amahler at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2004

Group Challenges Falwell's Tax-Exempt Status

I live in Sweet Briar, which makes Lynchburg our local anchor "metropolis". Having also participated in a pro-Kerry rally to greet Karl Rove for his commencement speech at Liberty this year, I couldn't pass up posting this NY Times story I was sent via email a few minutes ago:

Hoping to send a warning to churches helping the Bush campaign turn out conservative voters, a liberal group has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service charging that an organization run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell has violated the requirements of its tax-exempt status by endorsing Mr. Bush's re-election.

Later in the article:

Yesterday, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argued in a letter to the I.R.S. that one of Mr. Falwell's religious organizations, Jerry Falwell Ministries, had disseminated the message in violation of tax rules, which restrict tax-exempt religious groups and charitable organizations from engaging in politics.

The entire article can be found here.

Posted by amahler at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

WP Article: Bush Motivating His Base

The Washington Post has an interesting article this morning about the Bush campaign's focus on massively motivating his base (with emphasis toward the far right) rather than focusing on swing voters:

Democrats say Bush's approach is novel. "It's a new way to run for president," said James Carville, the strategist behind Bill Clinton's 1992 victory. Whereas "usually you quietly shore up your base and aggressively court the swing voter, Bush is aggressively shoring up his base and quietly courting the swing voter."

Some Bush allies say it is more efficient to boost turnout among partisans than to sway the fence-sitters, who the campaign believes may be 10 percent of the electorate or less. "How much time and energy do you give to picking up the 10 percent, who are disengaged from politics, and how do you communicate with them even if you want to?" asked Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "You can go to the 45 percent [who already support Bush] and ask them to bring a brother or a sister or a friend to the polls."

This is an interesting read, especially as we are witnessing such fantastic unity and motivation in Kerry's base. I live in fairly conservative central Virginia and the latest poll numbers show Bush over Kerry around here by a mere four points. Hhhhmmm....

Posted by amahler at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2004

Bringing Truth Back to the Presidency

The Washington Post has an article worth checking out:

In one of a series of interviews since teaming up on Tuesday, Kerry and Edwards predicted they would win the political fight over which party best exemplifies the values and ethics of most Americans, but Kerry said they would wage that battle on their terms and not what he called the Republican Party's "little political, hot-button, cultural, wedge-driven, poll-driven values."

Sounds good to me. The sheer negativity blowing out of the GOP of late is staggering and I think lots of people (including members of their own party) are getting plenty tired of it.

Posted by amahler at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2004

The Software Politics Of 2004's Presidential Race

Having spent days working on building this website, its associated email interface and a related mailing list engine - all using Open Source Software - I was drawn to this Slashdot article like a moth to a flame:

The NYT(free registration required) has an article talking about the polarized use of OSS in the building of campaign Web sites. Specifically, it states that the sites for John Kerry (Democratic candidate for President) and the Democratic National Committee are built using OSS, while the site for President Bush's re-election campaign uses IIS.

You can read the full article here.

Posted by amahler at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)