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The Tally Ho

Saturday, October 30, 2004

All The Presidents Sons

Have you noticed that who all of the current sons of elected presidents seem to be endorsing Sen. Kerry? Well, okay, John Eisenhower and Ron Reagan have. But yesterday I read that Franklin Roosevelt’s grandson is for Mr. Kerry, and would like Mr. Bush to stop using his father on the campaign trail. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg has said the same thing. Ex- Governor Millken of Michigan is for Mr. Kerry... anyway, back to James Roosevelt, Jr. He writes for Newsweek

Last May, I walked through the magnificent new World War II Memorial that was soon to be dedicated on the National Mall in Washington. The architecture, sculpture and carved quotations were impressive. But it was the faces of the retired veterans and the depth of feeling in the eyes of their wives and widows that was most moving. As I watched them read the words of inspiration from the war's leaders etched into the stone walls, I thought of my father, who served during the war as a Marine in Carlson's Raiders. His father, my grandfather, was making his own contribution: as president of the United States.

Today, I remember the words etched into that memorial while I read the news from Iraq. The contrast is stark. This summer, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's name and legacy were invoked by almost a dozen speakers at the Republican National Convention. But George W. Bush is not, and never will be, a president like FDR...

...Most importantly, Dr. Win the War (as FDR was called) met with the leaders of the Allied nations throughout the war to plan the peace. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, together with Joseph Stalin and sometimes even Charles DeGaulle, knew that military victory leading to an unplanned peace was hollow and potentially disastrous. Iraq today proves that their fears were well founded...

...For Bush to grant himself this title is an insult to my grandfather and the inspired leaders who led this country in wars that were just. To put it simply, George W. Bush has not earned the right to be called a War President.

Back to the election, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD (who I haven't read on a regular basis since he returned - my bad) writes that the Kerry Strategy is to win the big three (PA, OH, FL) and that in theory it would be enough to win. There is some argument about how close Michigan really is, and if Bush's Michigan push is really the need to counter the very good chance that Kerry/Edwards does sweep the big three. Also, it sounds as if Dems are not finishing strong in New Mexico and New Hampshire is KE'04. The good news is that sweeping New England, the big three, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Delaware, Illinois, the entire Pacific West Coast including Hawaii equals 262 electoral votes. Notice this is without Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, or West Virginia. Chances of Mr. Kerry getting the neccessary 8 evs out of that lot is pretty damn high. Not to mention that MI, WI, and IA all have Democratic Governors and were states that went for Mr. Gore. Even if you remove Florida, and to think that FL won't have more problems this year than in 2000 is a rosy picture - don't rest your hopes on Florida, it leaves Mr. Kerry with 235 EVs, 35 to the Presidency. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota is 37 EVs. So in other words, things look good by their model. If you want to play with an electoral calculator, click here. I usually don't like to do the above out of fear of a jinx, however I find it interesting. In the end this year is going to be about who registered more new voters and who gets more new voters to the polls, and how high or low the incumbents job performance is. I know one woman who traveled to Ohio. Elwood is going to Wisconsin. Jen from Good Intentions posted that she is off to Florida. I'll be phone banking all weekend (and wish I was in OH or FL). Mattb25, a dKos poster, lists his predictions.

I leave you this image from MyDD

Friday, October 29, 2004

A Few Thoughts

I’ve been too busy to blog, and am considering blogging off for a bit. I say that but now, but I don’t really believe it myself. Still, blogs aren’t as interesting as they were. My guess is that downloading audio blogs onto mp3 players or individual posts onto handhelds will be the next step.

Baseball: First, congrats to the Red Sox. Great effort and they deserved it. I don’t like how Schilling is being a shill for Bush, but it’s a free country. It doesn’t take away from the fact that he gave it his all. Nick is right, I overestimated the effect of playing in a National League park. I thought Oritz at first posed a few problems. However, the story was the Sox pitchers pounding the strike zone while the Cards pitchers danced around the plate and allowed the patient BoSox to choose their pitches. In game four when Marquis threw his 100th pitch, Lowe was at 38. I was happy it was the Cards and BoSox because they were the best two clubs in the game – and probably the two most fun teams to watch this year, and both teams have great fans. But baseball is an unpredictable sport – and it was the year for the Sox (finally). The playoffs do not necessarily have the same outcome as the regular season, and this BoSox team was built for the playoffs. One thing that Yanks and Cards have in common is that they seemingly had no left handing pitching. The BoSox are loaded with good lefty hitters and Ray King or Felix Heredia is not enough to counter. The Yanks went out and got A-Rod and Sheffield, but no left handed pitching – despite already having Wells and Pettitte! Not to mention, wouldn’t you rather have Tajada and Vlad to build around? Speaking of the Yanks, it may seem like I dislike them. I don’t. But these aren’t the fun to watch Yanks of the mid to late 1990s. Still, you have to like the way Jeter, Matsui, and Posada play. Just like Cubs fans have to respect Renteria, Pujols, and Matheny. As for bad fans, think about opening day next season. When Boston fans scream “choke” at the top of their lungs while raising that championship banner – against the Yanks.

Politics/Election: I agree with Trope about wanting the election to be over. While the real election started with the first debate – the one in which Senator Kerry smashed all of the nonsense that the Bush spent millions trying to convince swing voters of. Then the post debate campaigning… I do think that if Mr. Kerry will be the next president, I worry that if we truly are two countries – the country that loses will refuse to see Mr. Kerry as legitimate – much like many Democrats and liberals have never seen Mr. Bush as legitimate. I am hoping for a large margin of victory electoral wise so the courts have little impact on the overall outcome. But good things have come from this; a new generation of activists helping voter turn out to be at an all time high, the left and the Democratic Party on a similar page. I just hope that if the Mr. Kerry loses the coalition doesn’t break down – you don’t give up the fight because you lose an election. Or if Mr. Kerry does win, forgetting how much has to be done and corrected, that not every groups issue will get dealt with in the next four years, especially when you don’t control Congress. For example, if you want to get rid of Taft-Hartley you probably need 60 Senators. If President Bush loses I don’t think the GOP will go into crisis mode for very long, maybe just a quicker purge of the moderates. But this is all irrelevant because Mr. Kerry will take PA, OH, and FL… or at least all three look good – and Florida which I think is the least likely of the three, according to Kos, is in good shape. If Mr. Kerry really does win Miami-Dade by 90,000-100,000 votes it is hard to see him lose (check out the new NDN Ad). I guess I am counting on the DNC and other groups working on GOTV to carry us to a victory. Traditionally, large turnouts favor Democrats. We will see.

You probably have seen the new Eminem video. If not, click here.

Stockton and Tweed have few posts that don't provide entertainment!

If you follow health issues, you may have seen this article about states and Obesity rates.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cats are Democrats

Really? Kirk Anderson says so.

From a Cardinals Fan

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and all of the really great fans that make historical baseball dynasties possible. This is what is beautiful about baseball--great towns, great teams, great fans. While I am a bit disappointed by the Series that I thought would go to seven games and challenge both teams, I respect and appreciate what the Sox have done and what their fans have gone through.

In contrast to the upstanding nature with which Cardinals fans take losses and acknowledge others' achievements, my university is today filled with classless, bitter Cubs fans wielding red and blue brooms and making fun of the Cardinals. I will never understand Cubs fans. As far as I am concerned, I would root for the Cubs if they made it to a world series, but I will never consider Cubs fans good people when it comes to baseball. So, I wish to celebrate a crowning achievement for the BoSox and appreciate what the Cardinals did this year as something special in its own right. As for Cubs fans...maybe next century will prove better for your organization's success potential.

P.S. Steve, it doesn't look like the BoSox had problems in the Nat'l League park after all.

World Champion Boston Red Sox

A Red Sox Fan


There is more than politics...

Our national pastime

I just wanted to share the warmth in my heart as I listen to Elwood and Steve recap the entire World Series, telling the same jokes and pointing out the same stats that we've been hanging onto for the last eight games. Yes, the Red Sox won the first World Series, and they won the hundredth. The Cubs are now the uncontested "curse" team. Curt Schilling really is a classy guy. Johnny saves. And though no one else is paying attention to him, I think that Bellhorn and Braid-Boy are goin' places.

There was a full lunar eclipse tonight, and some in our house were struck by the fact that during the dark of the moon the entire game froze (no runs for anybody) and the Sox got their last out just as the light was peeking back out onto the moon. That's the fun thing about baseball: all the stats and history and coincidences. It's easy to believe there's something mystical about it.

