Sunday, October 31, 2004

Electoral Vote Pool

If you're coming from BGR, welcome!

Here's the rules: pick your electoral vote count guess, and leave a comment. For non-blogger users, go ahead and leave your name. Winner will receive mass exultation on this website and maybe on BGR as well.

My guess: 271 Kerry, 267 Bush

Politics: Zogby and Cellphones

It looks like Zogby has finally tried to solve the cell phone problem. As I keep meaning to point out my as-yet-unwritten Poll Rant #3, one of the major problems with polls this year is the sample. People with mobile phones and no landlines aren't included. These voters tend to be young and Democractic-leaning. The two big questions, however, are how Democratic-leaning and will they vote?

Zogby finds, in a first ever mobile phone only poll, that Kerry leads Bush by 15%. Furthermore, only 3% of those polled say they "don't plan on voting" or "aren't sure if they're going to vote."

I take this with a grain of salt for many reasons. These phone numbers were taken from MTV's Rock the Vote subscriber database, which does tend to skew Democratic. Also, saying you're going to vote does not necessarily equal voting. However, this is encouraging news.

*sigh* Only two more days until the recount....

Politics/Big Blue: the only poll that matters

Kentucky Wildcat basketball players favor Kerry to Bush 54% - 39%!

Kentucky might be a Red state, but I'm glad the Big Blue is keeping the Blue in Bluegrass. Also of note: the Bush supporters are a list of the most prominent underacheivers on the team, w/ the exception of Bobby Perry.

Seven of the 13 UK players polled said they favored Kerry. Four UK players supported Bush. Patrick Sparks and Ravi Moss declined to reveal their presidential preference. And we didn't get to Kelenna Azubuike, Shagari Alleyne and Sheray Thomas to ask the Bush/Kerry question.

Newcomers accounted for the bulk of Kerry's popularity. Freshmen Randolph Morris, Rajon Rondo, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford and Eric Allen favored Kerry.

"I just see a lot of negative things about Bush," Bradley said. "I'd rather go with the positive than the negative."

Senior leader Chuck Hayes and Brandon Stockton also favored Kerry. "I've got mixed emotions about that," Hayes said. "You want revenge (for the 9-11 attacks), but it's caused problems."

UK players for Bush were Josh Carrier, Preston LeMaster, Bobby Perry and Lukasz Obrzut. They cited the not-changing-horses argument.

"I go back and forth," Perry said. "When you boil it down, I'd probably vote for Bush because if you start a job, you should finish it."

Politics: election day is almost here

From Entertainment Weekly, Nov 5 issue, page 12:

ELECTION DAY IS ALMOST HERE: Remember, if you don't vote the right way, killer wolves will attack you and rip the flesh from your bones. (Not that those ads are trying to scare you.)

Politics: effect of the OBL tape?

Not that the CNN quick poll is absolute, but here's some surprising results:

How will the bin Laden videotape affect the U.S. election?
No influence
64283 votes
Boost for Bush
49485 votes
Boost for Kerry
71656 votes

I disagree, and voted for "Boost for Bush."

Update: Ok, well that didn't work, and it didn't work SO BADLY that I'm going to leave it up there as an example of something that REALLY didn't work. Anway, here was the stuff:

How will the bin Laden videotape affect the U.S. election?
35% No influence
27% Boost for Bush
39% Boost for Kerry

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Politics: Is the bastard clever or dumb?

So we all need to ask this question: Is Osama Bin Laden an idiot or know America very well?

The obvious reading of the text follows here:

Diaa Rashwan, a Cairo-based expert on extremist Muslim militants, said bin Laden was trying to influence Americans "to give Kerry their votes, not Bush."

Of course, the flip-side:

Many felt the tape would have the opposite result. "Bush supporters are confident the video will be widely seen as an attempt to blackmail the nation into changing course, something that can only play to the advantage of the incumbent," noted Britain's Daily Telegraph.

