Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Republicans are attempting to use a variety of voter suppression tactics in this year's election. In this post, New Donkey explains 3 categories of voter suppression currently being used by Republicans: Dirty Tricks, Official Malfeasance, and Voter Intimidation.

This Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article explains how Republicans are trying to suppress voters in Milwaukee.

"Citing a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, the state Republican Party demanded Saturday that Milwaukee city officials require identification from all of those voters Tuesday.

If the city doesn't, the party says it is prepared to have volunteers challenge each individual - including thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration - at the polls.

The move, which dramatically escalates the party's claims of bad addresses and potential fraud, was condemned by Democrats as a last-minute effort to suppress turnout in the city by creating long delays at the polls.

City officials, who already were trying to establish safeguards in response to the party's claim of 5,619 bad addresses, were surprised by the 37,180 number, nearly seven times larger.

"It's not a leap at all to say the potential for voter fraud is high in the city, and the integrity of the entire election, frankly, is at stake," said Rick Graber, state GOP chairman. "The city's records are in horrible shape."

Any inaccurate address, he said, is an opening for someone to cast a fraudulent vote. However, many of the new addresses now cited might be eligible voters who have voted for years without problems.

City Attorney Grant Langley labeled the GOP request "outrageous."

"We have already uncovered hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of addresses on their (original list) that do exist," said Langley, who holds a non-partisan office. "Why should I take their word for the fact this new list is good? I'm out of the politics on this, but this is purely political."

You can read the full article here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

According to this National Geographic article, "Scientists have found skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child. The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia 18,000 years ago."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Nick Confessore explains the Republican strategy for winning the swing states in this post from Tapped:

"First, the GOP, using what appear to qualify as illegal methods, has attempted to mislead thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, into thinking they'd be registered but are not. (And Ed Gillespie, whose own outfit is funding these efforts via Sproul & Associates and God knows what other firms and consultants, is alleging Democratic fraud in precisely those states! Black is white. Up is down.) Consequently, those thousands of people are going to show up at polls and probably run into a lot of confusion and paperwork and problems. At the same time, Republican secretaries of state and election officials in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere are pushing interpretations of election statutes that further muddy the waters for those who do get to vote.

Having done as much as possible to create the conditions for a confusing election, the GOP is getting ready to cast the inevitable results of that confusion -- people turning up in the wrong precincts, people who've moved from the neighborhood they originally registered and are trying to vote wherever they live now, and so forth -- as symptoms of outright election fraud. On Election Day, the GOP will challenge as many votes as they can at the polls, on whatever pretext is handy. They've already said they will. And then, if they're behind at the end of the day, GOP officials will start alleging massive voter fraud in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere, whatever the facts on the ground are. That will give them a rhetorical advantage in the short-term -- if, say, John Kerry is far enough ahead that he declares victory, but there are still some votes to be counted or re-counted. And it's important for the long-term, too. If Kerry does win, but only narrowly, the GOP will allege that the Democrats stole the election, which will set the stage for later Republican efforts to shut down Kerry's ability to govern and deny him legitimacy."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

According to this Washington Post column by E.J. Dionne, "In the torrent of polling information released over the weekend, the most significant finding was this one: John Kerry's supporters are more likely than George W. Bush's to believe that this year's election is the most important of their lifetimes."

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Jon Stewart backlash has begun. In this New York magazine article, Ken Tucker takes a critical look at John Stewart and The Daily Show. According to Tucker:

"Stewart’s persona implies a more ferocious attack than he actually launches. No matter that his Manhattan-liberal studio audience laughs harder at his ridicule of Bush; to these eyes, Stewart has bought into network news’ most pious belief—the debilitating notion of “evenhandedness.” As with most hip satirists, Stewart’s underlying message is that both sides are square (Bush = bumbling warmonger; Kerry = garrulous equivocator). Thus, The Daily Show may actually undermine the sober message Stewart seems intent on beaming out between the lines of scripted jokes and in interviews: that this time, it’s really important to get off our asses and vote."

Tucker concludes by writing:

"All these months, Stewart has been coming from a good yet na├»ve place; he seems to truly believe that if his show so rigorously parodied and pilloried these ethically corrupt news and analysis shows, the Crossfires and the Hardballs would have a revelation—they’d do what Stewart was begging them to do: conduct true conversations, without the squawk and the hyped-up false alarums. But now he seems rattled by his own power, and unsure how to react. When he stepped over the line, he demonstrated that the line still exists.

So this is the dilemma Jon Stewart now finds himself facing: Is he the Emmy-winning “monkey,” idol to millions of young couch-skeptics, or the thoughtful partisan satirist who’d like to be a player in the national discourse? It would take a genius comic to pull off both roles. But for the moment—his moment; his make-or-break moment up until the election—I’m sad to say, my money’s on the monkey to win out."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

According to Brad DeLong, "In the July/August Atlantic, James Fallows wrote an illuminating piece on the then-upcoming debates between George W. Bush and John Kerry. For his article, rather than talking to campaign spinners for each side and reporting what they said, he dove into the archival record of each man's debates, and made an astonishing discovery: 10 years ago, George W. Bush was an articulate, forceful debater. Tough to belive, but when Fallows reviewed the tapes of Bush's 1994 debate with Anne Richards, he found that not only did Bush win the debate, but he spoke well."