Rest in peace, Babe.

Monday, October 25, 2004

International Man of Mystery

Yes, I am back once again. My leaves of absence disturb me, but my life has an interesting way of spinning beyond my control. So, I am currently in New York visiting Steve and decided to relay some information and thoughts.

About myself, I returned from Paris in August and am now back in the cultural mecca that is Decatur, Illinois finishing my endless list of degrees. I cannot think of any place that I would rather NOT be at this point in my existence. Anyway, I'm not spending much time there as I am busy traveling around the country and the world for interviews and in search of jobs...Thus, my current presence in NYC until tomorrow night. I am in town for a series of interviews with investment houses and accounting firms and am getting a feel for jobs, for the city, and what it has to offer (in case my fiancee and I end up living here). In that regard, NYC pales in comparison to Paris from my perspective. I don't find it endearing or aesthetically pleasing or overly comfortable. But, it is the center of opportunity in the wonderful world of finance and thus, it is my major destination state side. It is manageable, but it will take some getting used to.

As for my take on things happening in the world right now, Steve and I have of course had some interesting conversations since I came to town. First, the flu vaccines. Those of you who read the blog often know how passionate I am about France and the French (I may be the only non-French in the world who is so). But, I find it telling that in a world where the contrast between "developed" society of Europe and "developed" society of the US could not be further apart, it is Europe who seems to be perpetually accentuating our flaws. We have piss poor foreign policy, they let the world know. We have a "third world" healthcare system, they have to rescue us. How can the world's most powerful sovereign nation not be able to defend against something as basic as flu? And that is to say nothing of funding or gov't programs. This brings to the forefront one of our many weaknesses in a very real and frightening way. But, will enough Americans notice or care enough to push for change?

Steve and I were also talking about American economics and the future of the country's industries. Personally, I understand that Dems need to run on the economy. Also, I feel that the Bush presidency has done a shitty job of managing the economy. But, my economic thinking tells me that no one can save us...we are too far down the hole. Sure, macro numbers look increasingly better and indicators look like we are out of the recession. However, it is just fog. Look at American workers and American education. How did we get here? We got here because we as a society took the Wal-Mart mentality. We want more things at lower prices--forget the value-added of a good product. We what huge houses that fall apart. We want cars that are trendy but don't run 6 months past their warranty. ETC ETC ETC. So, the Boomer generation has grown to cut costs and lower prices. And, Pavlovian American consumers have been conditioned to EXPECT low prices. Thus, job attrition...we priced ourselves out of our own labor market. Additionally, who educates today's business students? Boomers. Is change on the way? Not for 20+ years. The real American economy, in my extraordinarily humble opinion has no where to go but down until we figure out how to convince the WORLD that there is value in value-added and that production cost and price shouldn't be the driving factor behind consumption.

But, coming back to the first note about healthcare, in the same Pavlovian method, we have been trained to EXPECT low taxes. Now, the economy is in the crapper, we want programs, we want security/wars/etc, but we don't want taxes. The race isn't really for President. The race is for the CEO of Fantasyland. We can't balance budgets because we don't have the economy to support it. We can't increase taxes because Americans are already in their pockets. We can't create new programs because the risk on T-Bills and T-Bonds is going to change if we keep digging ourselves spending holes. For the last 60 years, we have been invincible. Not so much anymore. We have serious social issues, serious economic issues, serious world issues and we don't have the resources to challenge them to a resolution with little hope in sight for the future. I look at 2000 as a defining moment. And, to close with a quote for a discrediting quote from a Kevin Costner movie, "When a defining moment comes along, either you define the moment or the moment defines you...That was a defining moment and the definition was shit."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Oregon Ballot Measures

While filing out my Oregon ballot today I came across a fairly insane argument in favor of banning gay marriage. Based on the Bible, this guy goes well beyond the religious right to a point further into infinity. is his website where he blames homosexuals for the rise in heterosexual divorces. He's not the only one that has a radical view point. At the end of another "Argument in Favor" is a man from the Traditional Prejudices Coalition who says "Agree with us or burn in hell!" Nice touch for a Voter Information Guide! Of coures there are the usual against "the law of nature." Blah blah blah. Not one person had a cogent argument for this measure. I'm voting No on this one. Are there any other states voting on this issue this year?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mis-conceptions

We saw an advance screening of Vera Drake tonight. It's a sign of my over-involvement in the abortion debate that I had a hard time "reading" the film ("Whose side are they on?" I kept asking myself.) THEN I made the mistake of going into the message boards at IMDB and reading the several-thousand-word debate that has been festering for the last week and a half, despite the fact that almost no one on there had seen the film. Elwood tagged it an "artsy realist film," and I think he sums it up very well. Big on scene and character development. Small on plot. It's fairly easy to predict what happens, but it's fascinating to watch stoic post-war Brits wrestle with the topic. For the most part, they politely declined wrestling and opted for a cup of tea and change of subject. Subtitles would be illuminating--I think I missed some lines due to thick accent. And no, they're not really on anybody's side, as far as I can tell. Rabid pro-lifers would probably disagree, as Mrs. Drake doesn't end up burning in the fiery pits of hell. But she doesn't go home singing, either. The real villain of the movie never does reappear to take justice, and I found that disappointing... But I'm spoiling your cinematic fun if I disclose all that.

Can I just say that right about now I'm REALLY tired of the abortion debate? Also the sex ed debate. And the war debate. And politics in general. Hell, even the government is getting on my nerves, and I'm normally a backer. This election season may just turn me into an anarchist.

Fortunately, nothing can quench Heather's zeal. She runs Scarleteen, one of my all-time favorite sexual health websites, and also a naughty little blog that I gobble like candy. For the first time, Scarleteen is endorsing a candidate, or un-endorsing Bush, if you prefer. It may seem a little odd to pitch this on a teen health website, but if I and my colleagues are any indication, most of her readers are actually over eighteen. I get some of my best talking points from her. While you're over there, contribute a few bucks. I dare you.

Fafnir reassures us on our election woes.
Did you know that if a Red Stater and a Blue Stater come into contact they will explode an leave behind only a trace of purple goo? It's true! But there is hope. That purple goo can grow up to be a swing vote.

FlyLady has also taken this stance. One of her "flybabies" writes:
Dear FlyLady and FlyBabies,
Marla and her wonderful crew have been reminding us to vote. Looking at one of those magazine maps of the U.S., with red states and blue states and big question-mark states, gave me an idea.

Some FlyBabies are red. Some FlyBabies are blue. But all together, we FlyBabies make up the Purple Party (Marla's favorite color!).

Members of the Purple Party don't all choose the same candidates. They don't all agree on the issues. But members of the Purple Party do care enough to learn about the candidates and issues, and then take the time to vote. This year, it may take more than 15 minutes to vote because so many people are expected to show up at the polls. But you'll have the time to do it from following FlyLady's routines!

PLEASE VOTE! Our future depends on it.

Signed,
An American FlyBaby


(I'm shocked that they haven't jumped onto this "Purple Party" and formed a voting bloc already. Marla and the rest of her crew have scrupulously avoided endorsing any candidates this season, although I'm sure that's taken hours of weeding through member posts. Most of the FlyLady info smacks of conservatism, though tolerance and polite subject-changing are strictly enforced. Marla Cilley has a local political career that she keeps far, far away from her web activities. I wonder how long she will be able to maintain that?)

I'm tickled by all the newfound political activism. But I'm also heart-tired by it.

On a happy note: St. Louis' victory (well-deserved) means there won't be any Houston-Boston proxy war going on in the week before the election. Whew.

Freedom Shots

So, with France providing 2.6 million flu shots to the US - do you think our national leaders and all their wisdom and cleverness will call them Freedom Flu Shots?

Over at Kos Chicago Progressive wrote about this Columbus Dispatch artilce.
"I cannot be confident . . . that Blackwell will, indeed, fulfill his obligation to this court, Ohio's election officials, and Ohio's voters," the judge wrote.


Speaking of Kos and voter fraud, his new article for the Guardian is up and is titled Hollow Victory. It basically discusses the GOP GOTV, err, decrease the Democratic voter campaign.

Red Sox Party in the House that Ruth Built


No team in baseball history has come back from being three down in a championship series to winning the pennant. You can choose to look at it as the biggest choke in sports history or the best comeback in sports history. I prefer the latter.


Damon: 3-6, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 SB.


Lowe: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 So, Win.