<>Does OBL think we're a bunch of Spaniards? If he really thinks this helps Kerry's chances, he obviously has no concept of the American "fuck you" attitude to anybody telling them what to do. Every liberal commentator on the planet knows that an OBL "endorsement" of Kerry dooms Kerry. October surprise! Actually catching OBL probably couldn't be a bigger Bush boost than <>this. So I still want to know: is OBL stupid, and thinks we're Spaniards; or does can he see beyond the nose of his camel and know that his endorsement of Bush destroys Kerry, who might fight something that resembled an effective war on terror? I don't know. And neither do you.

Either way, I'd REALLY like to kick the dude in the balls about five thousand times. Not that he has any.

Interestingly enough, nobody batted an eyelash when terrorists in Iran supported president Bush. And given Iran's links to 9/11 according to the 9/11 commission, somebody in the mainstream missed the boat to push a pretty salient point.

Big Blue: Cats debut at #9 -- Coaches Poll

Probably underrated, and I rarely think we're underrated in pre-season polls. They should be ahead of Oklahoma State, Illinois, UConn, and Georgia Tech. Kansas, Wake, UNC, and Syracuse are all more talented and more experienced. Mississippi St (14), Alabama (18), and Florida (22) all three seem 3-4 slots too low.

Michigan was 28th. Maybe if Amaker could finally show some recruiting prowess...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Politics: attitudes towards families in Kentucky

According to a study at the University of Kentucky Research Center for Families and Children and Survey Research Center surveying 800 Kentuckians:

  • A majority of respondents agreed that society would be better off if divorces were harder to get.
  • Seventy-three percent of respondents agreed that couples who have children together should be married.
  • Fifty-five percent disagreed that it’s okay for romantically involved people who are not married to live together.
  • More than three quarters of respondents disagreed that marriage between same sex couples should by recognized by law in Kentucky.
  • Seventy-two percent disagreed when asked if civil unions between same sex couples should be recognized by law. People over age 60 showed the highest percentage disagreement with civil unions, while respondents under 29 expressed the lowest percentage of disagreement.

I don't know if I can ever go back to that state.

Big Blue: Cats picked to win SEC title

Mississippi State is picked to win the West, the Cats the East and the overall.

Update: Here's the rest of the SEC Media Day polls.

Politics: Go Pack!

I think it's about time we did a quick analysis of the most reliable predictor of Presidential elections: The Washington Redskins.

Yes, the NFL football team has correctly predicted the winner of each election since 1936. If the Redskins win their last home game prior to the election, the party in power remains in power. If they lose, the White House changes hands. This year the last home game is against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, October 31st. So, in an effort to give you something besides erratic polls to wade through, here's the latest analysis of upcoming match:

Green Bay: (3-4) 151 points for and 172 points against
Washington: (2-4) 84 points for and 95 points against

Recent history: Green Bay is 2-0 straight up against Washington since 1992. They also beat the spread both times.

The current line has Washington by less than 2 points.

According to John Clayton over at, Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell may win this one by sending his receivers against Green Bay's back up cornerbacks, Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas. First-string cornerback Al Harris will likely sit this one out due to a knee injury.

Vinnie Iyer at FoxSports, however, thinks that Brunell's history of critical mistakes will catch up with him against an improved Packer running defense. He's calling this one for Green Bay, 23-20. Imagine that, Fox picks Kerry.

In any case, this one should be a real nail-biter (kind of like the election). I guess I'll just have to take a study break from my psych exam to don a cheesehead on Sunday. Go Pack!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Blogging: special thanks to Matt Yglesias

I sent him my analysis of suicide rates in Kerry vs. Bush states, and he linked me. My traffic is going nuts.

Media: O'Reilly and accuser settle suit

All cases and claims have been withdrawn, and all parties have agreed there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Mackris or Ms. Mackris' counsel, Benedict P. Morelli and associates.
What a cop out. By somebody.