Follow this link to watch a video that "shows what James Fallows reported as a striking deterioration in George W. Bush's speaking skills in last 10 years."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

According to this Los Angeles Times article by Robert Scheer, " The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago."

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Both Jon Stewart and two of Crossfire's hosts have commented on Friday's Crossfire broadcast in which Stewart criticized the show. (See yesterday's post.) This Washington Post article quotes Crossfire host Robert Novak as saying, "Let me say something about Jon Stewart. I don't think he's funny. And I know he's uninformed."

Although Novak did not appear on Friday's edition of Crossfire, Stewart's opinion of him has been clear for a long time. As the article points out, "Back in September, Stewart awarded Novak the "Congressional Medal of Douche Bag" for having first published the name of a CIA operative."

On Monday's The Daily Show, Stewart talked about his Crossfire experience and explained that, "They said I wasn't being funny. And I said to them, 'I know that, but tomorrow I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow.'"

Follow this link to watch video of Stewart discussing his Crossfire appearance.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart appeared on Crossfire last Wednesday. The hosts expected him to make jokes to promote his new book "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction." Instead, Stewart told them that their show was “hurting America,” because it was “helping the politicians and the corporations.” Stewart called Crossfire’s hosts “partisan, what do you call it, hacks.”

Paul Begala seemed to understand what was going on, but Tucker Carlson saw this as an opportunity to attack Stewart. Oops.

“STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey.”

The show ended with this exchange:

“CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion. . . .

STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

Follow these links to read the show’s transcript, or better yet watch this video of the show.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Here are two more reviews of last night's presidential debate. First, William Saletan explains why he thinks John Kerry hit a home run in last night's debate. Second, Chris Suellentrop explains why a mistake by President Bush both gives Kerry the advantage in the post-debate spin war and shows an important difference in the foreign policy philosophies of the two candidates.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I thought tonight's final presidential debate was another Kerry victory. Here are some reviews of the debate from Talking Points Memo, My DD, and Political Animal.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

According to this Salon article:

"Speculation continues to run wild about President Bush's mystery bulge. Since Friday, when Salon first raised questions about the rectangular bulge that was visible under Bush's suit coat during the presidential debates, many observers in the press and on the Internet have wondered aloud whether the verbally and factually challenged president might be receiving coaching via a hidden electronic device.

Now a technical expert who designs and makes such devices for the U.S. military and private industry tells Salon that he believes the bulge is indeed a transceiver designed to receive electronic signals and transmit them to a hidden earpiece lodged in Bush's ear canal."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

In this Washington Post column, Tina Brown explains what she saw in the first two debates.

"Sometimes they show you depths you hadn't noticed, sometimes they take you back to where you started. The first debate was a thriller because it threw the perception game into a new round. Stripped out of the controlled arenas and leadership cameos crafted for him since 9/11, Bush free-fell back into the old pit of seeming a simple man up past his bedtime. Tuesday night Cheney reclaimed the backstage-president role the administration has taken such pains to bury.

John Kerry, meanwhile, free from the barrage of flip-flop pentimento, suddenly got himself a whiff of Mount Rushmore. He will not just rebuild our alliances, restore respect, blah blah wheeze wheeze -- he WILL hunt down and KILL the terrorists. The former stick-in-the-wind was planted so firmly he seemed to grow out of the podium like an oak tree."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Was George W. Bush secretly coached during his debate with John Kerry through a hidden earpiece? Evidence that Bush wears an earpiece is collected at Is Bush Wired? This site is "a clearinghouse for discussion of whether President Bush uses an earpiece through which he's fed lines and cues by offstage advisers. His speech rhythms suggest this, as do some of his word choices and interjections, and his constantly shifting eye movements while speaking. And there's another form of evidence: Television viewers have sometimes heard another voice speaking Bush's words before he says them."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Here are reviews of tonight's Vice Presidential debate from the weblogs Talking Points Memo, Political Animal, and MyDD. The reviews say that John Edwards did very well, while Dick Cheney did a lot of lying. Here's one of the Vice President's lies. Cheney said he had never met Edwards before, but as this picture on Eschaton shows, they have met.

Monday, October 04, 2004

In this post from his blog Hullabaloo, Digby explains how President Bush's performance at last Thursday's debate showed us the real George W. Bush instead of the false manufactured image:

"George W. Bush is a man with two faces--- a public image of manly strength and a private reality of childish weakness. His verbal miscues and malapropisms are the natural consequence of a man struggling with internal contradictions and a lack of self-knowledge. He can’t keep track of what he is supposed to think and say in public.

There is no doubt that whether it's a cowboy hat or a crotch hugging flight suit, George W. Bush enjoys wearing the mantle of American archetypal warriors. But when he goes behind the curtain and sheds the costume, a flinty, thin-skinned, immature man who has never taken responsibility for his mistakes emerges. The strong compassionate leader is revealed as a flimsy paper tiger.

On Thursday night, the president forgot himself. After years of being protected from anyone who doesn't flatter and cajole, he let his mask slip when confronted with someone who didn't fear his childish retribution or need anything from him. Many members of the public got a good sharp look at him for the first time in two years and they were stunned."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

This U.S. Geological Survey page compares before and after photographs of barrier islands off the coast of Alabama and Florida to show the "extreme coastal change" caused by Hurricane Ivan. The most extreme change is shown in the two photos second from the bottom that show a Pine Beach, Alabama barrier island cut in half by Ivan.