The last time the Red Sox were in the World Series, it was 1986. The night Bill Buckner lost the series when the ball squirted between his legs. My family was in the midst of a move. I shared a bed with my brother in the apartment for two weeks. We watched the Mets celebrate. That sucked (though at the time I only had been to 1 game ever - Detroit @ Oakland). After all, I was "the best second baseman/right fielder when glove on" for my little league team.

Update:

Sen. Kerry and staff enjoy watching the BoSox win.

Update II: From Dana's blog Flaneuse
newest fan

and no, I am not a bandwagon fan. First, I have been unusually impressed with the refusal on the part of the Red Sox to give up. Schilling's pitching in Game 6 was a beautiful thing. And then Sam, always looking to pick a fight when we are both down and out (just kidding -- we're cranky is all) found information for me online that not only did the owner of the Sox make sizable contributions to the Kerry and Democratic campaigns, but both A Rod and Steinbrenner have donated to the Bush party of evil. So all I have to say is:

GO SOX!!!! I'm watching and knitting now -- if you make it to the Series, I will be watching all the way: Boston Red Sox : The Official Site. Sorry Dad. I guess the Yankees fan thing now has stopped with your generation of the family (Clay being a Cubs fan and all).


Update III: ESPN's Jim Capel writes about the Yankees
In hindsight, perhaps it was a mistake for the Yankees to raise a "Mission Accomplished" banner above their dugout after Game 3.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Negative of Yanks-Sox Series

The negative of the Yank-Sox series is that not enough attention has been paid to the Houston-St. Louis series. Both teams are playing very well, and the Cards have been fun to watch all year. They led the majors in overall wins - and played in an excellent division. Sure, the Yanks and Sox have felt like the World Series (at least here), but it isn't the World Series. However, last year both the LCSs were by far better than the World Series last year.

Addition: Thanks to Sarah for posting this below. It is by Chris Rattey and titled Ode to a bloody sock
There once was a bloody sock,
Attached to the end of the BoSox rock.
Our man Curt Schilling is the ultimate gamer,
Angus MacGyver must be a Red Sox trainer.
The first time Fox zoomed in on Curt’s shoe,
That’s no magic sneaker … and what’s seeping through?
Then came the bloody sock.

Oh bloody sock, oh bloody sock,
Call ESPN Classic because we have to talk.
Schill the Thrill denied common sense,
And now Game 7, could this get more intense?

One game, 27 outs, and on to the show,
Slapping balls out of gloves is an MLB no-no.
But as we watched the blood seep out of our rock,
We also witnessed the birth of the Boston Red Sock.

- By Chris Rattey, The Lighter Side

Endorsements

First, the Houston Chronicle endorsed Democrat Richard Morrison over Tom Delay. They write "The Houston region and the entire country will be better off if he succeeds." Next, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Democrat Martin Frost. Then both the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier endorse Democrat Daniel Mongiardo over Jim Bunning. Now, also from Kentucky, ex-Republican Senator Marlow W. Cook endorses Senator John Kerry. Sen. Cook writes
I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions. I fall in the category of good conservative thinkers, like George F. Will, for instance, who wrote: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and having thought, to have second thoughts."...

...In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.

To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.

We know his father got him in the Texas Air National Guard so he would not have to go to Vietnam. The religious right can have him with those moral standards. We also have Vice President Dick Cheney, who deferred his way out of Vietnam because, as he says, he "had more important things to do."

I have just turned 78. During my lifetime, we have sent 31,377,741 Americans to war, not including whatever will be the final figures for the Iraq fiasco. Of those, 502,722 died and 928,980 came home without legs, arms or what have you.

Those wars were to defend freedom throughout the free world from communism, dictators and tyrants. Now Americans are the aggressors — we start the wars, we blow up all the infrastructure in those countries, and then turn around and spend tax dollars denying our nation an excellent education system, medical and drug programs, and the list goes on. ...

If you listened to the President confirming the value of our war with Iraq, you heard him say, "If no weapons of mass destruction were found, at least we know we have stopped his future distribution of same to terrorists." If that is his justification, then, if he is re-elected our next war will be against Iran and at the same time North Korea, for indeed they have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, which they have readily admitted. Those wars will require a draft of men and women. ...

...I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court...

...The wonderful thing about this country is its gift of citizenship, then it's freedom to register as one sees fit. For me, as a Republican, I feel that when my party gives me a dangerous leader who flouts the truth, takes the country into an undeclared war and then adds a war on terrorism to it without debate by the Congress, we have a duty to rid ourselves of those who are taking our country on a perilous ride in the wrong direction.

Yeah, I posted most of the endorsement, but I couldn't help myself. Perhaps the shift is underway. Or we hope so.

Again, a good BBC report

This morning the BBC World Service had a story from Oregon again. It was on Lynn Braddock (I am not sure I am spellig her name correctly) of Portland. She lost her son in Iraq, I believe from a landmine. Ms. Braddock discussed how she became depressed and eventually had trouble being at work. She would often wrote letters to her son, and eventually became an activist. Her work started as an ABBer, working to defeat the President in November - and now a supporter of Senator Kerry, and she mentioned that it will take longer than four years to fix the problem caused just in these last four years. But her activism was not just about political campaigns. She adopted a minefield in Cambodia and has been raising money to have it cleared in her son's memory. I think the commentator mentioned that clearning one field costs $25,000. It is a sad story. However, Ms. Braddock commented that she likes the person she has become.

Speaking of military issues, it looks as if the Army is 30% off of their recruiting goals. 40% off recruiting reservists. Still think the draft isn't an issue?

Btw, the Democratic Senatorial nominee in Kentucky, Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, has pulled even with incumbent Jim Bunning. This wasn't even on the radar a few months ago.

Curtis Montague Schilling


7 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 4 strike out, 1 win.

Red Sox are the first team to win three straight in an LCS or World Series after being down three.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Oregon Ballots are out!

I got my official Oregon ballot in the mail this weekend. Oregon is a vote by mail state so every registered voter gets a ballot mailed to their home along with two rather large booklets full of voter information. The first publication was devoted to the 10 various constitutional measures ranging from medical marijuana to gay marriage to property issues. It first lists what exactly is written on the ballot for a yes or no vote. It then explains both pro and con views on each measure, how much it will cost the taxpayers (if any cost) and what the implications are for a no vote and for a yes vote. The second publication was devoted to the candidates for each race, who they are, what party are they representing and what do they stand for in regards to issues. Curiously enough, Dick Cheney was absent from this publication. Why you ask? This is from the local news station:
"Tracey Schmitt, western spokeswoman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said the party in this case chose to only place a statement from Bush in to the pamphlet.

She said there was no deep campaign strategy afoot in their decision to not submit a separate pamphlet statement for Cheney, and pointed out that the vice president has campaigned frequently in Oregon.

Kevin Mannix, state Republican chairman, told The Oregonian that it was his guess that the Republican national campaign is focused on Bush and didn't see a need to send out any additional information on Cheney."

I will say that Oregon does a good job of informing the voter with those booklets. I never received anything like that from the Illinois State Government! I'll let you all know if this voting by mail thing is worth not having to go to the polls on November 2nd.

BBC/Baseball/Stuff

This morning on the BBC they were covering rural Oregon and the presidential election. They interviewed a gentleman who basically said that there was little he liked about the president, but since Mr. Bush is opposed to abortion he is voting for him. A friends mother said used the same rationale for voting for then Gov. Bush over Vice President Gore. Last night former New York City mayor Ed Koch was on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Koch said that there was not a single domestic issue that he agreed with the president on, but was supporting him because of the GWOT. The gentleman in Oregon is a single issue voter on abortion rights. Mr. Koch is a single issue voter for the Bush style GWOT. I don't understand single issue voters.

Brian Lehrer is discussing the judiciary and the election on his 30 issues in 30 days segment.

The Cubs need to go after Carlos Beltrane, move Patterson to left. Yeah, yeah, Moises Alou had a great year. But Alou is 38 and Sosa didn't have a great year. They also need to solve the middle infield. Nomar or no-Nomar? Walker, Grud, or a defensive specialist like gold glover Pokey Reese?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Baseball and Peanuts

Jim Caple writes:
Consider the Red Sox, who not only played one of the worst baseball games in postseason history Saturday night, they played one of the worst games that did not have Charlie Brown on the mound, a beagle at shortstop and a second-baseman with a security blanket. They allowed 19 runs and 22 hits in Game 3, putting themselves on the edge of winter, one loss from elimination, against a team as unforgiving and relentless as a bank foreclosing on a farmer when it smells final victory.