Politics: fun with statistics

I ran across some statistics on state-by-state suicide rates compiled by this guy, so I was wondering if there was any difference in states that strongly supported Bush versus strongly supported Kerry. I used Oct 27 data from The suicide data is from 2001, and from a handout given in our Suicide lecture.

Interestingly enough, the rate of suicide among states that

Strongly Support Bush = 13.1/100,000 (s.d. = 2.4);
Strongly Support Kerry = 8.7/100,000 (s.d. = 2.1).
(National Average = 10.8/100,000)

So people in Bush states are 51% more likely to commit suicide!

The states that strongly support Bush (>10% margin) are:
Utah 37%, Wyoming 36%, Oklahoma 33%, Nebraska 29%, Idaho 29%, Alaska 27%, Texas 23%, South Dakota 22%, Montana 21%, North Dakota 20%, Kansas 19%, South Carolina 18%, Kentucky 17%, Georgia 17%, Indiana 16%, Louisiana 15%, Tennessee 12%, Alabama 12%, North Carolina 10%

The states that strongly support Kerry (>10% margin) are:
D.C. 67%, New York 21%, Rhode Island 20%, Massachusetts 14%, Vermont 13%, Maine 11%, Maryland 10%

History: Was Abe Lincoln gay?

The first Republican president? Couldn't be!

If the loving heart of the Great Emancipator found its natural amorous passions overwhelmingly directed toward those of his own sex, it would certainly be a stunning rebuke to the Republican Party’s scapegoating of same-sex love for electoral purposes. And a forthcoming book by the late Dr. C.A. Tripp — The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, to be published in the new year by Free Press — makes a powerful case that Lincoln was a lover of men.
Great article.

Politics: pulling out the stops

In case you wondered if there was ANY electoral group that the candidates hadn't reached for, here's proof they've exhausted every possibility: US election rivals in war of words over deaf vote.

The deaf vote seems to be leaning to the right, by the way. I have no idea why the hell it would lean any direction whatsoever.

Politics: Protectionism = Racism?

Yesterday I blogged (actually I didn't... but I sure thought I did... maybe the post didn't get published somehow) Slate's endorsements for the presidency. One such endorsement by economist Stephen Landsburg for Bush/against John Edwards has raised some eyebrows:

If George Bush had chosen the racist David Duke as a running mate, I'd have voted against him, almost without regard to any other issue. Instead, John Kerry chose the xenophobe John Edwards as a running mate. I will therefore vote against John Kerry.

Duke thinks it's imperative to protect white jobs from black competition. Edwards thinks it's imperative to protect American jobs from foreign competition. There's not a dime's worth of moral difference there. While Duke would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of skin color, Edwards would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of birthplace. Either way, bigotry is bigotry, and appeals to base instincts should always be repudiated.

Landsburg has a point. Except that it's an absurdly weak one. By this same logic, wouldn't it be simply racist to have a war on terror, since we're bombing people based on where they were born? Wouldn't it be racist and evilly protectionist to assume that we can defend ourselves as a 'country' of people who were born here or emigrated here? Is it racist that I live in Michigan and not Iraq, and I'm not getting bombed? By his logic, seemingly yes. I should be getting bombed too.

There are plenty of great arguments for outsourcing of jobs as a positive thing for human rights. I don't buy all the arguments, but they're logical and if I someday agreed with them, I wouldn't be amazingly surprised. But comparing Edwards' populism w/ Duke's activities w/ the KKK? That's absurd, hyperbolic, and really pretty f---ing stupid.

Medicine: Overworked Interns Make More Mistakes

They have to study this stuff? They can't just figure that out on their own?

The researchers, led by Charles Czeisler at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that interns working more than 80 hours a week committed 36 percent more serious medical errors than interns who kept a less arduous schedule.

Politics: President Asshat

If you haven't seen the video of Bush flipping off the camera back in his governor days, here ya go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Politics: Is George Bush the Christian's Christian?