Was Lucy the catcher?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Phone Banking

Tonight I gave a few hours at a Kerry/Edwards phone bank. We were calling certain counties in Florida - the county that I was calling Mr. Gore in 2000. Our job was to assess who were strongly for Mr. Kerry, probably for Mr. Kerry, or something other. Most of my calls went unanswered, which is expected early on a Sunday evening. However, everyone I did talk to was planning on voting for Mr. Kerry - and enthusiastically so. One gentleman thanked me for calling and asked me to me stop preaching to the choir and round up new voters. Both he and his wife would not miss the vote. One of our reasons for calling was to let voters know that they can request absentee ballots and how to do so. One household I talked to didn't know that they could vote by mail. The same household (multi-family, English as a second language) had a member that registered to vote but had yet to receive a card telling her where the polling place was located. In both cases we gave out the Supervisor of Elections for the state and the local Kerry/Edwards office numbers. All in all it seemed pretty successful. Most people were prepared to vote, and those who did not have the proper information appreciated the phone call and help.

In 2000 I did nothing. Perhaps after the 1996 blowout I assumed that a Gore presidency was inevitable. Despite the disaster of the 1996 TeleCom Act, I may have taken the Clinton presidency for granted. This I regret. This year, and from now on, I am not sitting out elections - just voting is no longer good enough for me. As seen over the last four years, there is just too much at stake - and it can always get worse. Senator Kerry and the Democrats don't have all the answers, but it is a start. We owe that to the next generation, and ours, don't we? (why aren't we using "birth tax" to describe the Bush budget?) Hopefully when they write about the Bush Administration years from now one of the conclusions will be that their failure created a new level of participation and activism among US citizens.

If you want a laugh, Stockton & Tweed have a funny piece about Bill O'Reilly announcing his candidacy for the Illinois Senate Seat. Yes, their site is comedy.

I'm borrowing this from Dana,
"Klaus is a moron. He knows only what he reads in the New York Post." Courtest of: Top Secret! (1984)."

BTW, Nico is in town this coming Friday.

Thoughts

Well the Yankees pretty much ended the series by capitalizing on Boston's terrible pitching. I am glad that I wasn't watching it. The Yanks are like the young Republicans. Bostonians threw tea in the harbor. Here is my advice to the Red Sox. First, sign Pedro Martinez. Second, if you can't get him for a price fitting for a starting pitcher with a 5.42 ERA - don't sign Derek Lowe. Second, sign Carl Pavano. Still, those Yankees have some kind of magic - not to mention a great lineup. You have to admire that.

Jon Stewart is my hero. I emailed many of you a link to Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire. It is brilliant.

If you are looking for something to do this evening, check out the DUMBO Arts Festival. It was pretty good. One place we hit was the Pearl Street Gallery. After that cut over to Cobble Hill and have dinner at Joya. The food is excellent, and you can't beat the price. Five of us each had an entree, we split three appetizers, a bottle of wine, and two desserts and it came about to $80.

OTM has decent stories as usual, but check out Ron Suskind's Without a Doubt in this weeks Times Magazine.
''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''

Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. ''I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!'''

The democrat Biden and the Republican Bartlett are trying to make sense of the same thing -- a president who has been an extraordinary blend of forcefulness and inscrutability, opacity and action.

Speaking of the Times, here is their endorsement of Senator John F. Kerry for POTUS.
Senator John Kerry goes toward the election with a base that is built more on opposition to George W. Bush than loyalty to his own candidacy. But over the last year we have come to know Mr. Kerry as more than just an alternative to the status quo. We like what we've seen. He has qualities that could be the basis for a great chief executive, not just a modest improvement on the incumbent.

We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking - something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change. And while Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam was first over-promoted and then over-pilloried, his entire life has been devoted to public service, from the war to a series of elected offices. He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core...

...Mr. Kerry has the capacity to do far, far better. He has a willingness - sorely missing in Washington these days - to reach across the aisle. We are relieved that he is a strong defender of civil rights, that he would remove unnecessary restrictions on stem cell research and that he understands the concept of separation of church and state. We appreciate his sensible plan to provide health coverage for most of the people who currently do without.

Mr. Kerry has an aggressive and in some cases innovative package of ideas about energy, aimed at addressing global warming and oil dependency. He is a longtime advocate of deficit reduction. In the Senate, he worked with John McCain in restoring relations between the United States and Vietnam, and led investigations of the way the international financial system has been gamed to permit the laundering of drug and terror money. He has always understood that America's appropriate role in world affairs is as leader of a willing community of nations, not in my-way-or-the-highway domination.

We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

On Wednesday the BBC2 is running a special titled The Power of Nightmares. The Guardian's reporting on the special is titled The making of the terror myth.
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the 'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack. But has the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. Andy Beckett reports.

Lastly, a few weeks ago I ordered a free issue of Orion and this week it arrived.
Orion explores an emerging alternative world view. Informed by a growing ecological awareness and the need for cultural change, it is a forum for thoughtful and creative ideas and practical examples of how we might live justly, wisely, and artfully on Earth.

So far I like what I see. Besides the great layouts, it is 100% ad-free. Click here for a trial issue. Hopefully I will have time this week to finish it and make a decision.

Friday, October 15, 2004

stuff and things

Last night I went to Kim’s Uptown to see Battles (the website doesn’t work with Firefox so you gotta use IE – booooo). Let me just say this about Battles. They totally rock. Then Steve made wonderful Thai one-pot dish. He totally rocks too.

My latest time-waster involves finding full-length television broadcasts online. PBS makes me happy most of the time. Lots of NOVA and Frontline episodes to watch from your computi.

One of my recent favs is from Now with Bill Moyers -- a report on the history of presidential debates.

Another gem comes via ReBlog via Boing Boing Blog. It’s a quite moving Schoolhouse Rock episode explaining global power relations.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

What did you think?

A few things. First, there was way too much not covered like alternative energy and stem cells - science in general. Second, I thought Senator Kerry clearly won the debate. Kos refers him as the Zen Master because of how in control and calm he was throughout. Watching Mr. Kerry it seemed as if we were watching the president, not the junior senator from Massachusetts. Third, it seemed to me that the president was still pandering or reassuring his base while the senator was reaching out to the middle.

So I am feeling pretty good as I come home. After talking to my buddy Dustin, terror struck me. What if we lose Wisconsin! Basically, I think Senator Kerry won all three debates. I think Senator Kerry will win the popular vote. Will Senator Kerry hit 270 electoral votes? I think so.

Update: The CW seems to be that after the spin the president is unable to stop the good senator's momentum. Neither delivered a knock out blow. That Mr. Kerry is not fazed when attacked remains presidential throughout the debate, and the multi million dollar anti-Kerry ad campaign has had little traction and in fact Mr. Kerry has increased his likability. Mr. Bush looked a little different in each debate, as if it were a reaction to the previous debate comments (Al Gore, 2000?). James Fallows will be around the dial all day, I'll post a summary of his thoughts if I get a chance. FYI, George W. Bush is the first sitting president to lose all three debates since George H.W. Bush.

Also, remember to donate to your local public radio station.

James Fallows on Brian Lehrer: Here are a few highlights.
  • Debates as mass popular culture: Throughout New York the Yankees-Red Sox game was on without the sound at the same time the Presidential Debates were on, sound on.
  • The Debates have mattered a lot.
  • The "Massachusetts Liberal" label does in fact work. It is about Mr. Bush questioning if his challenger is an acceptable alternative, just like 1988. However, Mr. Fallows notes how the problems in 2004 are more serious and Mr. Kerry is more prepared than Michael Dukakis was. [I have read a few places that people thought the senators liberalism slipped out more last night - but didn't have that big of an effect]
  • Mr. Kerry could have discussed the flu vaccine issue but instead decided to talk about health care. Some say the senator could have knocked the flu question out of the park. But Mr. Fallows says this was purely strategic. Mr. Fallows mentioned a several times in each debate the senator had a similar chance, but stayed to his strategy.
  • Faith Response: A caller seemed to indicate that Mr. Kerry talked too much about being a good Catholic and growing up an alter boy. Mr. Fallows response was that the Kerry Campaign has found that they more they discuss personal issues about John Kerry the better he is viewed.
  • Panel vs. Moderator: Some complained that the individual moderator wasn't a good format. In the past the panels have been a distraction from the candidates as they take up too much individual time.
  • Heath Care & Government: Mr. Fallows says he doesn't know how this back and forth will play out, but that voters probably already have an idea of what they think the best approach is.
  • ABB turned Pro-Kerry: This is something I have read and heard a lot. Starting in the primaries the Democratic and left of center voters said they were ABB (Anybody but Bush). A reaction to the domestic agenda and war in Iraq. But as one caller mentioned, she is now strongly a pro-Kerry voter, not ABB. She specifically mentioned the debates as the cause. Mr. Lehrer says that the senator has been humanized in the eyes of the public. Mr. Fallows mentioned that nothing revealed about Mr. Kerry has hurt him - only helped him.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

No Child Left Behind "on the ground"

I've attended six local school council meetings in the last 30 days, at six different schools. The No Child Left Behind Act has been mentioned in all of them. So before we go into tonight's domestic-policy debate, I thought I'd offer a few recent issues I've heard from Chicago's teachers and administrators.

But first, some excerpts from a recent Chicago Tribune article by Tracy Dell'Angela "City's schools get gold star; 74% improve" (158/218). IL students get tested using the ISAT (IL Standards Achievement Test) in grades 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8, and the PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Examination) in 11th grade. Most 3rd and 5th graders are meeting the state math requirements; the reading scores are still below the state's acceptable rating. The graphic shows a list of most-improved grade schools and high schools; for reference, the grade schools listed had between 51% and 64% of students meeting or exceeding state standards. The range is wider in high schools: between 40% and 73% of students met or exceeded standards on the "most improved" list. In order for a student to "meet standards", they must pass both the reading and math portions of the test. However, writes Dell'Angela, "Last school year, 365 of the city's 600 schools had to offer students the option to transfer to a better-performing school because they had not met federal academic goals for two years in a row." Transfer to where? If every school in the neighborhood is failing, there will be nowhere for the kids to go.

Anyway, concerns that I've heard in the last month:

  • The math is screwy. School H happens to have excellent facilities for special needs kids. Everything is accessible. Teachers are trained to help mainstream students. (I love this school, by the way.) It made the top 10 list of most improved schools. However, a lot of their students come from other neighborhoods, because of the accessibility thing. When schools report their test scores to NCLB, they are supposed to test 90% (?) of their students. But when School H tests their students from other neighborhoods, those students' scores go back to their neighborhood schools and that school gets credit for testing them, while School H does not. So, to calculate how many children got tested, the NCLB administrator took the number of test scores attributed to School H (the neighborhood kids) and compared it to the total enrollment at School H. So School H didn't make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the NCLB standards. They are trying to appeal, but they can't figure out where to direct their appeal.
  • Subgroups are tested inadequately. School J is a neighborhood grade school with a diverse population: recent influx of Somalian immigrants in a traditional Polish neighborhood with some Hispanic and white kids thrown in. The NCLB standards point out that each recognized subgroup has to pass a certain percentage of students for the school to make AYP (I think that no more than 35% of students can fail? But that sounds high). The test is given only in English, and is timed. The white and Hispanic kids, therefore, do markedly better than the Polish or Somalian kids. The ESL teachers are overloaded, trying to get the kids test-proficient in English by April. In the lower grades, it's possible. After about grade 5, there's not much hope.
  • No funding! This is everywhere. Afterschool programs, ESL programs, longer school days... NCLB is supposed to have funds that schools can draw from to help students, but the money has not come in for a year and a half. If a school fails three years in a row, they're required to offer tutoring to their existing students. Some schools are now forced to tutor kids, but don't have any funds with which to pay teachers or buy materials for that tutoring.

Please keep in mind that on its face, No Child Left Behind is a great program. Test the kids using existing instruments. Make sure that minority performance matches whole-group performance. Structure options for both the students and the schools if a school is failing. But in practice, the program sucks. Neither the structure or the money has been put in place so that schools know what to do or where to go if things are not right. During the school year, it's difficult for me to get enough time to the students because they have enforced reading hours and spend a month warming up for the ISAT. And because of this, the test scores are improving. But is the education improving? I don't think so.



LA Times: Trope Correct

As a follow up to Trope's post below I am posting an article from Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times titled Abortion Foes Call Bush's Dred Scott Reference Perfectly Clear.
WASHINGTON — President Bush left many viewers mystified last week when, answering a question in his debate with Democratic challenger John F. Kerry, he invoked the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery.

The answer seemed to be reaching far back in history to answer the question about what kind of Supreme Court justice Bush would appoint. But to Christian conservatives who have long viewed the Scott decision as a parallel to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, the president's historical reference was perfectly logical — and his message was clear.

Bush, some felt, was giving a subtle nod to the belief of abortion foes, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that just as the high court denied rights to blacks in the Scott case it also shirked the rights of the unborn in Roe, which many conservatives call the Dred Scott case of the modern era.

"It was a poignant moment, a very special gourmet, filet mignon dinner," said the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, a prominent conservative advocacy group based in Washington. "Everyone knows the Dred Scott decision and you don't have to stretch your mind at all. When he said that, it made it very clear that the '73 decision was faulty because what it said was that unborn persons in a legal sense have no civil rights."

Sheldon, who said he confers frequently with Bush and his senior campaign advisors on outreach to religious conservatives, though not in this instance, credited the use of Dred Scott with raising the abortion issue to "a very high level" and "back to the front burner."...

...Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said Tuesday that the president did not intend to draw a parallel between the slavery and abortion cases, but that he was merely giving voters an example of a case in which he felt the court erred.

But Bush has a history of using language with special meaning to religious conservatives, a critical portion of his base that senior strategists have said will assure his reelection only if they turn out in larger numbers than in 2000.

Bush himself is an evangelical Christian, and his speeches are frequently sprinkled with phrases that sound merely poetic to many, but to others sound a more spiritual theme.

What Will Happen Tonight?

Mr. Kerry has long been labeled a closer. A baseball analogy would be the Mariano Rivera of politics (though big John’s Red Sox beat Rivera twice this season). On one program they played parts of the debate between Mr. Kerry and then Massachusetts Governor William Weld – and they really went after each other. Running in a state is different than nationally, and Mr. Kerry has seemed to chart a different path. Instead of being overly feisty he has continuously put Mr. Bush on the defensive while keeping his cool and looking presidential. Right now it seems rather odd. Instead of trying to show himself as a strong leader who has had a very successful first term in office, Mr. Bush’s campaign can’t seem to make up their mind if they are the incumbent or the challenger. Certainly one can argue that Mr. Bush has so little accomplishments all he has is the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and homeland security. The latter is funny considering most major target areas Mr. Kerry will dominate, so it isn’t trying to win the Northeast, DC, Chicago, California vote. New Jersey is closer than usual, but how much of this is due to the huge drug companies head quartered there? Anyway, Mr. Bush has failed at making the “flip flop” claim stick to Mr. Kerry so their new tactic is “Mass Bash” and repeating “You can run, but you can’t hide” several times a day. I expect to hear both tonight. Why the repetition? Perhaps as pollster Frank Luntz indicated after his last focus group (and to the dismay of many Democrats), Mr. Kerry’s “I have a plan” made voters think he was focusing on the future. At the same time Mr. Bush was seen as defensive. I see potential problems with this strategy. First, Bush can say it all he wants, but he has to have a plan and not come across defensive or angry. Second, how easy would it be for Mr. Kerry to turn that phrase around?
“The president has said several times tonight ‘You can run, but you can’t hide.’ That is exactly what he is doing here tonight, ladies and gentleman. I’ll stand by my record, but the president is trying to run away from his. He has created the nations largest deficits. Under his watch four million more Americans are living in poverty. He is the first president in over 70 years to lose jobs. Under his watch we have seen record increases on health care premiums. Under his watch we have seen an assault on our environment. Under his watch we have become more dependent on oil than less. And he is hiding that he has no real plans to turn this around. I have a plan, and I hope we get to talk about it more tonight.”

If I can see this, you can bet Mr. Kerry and his staff sure as hell have. Mr. Bush’s other apparent talking point is the Massachusetts liberal label – or as I will call it “Mass Bash.” Either Bush said it in the last debate or he said it on the stump, but he said something to the effect of “now that is liberal even for a Senator from Massachusetts” and other assorted knocks on the Bay State (Cod is the official fish, Johnny Appleseed the state folk hero, and go figure, the Mayflower is the state flower.. other facts). But how petty is that? It allows Mr. Kerry to basically say how sad it is that the President of the United States doesn’t respect every state in the union while showing what a divisive leader the president is.