Steven Waldman points out that Bush's anti-intellectualism appeals to only the least common denominator of the faithful:

The president repeatedly says he makes decisions based on "instinct" and "gut" and by looking into the hearts of world leaders. He lets it be known that he doesn't read the newspapers. He seems to discourage dissenting viewpoints. He jokes about his poor command of the English language and his lousy grades in school. He is America's most famous evangelical Christian–and he's proudly anti-intellectual.

This creates a real dilemma for religious believers—especially evangelical Christians. In the past few decades, evangelical Christianity has seen the blossoming of a movement geared toward disproving the idea that faith must necessarily cause closed-mindedness.

In an influential book called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, evangelical scholar Mark Noll wrote that anti-intellectualism is sapping the vibrancy of modern Christianity. Publications like Christianity Today, authors like Lee Strobel and Phillip Yancey, and educational institutions like the Fuller Theological Seminary combine religion with scholarly excellence. For every preacher who says all you need to know is the literal word of the Bible, there is another saying that modern Bible scholarship can help enrich our understanding of scriptures. For them, faith and reason are not at odds.

Medicine: gym teacher using heart monitor in gym class

to assess just how hard the kids are trying. And then failing kids who don't reach a high enough heart rate. How overkill is that?

Politics: British fox-hunting ban

In September, the British Parliament approved by an overwhelming margin of 356 to 166 a ban on hunting with dogs, to take effect in two years. This has been a fairly hot topic for a while, and a classic case of tradition vs. sanity. The practice hardly seems defensible:

For all the folkloric trimmings, though, hunting is hunting. The goal of a fox hunt is to run down the animal and kill it by snapping its spine. Sometimes, in hunter's language, the dogs "break up" the fox, Mr. Todhunter said, so there is barely a trace left when they have finished.
So there seems to be plenty talk of civil disobedience from those who seem to think that hunting foxes (hardly good game meat) with dogs is not akin to bear baiting, cock fighting, witch hunting and dog fighting. I enjoy this summary of the situation:
But this is not just about hunting. It is a question of what kind of land the British want to inhabit and, more important, who should have the right to define it. It is, for some, about class warfare and for others about democracy and the legitimacy of dissent. It is about centuries of tradition colliding with a modern sensibility that recoils from blood sports. It is, thus, about the ways of nature - "red in tooth and claw," as Tennyson defined them - competing with sanitized city-bred politics. And to listen to the hunters, it is they who are now the quarry.
And while I may be vegetarian, pro-animal rights, and generally anti-gun in the generic sense, I also grew up around hunters who taught me that the respectful and responsible practice of game hunting does not violate what seem to be the general laws of ecology. In many cases, human expansion has eliminated natural predators, and while I'm not in total agreeance with the practice, it's not insane at all to argue that well-meaning humans can offset this lack of balance through recreational hunting. It certainly beats purchasing meat from a factory farm, where the exploitation of animals is rampant and very well documented.

But fox-hunting with dogs does not receive this sort of logical protection. The traditional destruction of animals for sport and little other practical purpose will receive nothing but disgust from me.

Politics: Supreme Court not deciding this election?

Dahlia Lithwick makes a compelling argument for why the Supreme Court might not take appeals to decide the election:

But don't be so quick to assume that the high court would hear another election appeal. There's little doubt in my mind that each of the 20,000 lawyers poised to jet around the country next week like a small air force of flying monkeys in ties expects to take their appeals all the way to the Supreme Court. But there's also little doubt in my mind that the court will refuse to take them. Let's recall, first of all, that the court has absolute and ultimate control over its own docket. But more profoundly, let's recall that the court has absolute and ultimate control over its own reputation and legitimacy. No one was more shocked than the justices by the angry blowback from Bush v. Gore. And no one is less interested than the justices in replaying that psychodrama again this year, and every four years hereafter.