I am wondering what Mr. Kerry’s plan is going to be tonight. I have kind of felt that the Senator has played it safe thus far. He has done well in keeping Mr. Bush on the defensive and getting the president to show anger, but a knock out blow has not come (granted it was too early). Will it come tonight by the president not being able to answer questions, or will it come from a rebuttal to a comment from Mr. Bush? Will Kerry bring out the BCCI investigation when called weak on homeland defense? This all sounds nice, but so far it really hasn’t been Mr. Kerry’s style. Many Democrats and non-Bush voters have wanted more from the Senator in the attack department, but this is fueled by anger over the last four years – and they aren’t running a campaign. Besides, we see that it is the president that is angry. Mr. Kerry’s style thus far seems to be about making himself acceptable to undecided voters and to change the overall way he is viewed. It has worked. If Mr. Kerry is a closer, I just wonder what the nation will see tonight when Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush take the stage together for the final time.

I think I will have some Magic Hat tonight.

Update Fellow Kossack EMKennedyLucio wrote:
"I hope Kerry is pissed about the Red Sox game and takes it out on Bush."

Old Bush/New Bush

If you didn't catch Bush in debate 10 years ago, here is a clip. I just ignored the writing and listened to the audio... but wow, there is a difference. Will the old Bush show tonight or does he truly have an issue? Me, I think being president of the United States is much harder than Governor of Texas, thus having much more on his mind... which equals less preparation time.

as always, check out the new TMW: Election update from parallel earth

I am going to post a bit from Craig's latest post over at NAAS.
But I’m not going to worry sitting on my ass anymore. This year I gave money. This year I wrote letters to the editor. This year I did phone banking. Now I’m going door to door. The most striking thing about this campaign is not negative advertising or the incompetence of the press. The most striking thing about this campaign is my transformation from an observer into an activist, from a consumer into a citizen and a Democrat.

Since 9/11 we have turned into a nation of sheep, cowering against the fence, bleating for someone to protect us. We’ve been infected by a poisonous individualism, we believe we should be able to take care of our own lives without anyone’s “help.” Confronted by threats beyond our control, we look around for a cowboy, a bigger, stronger individual to kick the bad guys around. A pitiful band of losers and fanatics has this country terrified. We are afraid to fly or take the subway. We hoard duct tape and food and bottled water just in case of another attack. We have the resources, the money, the power and yet we are week, blundering, desperate. Because we are individuals. Because we are consumers. Because we believe that if we look out for ourselves and our own, it will turn out the best for everyone. And it won’t.

But there’s an alternative. We don’t need to be protected and we certainly don’t need to be saved. We can look after our communities instead of just our homes. We can get involved. We can take power. If we have a stake in it, we need to have a say in it. So stand up, join, organize. As long as we are sit on the sidelines, the privileged few will continue to manipulate us with fear, to make us weak so they can hold onto their power and privilege. Will we win this year? Hell, I don’t know. But either way we will carry on the fight. Join us. Do something. Because the “Global War on Terror” is not going to be won by soldiers and mercenaries and secret agents who do our fighting and our thinking for us while the rest of us duck and cover. And it can’t be lost by a nation of citizens who stand together and fight.

If we as a nation can get rid of Bush, we will realize that we are not powerless, that it matters what we do. And then you won’t hear “I’m afraid I’ll die,” and “who can protect us.” Then you’ll hear people say “We are strong” and “What can I do” and “Let’s roll.”

Read the whole post. The author spent a day in Racine, Wisconsin going door to door and has other observations. I wish my buddy Mark would write about his time in New Hampshire last weekend. Looking at where the campaigns are spending the money - Kerry is fixated on Ohio and Florida while Bush is fixated on Wisconsin. Both are heavy in Reno and Albuquerque. Last night Oregon said they had a similar situation as what happened in Nevada. Though it sounds as if Bush has given up on winning any Pacific coastal state.

Zorn, Dred Scott, and Fish Eyes

Cripes, he's a quick reader. AND, he has my initials! Eric Zorn,* in his Notebook today, quotes Steven Lubet about Bush's mysterious Dred Scott response in the debate on Friday. (Plus, look for Leigh Anne's Quiet Coyote mention...) However, Timothy Noah in his article at Slate.com offers another theory on why Bush and his wrong-headed constitutionalism might have brought Dred Scott into the fray. The anti-choice lunatic fringe would like to see Roe go the way of Dred Scott, and are the only other group besides us militant feminists who would be paying much attention to the question on Court appointments. Bush may have been advised to bring up the Dred Scott case, but, being Bush, he managed to mangle the Court's reasoning on that decision and say it was because they were terrible, activist judges. The "strict Constitutionalists" that he pledges to nominate would again uphold Dred Scott, given an 1857 Constitution.

And here's the best part: we probably shouldn't talk about it. The people that Bush was actually addressing don't care about strict Constitutionalism, at least not as it applies to God and currency. They want Roe overturned, and Griswold vs. Connecticut (which legalized birth control for married couples in 1965) if they can get it. Griswold is the root of the problem, because it extrapolates from the Bill of Rights a "zone of privacy". If they can strike down Griswold, they can then dismantle several other decisions, including Lawrence v. Texas, which declared sodomy laws unconstitutional only last year. Dred Scott, to the religious right, is about legal precedent trumping morality. The reversal of that decision gives them hope that someday all this liberal hoo-ha will also be overturned and we can get back to the Good Old Days.

So, concerning Bush's response on Friday, do we point and laugh? Do we attempt to expose this coded message, therefore causing everyone else to point and laugh at us? It's a conundrum that would make even Alan Keyes polite and close-mouthed, which is precisely how he acted tonight from all reports. (I didn't get to listen to the debate itself--work before play--though I caught some televised clips on Faux News after the game.) It's a shame that they didn't televise this one, not just because of the scenery, but because Alan Keyes looks like a fish and a crazy person. If you close your eyes, he sounds surprisingly calm. Open them, and you see his crazy rolling fish eyes and a slick political leer. I can't wait for the next debate. The only question is, what should the drinking game be?

*Why am I plugging Eric Zorn? 'Cause I wrote him about this, and he replied within 20 minutes. I am tickled by this and intend to start reading his blog. Also, he cites One Good Thing regularly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bringing Democracy to America

I was about to write that the even more pathetic than the Red Sox performance tonight was what the GOP has been doing in Nevada. Then I checked the scoreboard after doing dishes and realized that Boston scored 5 runs in the top of the 7th. They didn't give up despite being down 8-0. But what is alleged in Nevada there is no excuse for
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 assistant 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.

So let me get this straight, the people bringing Democracy to the Middle East are subverting it at home? We have now seen efforts in Nevada, Minnesota, Ohio, and Colorado. Florida goes without saying. It is just sad.

TPM, Kos, and others have been following the Sinclair controversy. Make the calls if you feel up to it.

At least tonight I came home to have homemade potato squash soup, salad, and some Shiraz.

BTW, Boston has scored 7 and only down by 1 now. Hopefully Timlin can hold it. I probably would have used Keith Foulke instead - but thats why Francona is the manager and I'm not.

Monday, October 11, 2004

More Fall Fun

Fall is not just interesting for foliage and MLB playoffs, but every other year there is some really funny stuff. Take for instance of the Republican Senatorial candidate for Oklahoma, Tom Coburn. We laugh at Alan Keyes in Illinois - partly because he is going to lose by over 40 points on 2 Nov. But Coburn will get much closer and borders the same craziness. In fact, he endorced Keyes for president in 2000! Check out this audio link provided by Atrios. Thats right, rampant lesbianism in Southeast Oklahoma... girls can't go to the bathroom by themselves... This guy could be a Senator, wow.

Speaking of the Senate, the rumor is that Jim Bunning (R-KY) isn't doing so well physically.

Also Sinclair Broadcast Group is going to replace prime-time shows with a Kerry bash movie followed by an hour discussion group on 1 Nov. Where is that "liberal media"? The Guaridan headline is TV Channels to rubbish Kerry on eve of poll.

The gossip and entertainment never stops every other year...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Fall

is the best time of year. First, the leaves are starting to change and the weather is cool. This is great. I would love to get out of the city for a night and the following day and just drive through some small towns while absorbing the foliage. Second, another two weeks of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. While this fall won't be as crazy as last year because the Cubs flamed out at the end - its never a dull minute when the local establishments are half Sox fans and half Yankee fans. My feeling is we shall see more of this:

The Yankees are good, they have a great line-up, and they have that kind of magic to pull things out in the final innings. Last night they scored four late while winning on a wild pitch. But Minnesota scored 17 runs in four games against the Yankees - Minnesota does not have an offense like Boston. St. Louis-Houston will be a good match up, but Red Sox-Yankees may as well be my world series. I didn't watch the World Series last year despite wanting Florida to lose in four, but the idea of Boston-Houston World Series in the midst of a presidential election has promise. Still, I hope the Cards win the NLCS. Third, and speaking of Presidents, the 44th POTUS will be chosen. Fall is great.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Debate Day

Seeing how the debate tonight focuses on domestic policy I thought this quote from FDR was appropriate.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Speaking of the Military and the issues of war and morality, check out this post over at DKos and watch the video. The Congressman you will see is Tim Ryan (D-OH 13). I do hope this gets wider play throughout the Ohio markets.

Going up River by George Butler

Director George Butler's film Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry opened in select theaters last Friday, 1 October 2004. However, within the last few days has decided to let it be downloaded for free here, Kerrymovie.com.

The film traces Kerry's early life as a young man who chooses to enlist in the Navy and to go to Vietnam. The film reveals intimate, first person accounts of Kerry's war service through his own private letters, his eloquent journal, and the vivid memories of the men who served at his side. When Kerry came home disillusioned by the war, he and his fellow Vietnam Veterans challenged Congress and the Nixon administration. As Kerry became a nationally known anti-war activist, the Nixon White House plotted to discredit his leadership, but significantly could find "nothing on him," as Colson reveals via Watergate tapes. Despite Nixon's attempt to undermine John Kerry's political career during his 1972 unsuccessful run for US Congress, Kerry persevered, eventually winning election to the Senate and receiving the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

Going Upriver director George Butler (best known for his highly acclaimed films Pumping Iron, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition) first realized Kerry's importance to his generation and began documenting his journey in photographs in 1969, covering Kerry's leadership of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), his early political campaigns, as well as intimate moments of his personal life. The film weaves together Butler's extraordinary photographs with archival film, interviews with Kerry's closest associates, and more contemporary images of the Senator at home and abroad.

As a Vietnam War hero and anti-war activist, Kerry's story is at the center of a defining era in American history. More than a biography of John Kerry, Going Upriver is the story of an American generation that came of age in the tumultuous sixties and that has now come to national leadership at the beginning of a new century -- when issues of war and morality once again hold center stage.

I think that it is a fair assuption that most people don't really know the story of Mr. Kerry unless they have followed it through the Boston Globe, have read the biography Douglas Brinkley (and articles in the Atlantic and elsewhere), or remember the Nixon years. Otherwise it is probably from the campaign, the convention, and the talking heads. It is easy, and probably most peoples first reaction to mock or dismiss today, but this documentary is free and has been given very good reviews. Not to mention that I hear it is good for making Mr. Kerry more acceptable to those conservative relatives that are uneasy about the direction of the United States under Mr. Bush.

Video Game

For the gamers out there, play the anti-Bush video game where John Kerry, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T., Howard Stern, Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Christopher Reeves, Howard Dean, Jessica Lynch, and Jesus try and defeat BushCo.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Saving the Ammo

Mr. Cheney kept repeating on Tuesday night how Mr. Edwards had an undistinguished Senatorial record. Mr. Edwards quickly came back and listed all of the sad votes Mr. Cheney had cast as the lone Representative of Wyoming. Mr. Bush seems to be going the same route with Mr. Kerry - either for Friday or a next Wednesday. I thought it was interesting that Mr. Kerry decided to not discuss his role in the BCCI investigations during the 80s. It seems like a perfect story for the foreign policy debate... its Iran-Contra! Drugs, terrorists, smuggling. So is Mr. Kerry simply holding this for when Mr. Bush says that Mr. Kerry is not accomplished, or is it that BCCI is too complex for a debate allowing only two minutes per answer and/or open for too much spin? I am assuming it will come out during the last debate mostly because I am not sure about the town hall format will work.

Anyway, BCCI Affair.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Blackwell Strikes Again

First Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell tried to stop the voter rolls from increasing by using paper weight as an excuse do deny voter registrations. Since he lost that battle, Mr. Blackwell is now trying to restrict provisional ballots for individuals that show up at the wrong polling place. Many provisional ballots allow the voter to vote at any polling place for statewide elections such as President, Senator, Governor, or a statewide referendum (please correct me if I am not totally accurate here). Seems reasonable, right? Wrong - and its a state law.
Blackwell also ordered election boards to send voters who show up at the wrong polling place to their correct polling place instead of letting them cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots ordinarily are provided to registered voters who have moved but not updated their registration. The ballots are set aside and then inspected to make sure they are valid. More than 100,000 provisional votes were cast in the 2000 election.

Officials in Cuyahoga County — the state's largest — said they will do their best to send voters to the right precinct but will also accept provisional ballots. On Tuesday, Blackwell told the board that failure to comply with his order "will result in official action, which may include removal of the board and its director."

The Ohio Democratic Party sued, saying federal law allows voters to cast provisional ballots at any polling place in their home county. The Democrats said Blackwell's ruling disproportionately affects poor and minority voters, who tend to move more often. A ruling could come by Oct. 15.

On Tuesday, a coalition of unions and voter rights groups filed a similar lawsuit.

Blackwell said federal law allows states to set the rules for provisional voting, and Ohio law requires that ballots be cast in the correct polling place.

If the vote on Election Day is close, he said, "I anticipate there are some who will try to create a situation where lawyers are fussing at each other with a 70-year-old poll worker in between them."

Good news is that the DNC voter registration sounds as if it has been a huge success in the swing states. The Zobgy numbers out today suggest Kerry has a 322-216 EV advantage - though a very slim margins in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nevada (don't forget new voters are missed). If it remains this close there will be legal challenges, hopefully Kerry is better funded and prepared than Gore was.

Wanting it all

I feel a bit like Walter Ecklund in Father Goose. "You do know there's a war on, don't you, Walter?" Yes, well, everybody keeps saying that. Meanwhile, I got me ten fine toes to wiggle in the sand...

We're all supposed to give to the war effort. For Dems, that means building international credibility, avoiding "failed-state" scenarios in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever else we've sent troops, and above all, getting Bush out of office. So tonight, I went to all the news polls I could find, and dutifully reported that Edwards was my hero. "Regardless of your opinion on the issues, who do you think won the debate?" Truthfully, I think that Edwards and Cheney were participating in two different debates. Or rather, Edwards was playing a counselor (therapy or law? You decide.) building rapport, and Cheney was playing a mobster threatening delinquent customers. No, I don't have quotes, that was just my gut feeling.

I do have quotes, however, on the topics they didn't discuss. Cheney was pretty mum about the gay marriage issue, which seems best at the moment since his beliefs may not reflect his party lines. Edwards just talked too damn much about the topic, and said all the wrong things:

Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can‘t have anything but respect for the fact that they‘re willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It‘s a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry. I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships.
But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country. No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state‘s marriage. This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it‘s wrong.

We both believe that—and this goes onto the end of what I just talked about—we both believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. But we also believe that gay and lesbians and gay and lesbian couples, those who have been in long-term relationships, deserve to be treated respectfully, they deserve to have benefits.
For example, a gay couple now has a very difficult time, one, visiting the other when they‘re in the hospital, or, for example, if, heaven forbid, one of them were to pass away, they have trouble even arranging the funeral. I mean, those are not the kind of things that John Kerry and I believe in. I suspect the vice president himself does not believe in that.
But we don‘t—we do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.


Only a few breaths away from declaring that he did not believe in gay marriage. (These statements of belief confound me. What is this "believing a marriage is between a man and a woman" about? Is this like Tinkerbell, where if we don't clap our hands for the hetero couples they will fade away?) The guvment in Massachusetts
tried to do a "full benefits partnership" law, and the Court sent it back and said that it had to include the word "marriage". What Edwards is proposing violates the MA ruling. Part of me wanted to see Cheney call him on that, which of course he would not have done, because then both parties would be arguing a side they didn't necessarily believe in and then it would be like a REAL debate!

And then there was the AIDS question.