In a terrific piece in the Washington Post this weekend, Professor Garrett Epps explains why Bush v. Kerry shouldn't happen again next month. The truth, he says, is that Bush v. Gore never needed to happen in the first place. Perfectly adequate political processes were already in place to decide the last election, he argues, and had the court simply butted out, George W. Bush would have been installed by the Florida Legislature—with or without the kindly assistance of the House of Representatives. Ultimately, those entities would have been held accountable to the voters for that result because those entities are accountable to the voters in the first place. The fact that the Supreme Court made itself accountable was a disaster, according to Epps. The fact that a large part of the American public still resents them has not been lost on the justices.

MediaPol: ABCNews holding terror tape?

From Drudge, for what it's worth:

In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.

ABCNEWS strongly denies holding the tape back from broadcast over political concerns during the last days of the election.

The CIA is analyzing the tape, a top federal source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

Thanks to Mikey for the link.

Update: Reuters has the story too.

Update 2: MSNBC says the CIA can't authenticate the tape.

So the pic is a little too big for the blog. C'est la vie.

Also at The Onion this week:

Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3

Return Of The Draft?

Flu Vaccine Shortage

and last but not least:

Election Day Guide

MedPol: African American Women and AIDS

Flashback to the VP debates:

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 looked bad enough saying he simply didn't know much about the figures, i.e. had no idea what to answer. Edwards looked even worse because he started blathering about things that had even less to do with what the woman asked. And this point sticks out, because damn, shouldn't the VP candidates know something about this topic? It's no more complex than anything else they're supposed to know about, but that's the problem--nobody in their campaigns thought they were supposed to know about it. That sucks.

This Slate article expands on the topic more.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Politics: Bush says party wrong to oppose civil unions

Even though he also says he wouldn't support them in Texas. But at least he's not being as insanse as I'd expect.

Media: Murdoch says FoxNews not biased towards Bush

Reader Poll: Is Rupert Murdoch a(n) (a) liar, or (b) idiot?

Politics: Nader on Kerry's shifts to the center

While I proudly fly the banner of "Anybody but Bush," Nader still makes more sense than we'd like to believe:

The liberal intellectual and political leadership has shown itself un-willing to fight for its beliefs, hiding behind the claim that George Bush is such a unique threat that courage, reason, and studied belief all must be abandoned this year. Is Bush really more sinister than Nixon? More frightening than Reagan with his missiles and unworkable missile defense? Think of those times when the missile-loaded US and the USSR were less than an hour from mutually assured destruction. Will the intellectual leaders of the left feel more comfortable with the next GOP nominee in 2008 or 2012? If not, is it too soon for them to prepare for their next surrender? Is there any end-point logic to the "least worst" candidate?
Keep preaching Ralph. Maybe we'll wisen up and listen someday.

Media: Coulter is AMAZING

Ann Coulter's take on being attacked by pies:

A couple alleged males attempted to sucker punch a 100-pound woman and missed. And they ended up with their faces smashed in and spending the night in the Pima County Jail, where I'm sure -- being good liberals -- their views on gay marriage will serve them well.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Big Blue: Hayes, Azubuike named pre-season All-SEC

Big expectations in the Bluegrass this season. Nothing new.

Politics: be very afraid (FEAR TACTICS!!! WOOHOO!!!)

Chief Justice William Rehnquist has a thyroid cancer of indeterminate seriousness. Just in time for the election. Our 5-4 pro-Roe Court won't last forever. With a Bush victory, we might have the greatest setback in women's rights imaginable.

Politics: former Senator Marlow Cook (R-KY) endorses Kerry

And effectively trashes Bush in the process. A fun read from the right.

Politics: Katherine Harris searches for a well-hung chad

DailyKos reports that C-SPAN, the most informative and simultaneously boring station on cable, appears to have caught Katherine Harris in the act. What act, you ask? As Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) blathers on about open source intelligence, Florida's most famous election-rigger-turned-Representative works her mojo on to Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) in the background. I'm sure their respective spouses appreciate the "hard time" those two are putting in at the office. Or maybe she's just asking for advice on "polling her electorate." Okay, I better stop before the image of Harris getting sweaty makes me seriously ill.

Politics: gay executions?

From Daily Kos.

Execute homosexuals? That's what a GOP state senate congressman thinks is ok! Watch the video here. I feel the love of Christ washing over me.

Politics: Kerry attacking Bush for honesty

I've blogged about this situation before after the infamous Matt Lauer interview in which Bush said he didn't think the war on terror could be won. Once again, Bush made the 'mistake' of being honest by saying (on Hannity and Colmes, mind you):

Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up -- you know, is up in the air.
Sounds honest, prudent, based in reality. Things that Bush rarely ever sounds to me.

Of course, our newest hawk, John Kerry, jumps on the political opportunity to punish his opponent for not sticking to the dishonest rhetoric of politics:
George W. Bush doubts whether he can make America safe. Well, I give you this pledge: As president, we will find, capture and kill the terrorists. It's not 'up in the air.' We will win the war on terror, and we will make America safer.
That's great, John. Way to play by the other guy's rules and pull the quote completely out of context and distort it for political gain. I guess you've learned from the best, but still. And I really shudder every time Kerry uses the word "kill the terrorists." That rhetoric seems manic to me, uncontrolled. Is killing them our goal? How about neutralizing their threat, how about putting them behind bars? How about just breaking their kneecaps? Now, don't think I'm being soft on the war on terror, that's not my point. My point is that this sort of hawkish rhetoric raises the expectations of the American people to a violent fervor and encourages a shoot-first, ask-questions-later sort of mentality.

And we all know where that's taken us.

Politics: what's wrong w/ a liberal president?

Oddly enough, the Des Moines Register's endorsement of Kerry is getting mad props throughout the blogosphere. A favorite excerpt:

Yes, Kerry is liberal. But what's to fear from a liberal president? That he would run big deficits? That he would increase federal spending? That he would expand the power of the federal government over individuals' lives? Nothing Kerry could do could top what President Bush has already done in those realms.

Politics: a vote for Daschle is a vote for sodomy

Looks like some young Republicans of Augustana College have been busy committing mail fraud.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Insanity: Halloween festivities offending witches

I'm not shitting you:

Students who turn up in costume on Halloween could be sent home from schools in Puyallup School District in Washington state. The district has banned Halloween because officials are worried about offending real witches. Officials told a local TV station that followers of the Wiccan religion had complained about the way Halloween was celebrated.

Politics: Votergasm 2004!

Voters who visit the Votergasm website can choose from three different levels of commitment:

Politics: Wolves at the Door

In an increasingly dangerous world, even after the first terrorist attack on America, John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America's intelligence operations. By $6 billion. Cuts so deep, they would have weakened America's defenses. And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.
That's text from the new Bush ad, which is causing one hell of a stir, comparing wolves in the forest to terrorists in John Kerry's forest.

Fred Kaplan over at Slate tears the ad apart in his article: When Is a Cut Not a Cut? And when I say tears the ad apart, I mean he decimates every iota of falsehood in the damn thing. Also, Dick Cheney's favorite website tears the thing apart as well.

Also, the wolves aren't very happy about this. Check out Wolfpacks for Truth.

Politics: Unilateral threat -- Robertson to start new party if Bush turns back on Israelis

From Oct 4:

Influential American evangelist Pat Robertson said Monday that Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem, that if President George W. Bush were to "touch" Jerusalem, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.
Maybe that'd be a good thing. Maybe the evangelicals need their own party, running on a socially conservative and economically random ticket. The neocons could take over the current Republican party, and run on a fiscally conservative and socially moderate/liberal ticket. The Democrats could be the party of moderates who don't believe in anything. Maybe we could get a new Liberal party as well, maybe we could even call it something cute like Labour. Libertarians and Greens might matter too.