IFILL: I will talk to you about health care, Mr. Vice President. You have two minutes. But in particular, I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts. What should the government‘s role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?
CHENEY: Well, this is a great tragedy, Gwen, when you think about the enormous cost here in the United States and around the world of the AIDS epidemic—pandemic, really. Millions of lives lost, millions more infected and facing a very bleak future.
In some parts of the world, we‘ve got the entire, sort of, productive generation has been eliminated as a result of AIDS, all except for old folks and kids—nobody to do the basic work that runs an economy.
The president has been deeply concerned about it. He has moved and proposed and gotten through the Congress authorization for $15 billion to help in the international effort, to be targeted in those places where we need to do everything we can, through a combination of education as well as providing the kinds of medicines that will help people control the infection.
Here in the United States, we‘ve made significant progress. I have not heard those numbers with respect to African- American women. I was not aware that it was—that they‘re in epidemic there, because we have made progress in terms of the overall rate of AIDS infection, and I think primarily through a combination of education and public awareness as well as the development, as a result of research, of drugs that allow people to live longer lives even though they are infected—obviously we need to do more of that.
IFILL: Senator Edwards, you have 90 seconds.
EDWARDS: Well, first, with respect to what‘s happening in Africa and Russia and in other places around the world, the vice president spoke about the $15 billion for AIDS. John Kerry and I believe that needs to be doubled.
And I might add, on the first year of their commitment, they came up significantly short of what they had promised. And we probably won‘t get a chance to talk about Africa. Let me just say a couple of things.
The AIDS epidemic in Africa, which is killing millions and millions of people and is a frightening thing not just for the people of Africa but also for the rest of the world, that, combined with the genocide that we‘re now seeing in Sudan, are two huge moral issues for the United States of America, which John Kerry spoke about eloquently last Thursday night.
Here at home we need to do much more. And the vice president spoke about doing research, making sure we have the drugs available, making sure that we do everything possible to have prevention. But it‘s a bigger question than that.
You know, we have 5 million Americans who‘ve lost their health care coverage in the last four years; 45 million Americans without health care coverage. We have children who don‘t have health care coverage.
If kids and adults don‘t have access to preventative care, if they‘re not getting the health care that they need day after day after day, the possibility of not only developing AIDS and having a problem—having a problem—a life-threatening problem, but the problem of developing other life-threatening diseases is there every day of their lives.
IFILL: OK, we‘ll move on.

Huh? Cheney didn't know those numbers (they've been stable for the last five years or so) but at least he acknowledged the statistic. Both of them talked about AIDS overseas, though the moderator explicitly asked them not to, and Edwards sandwiched his lack-of-answer between jabs on lack of fulfillment on the $15B, genocide in Sudan, and health care. All within ninety seconds.

Let me explain my current job for anyone who doesn't know me in real life. I am a sexual health educator and spend a lot of time with HIV prevention. We have six people in our department, all female. Four are African-American: 70something, 50something, 40something and 20something. One mid-thirties Latina. And me--the token white kid. On a professional level, this question sparks our interest because it relates to our funding. Will the next administration encourage risk-reduction or abstinence? Will we be allowed to take condoms to our health fairs and community presentations, or brochures that say, "Just Say No"? On a very personal level, I know that when I walk into the office tomorrow all these women will be in arms. Right there on the table sat the biggest health crisis to face black women, and both men walked away from the opportunity to discuss it.
Why? It wasn't on their list of talking points. They steered the discussion back to the "important issues", which probably will win them votes in most corners. But my office will be pissed, rightly so, because this question proves to us that everyone is ignoring health issues and minority issues and women's issues. All in under five minutes.

And yes, I know there's a war on. I'm just tired of seeing our questions at the bottom of the list.

Your thoughts?

Cheney Lied


I guess Cheney forgot about the National Prayer Breakfast. Did you check out factcheck.org? Maybe Cheney should have before mentioning it. It does have a mischaracterization about Cheney and Halliburton post - but overall not great for Mr. Bush and the rest of the GOP. Edwards did well enough. Perhaps the best thing he was able to accomplish is the sharpe contrast between the two... hope and optimism versus fear and anxiety. Tired and stagnant versus energetic and a new direction. Also, Cheney probably did better than Bush ever will. If so, they are in deep trouble. If Cheney's best line was about not meeting Edwards (and he lied), Edwards's was
"He voted against Head Start.

"He voted against banning plastic weapons that can pass through medical detectors.

"He voted against 'Meals on Wheels' for Seniors.

"He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King.

"He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela."


More: Meeting Was Not First for Cheney, Edwards
In February 2001, the vice president thanked Edwards by name at a Senate prayer breakfast. Edwards aides also said the two met when the first-term North Carolina senator accompanied, Elizabeth Dole (news - web sites), to her swearing-in by Cheney in January 2003.

Edwards didn't forget. The Democratic vice presidential nominee noted the discrepency at a post-debate rally in a Cleveland park and used it as an example of Cheney "still not being stratight with the American people."

"The vice president said that the first time I met Senator Edwards was tonight when we walked on the stage. I guess he forgot the time we sat next to each other for a couple hours about three years ago. I guess he forgot the time we met at the swearing in of another senator. So, my wife Elizabeth reminded him on the stage," Edwards said as the crowd roared.

According to Edwards staff, Cheney replied, "Oh, yeah."

Did they really have to lie? Oh, did you hear the one about the Iraq-Bin Laden connection? Didn't think so...

More Lies - Washington Post: Misleading Assertions Cover Iraq War and Voting Records.
Early in the debate, Cheney snapped at Edwards, "The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11." But in numerous interviews, Cheney has skated close to the line in ways that may have certainly left that impression on viewers, usually when he cited the possibility that Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001, met with an Iraqi official -- even after that theory was largely discredited.

On Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that "it's been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack." On March 24, 2002, Cheney again told NBC, "We discovered . . . the allegation that one of the lead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague."

On Sept. 8, 2002, Cheney, again on "Meet the Press," said that Atta "did apparently travel to Prague. . . . We have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer a few months before the attacks on the World Trade Center." And a year ago, also on "Meet the Press," Cheney described Iraq as part of "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

In the debate, Cheney referred to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as having "an established relationship with al Qaeda" and said then-CIA Director George J. Tenet talked about "a 10-year relationship" in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. What Tenet cited were several "high-level contacts" over a 10-year period, but he also said the agency reported they never led to any cooperative activity...

...Cheney also said Iraqi security forces have "taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent." The United States does not keep track of Iraqi casualties, either civilian or in the security services. Recently, a senior U.S. official in Baghdad estimated that 750 Iraqi policemen have been killed but has no estimate of those wounded. The United States as of yesterday has had 1,061 deaths and 7,730 wounded...

... Cheney said Kerry's tax-cut rollback would hit 900,000 small businesses. This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets.

Of course there will be much more to come...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

While Swimming

While swimming yesterday I had a few thoughts floated through my chlorinated brain. First, Fresh Direct turned out to be both good and bad. The Good: The Irish Cheddar is fantastic, and the Cantal was very good. The wheat boule was tasty. The Bad: The amount of baby spinach and basil per bag is rather wimpy. The cantaloupe, despite looking good, is about a third of the size. Otherwise, it was a good experience that I shall use again. But, those pilgrimages to the upper west side grocery stores are still needed.

I also had a political thought. Mr. Nader claims to want progress - though he seems only motivated by challenging Mr. Kerry. Mr. Nader has had terrible times getting enough signatures - especially verified ones (angry Dems refer to him as St. Ralph now, b/c he can do no wrong in the eyes of some). The only thing he seems to be doing is making himself irrelevant. If he really wanted to make a statement he would have been laying the groundwork for a primary or third party challenge against Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman in 2006. Seeing how his objective is not to win but to have access to free media - I doubt he would consider it. After all, what if he won?

Addition I almost forgot. Tom Waite's new album "Real Gone" is out today. This interview is from the Houston Chronicle. You can listen to "Metropolitian Glide" at the All Songs Considered site.
But the songs that give Real Gone its emotional wallop are the ones that unambiguously address the current political moment. Day After Tomorrow, an acoustic ballad in the form of a soldier's letter home, is the most direct of all, but Hoist That Rag, a swaggering saga of a band of mercenaries, and the ominous epic Sins of the Father, with its line about "the star spangled glitter of his one good eye" and its allusion to a game that was rigged, resonate with a topical urgency.

"You know, I'm not Billy Bragg, but I'm not Liberace, either," Waits says. "Making songs about what's going on, first you have to inherently believe that they have genuine power to be part of a change. I'm not sure that I completely agree with that. At this point it's like throwing rocks at a tank. . . .

"They're songs, you know. Sure, they are reflecting in some way what's going on. I'm watching and listening and finding things on the road and picking them up and sticking them in there. But I don't know that I completely believe that it in fact can make a difference. Sounds a bit cynical, but. . . ."

But still, for someone who has two children near draft age, there was that need to weigh in.

"I guess. To a certain degree. Gingerly. There's a point where you realize to say nothing is a political statement. ... So I tried to put something in there. ... I don't know, I'm cynical and I'm also hopeful."

I'll probably get it after lunch.