Under this plan, I couldn't call a Republican a socially defunct asshole anymore, because their tax plans wouldn't involve putting homosexuals in cages and hanging them over shark tanks like they do now. Maybe I could even vote for one of them and not be up all night vomitting over the way I just helped to marginalize the citizenry of my country.

(nice dream)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Business: Kmart CEO has a family to feed.


Former Kmart CEO Julian Day will be "getting about $90 million in stock options for his 10 months of work."

That's over $12,000 an hour on the stock options. Also, let's not forget about his severance pay and bonuses. If he could just find a way to avoid paying taxes...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Politics: Mmm...pie -- Ann Coulter under attack!

This story is just too funny for words. Now if only those were cow pies. Then it would have been closer to the stuff coming out of Coulter's mouth.

Garrett Update: Here are pics of her assailants from the Smoking Gun.

Garrett Update 2: Kevin found this. headline: Men arrested for throwing pies at Ann Coulter; apparently were unaware that the only way to unmake her is to throw her back into Mount Doom

Politics: evangelical agitprop?

This article from the American Prospect questions Bush's use of faith in politics:

Ironically for a man who once famously named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher during a campaign debate, it is remarkably difficult to pinpoint a single instance wherein Christian teaching has won out over partisan politics in the Bush White House. Though Bush easily weaves Christian language and themes into his political communication, empty religious jargon is no substitute for a bedrock faith. Even little children in Sunday school know that Jesus taught his disciples to live according to his commandments, not simply to talk about them a lot. In Bush’s case, faith without works is not just dead faith -- it’s evangelical agitprop.
For George W. Bush does not live or govern under the complete authority of the Bible -- just the parts that work to his political advantage. And evangelical leaders like Land who blindly bless the Bush White House don’t just muddy the division of church and state; worse, they completely violate Scripture.
There's tons more, but that's a sample.

Politics: some still oppose anti-segregation amendment in Alabama

I've blogged about this before, but wonders never cease.

Ousted chief justice Roy Moore and other critics contend the measure is a backdoor attempt to raise taxes for schools. But leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said Wednesday their claims were a "smoke screen" to hide a racist agenda for political gain.
Amazing. Also, this article explains their criticism a little better than the last time I posted:

But the proposal also would strike language that says there is no constitutional right to an education at public expense in Alabama. The section was added in 1956 in a bid to prevent court-ordered integration of the state's public schools.

Opponents claim that part of the amendment could lead to higher property taxes by letting courts declare that education is a constitutional right and then order spending increases for underfunded public schools.

So, the reason they're worried is because the government might have to have good schools? Oh my God, Roy! You have to stop that! How scary would it be if your students actually had new science books that didn't have the evolution pages glued together? Your moral fibers! They're unravelling!

At times, I've thought about having something akin to the moron-of-the-week award. But Moore, O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes, and Donald Rumsfield typically deserve the award almost weekly, and I'm just not good at breaking ties.

Politics: Clinton pushing for Kofi Annan's job in 2006?

That's the word on the street. Clinton as Secretary General? Excuse me while I go get a tissue.

The most important implication of this, of course, would be that the UN would become an organization relatively on steroids compared to how it is now. And with a former US president at the helm, Americans would be hard-pressed to feel that the organization was working against their own interests. But wait, with FoxNews, anything is possible.

Politlcs: Eliot Spitzer, superhero

I'm amazed how many people I talk to don't even know who Eliot Spitzer is. He's the NY attorney general and a Wall-Street crime-fighting Super-Hero, and our best chance at the presidency in 2008... err... I mean 2012, right :)

This Slate article is a good over-view of our golden boy's accomplishments.

Politics: some Racy Republican weapons of mass Seduction

This shit is hilarious.

Flag-waving, Bible-thumping babes are waiting for you to help spread freedom!

These girls pose a grave and gathering threat -- to your pants!

I couldn't make this stuff up! They have videos and all, and they're hilarious.

Baseball: Boston turning into a police state? (or city, whatever)

So Boston riot police kill an innocent bystander w/ a "non-lethal" projectile. The mayor is considering evoking some sort of obscure state law that allows for the ban of alcohol sales during times of riot, and is even considering banning display of World Series games at bars and restaurant. WTF?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Media: Sean Hannity goes bonkers on senator

Sean Hannity had Louisianna senator Mary Landrieu on his program to discuss a Fox News poll that showed a very high number of people found Kerry's remarks on Mary Cheney inappropriate. Landrieu tries to express an opinion, and Hannity resorts to such intelligent retorts as "well, you're a lousy senator" and "you aren't the vice president, and I doubt you ever will be." The video is linked on the Media Matters page.

Politics: Poll Rant (Part 2)

Sorry for the long delay between posts, but I've been pretty busy with after school stuff. In any case, I thought it was high time that I continue on with my rant about polls by expounding on what seems to be the latest hot topic in the blogosphere: Likely voters.

Usually when polls are reported to the media, they have two sets of numbers: Registered voters, which include anyone in the sample who is registered to vote, and likely voters. Some of sloppier news organizations will only report likely voters, so you have to be careful when you look at stories about polls. To give you an idea about how off the likely voter model can be, take a look at the Gallup poll from October 24-26, 2000. It shows a 13 point Bush lead on the popular vote. You'll hopefully recall that Gore actually beat Bush on total number of votes merely two weeks later.

So who are the likely voters? Depends on who you ask. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a single good model that makes sense for this election. The simplest model asks the question, "Are you going to vote?" Unfortunately, many people, especially undecideds respond with "Don't know." Many events between now and the election can change their mind. The worst part is that this is the best model.

The next model commonly used is: "How excited are you to vote?" If the person responds "Very excited," or possibly "Somewhat excited" then they are considered a likely voter. Unfortunately, many people who aren't excited to vote will do so anyway. This question has been shown to have almost no correlation between the answer and the likelihood of voting. The results get even worse when the question becomes "How excited are you to vote for your candidate?" To be quite honest, I have very little excitement for my candidate. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "I might give him a polite nod if I happened to pass him on the street" and 10 is "I'm changing my name to John F. Kerry and getting a chin and forehead implant," I'm probably about a 3. But I'm an 11 on "I think Bush is harmful enough that he needs to be voted against." So I'm not a likely voter, but I've already sent in my absentee ballot for Kerry.

At the bottom of the barrel are the questions that ask about previous voting behavior. Questions like "Did you vote in the last election?" and "Who did you last cast a ballot for?" fail to recognize new voters and occasional voters. With voter registrations surging, new voters are going to play a huge role. Occasional voters, those who only vote in elections they feel are "very important". are also likely to participate heavily this year.

The moral of this story: If you really want to see how a candidate is doing in a certain state, look at the trend in registered voters. It won't give you the exact numbers that a candidate is at, but it will give you a good picture of the movement towards or away from a given candidate. Likely voter models, however, should be knocked from their perch of statistical science and put into the junkheap of irrelevance.

Politics: candidate wives play nice... sorta

Theresa Heinz Kerry said something stupid:

Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good, but I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things.
Problem is, Laura worked as a school teacher for ten years before she married George. No real job? OUCH! So Theresa apologized, as she definitely should have:
There couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children. As someone who has been both a full-time mom and full-time in work force, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs. Bush's service to the country as first lady and am sincerely sorry I had not remembered her important work in the past.
And Laura, being very gracious, sincere, and lots of pleasant things, accepts the apology, saying no apology was even needed:
She apologized but she didn't even really need to apologize. I know how tough it is [to be campaigning for your husband] and actually I know those trick questions.
But here's my problem with the whole thing. Bush attack-bitch Karen Hughes rips into Heinz-Kerry for the comment:
[Heinz-Kerry's comments are] indicative of an unfortunate mind-set that seeks to divide women based on who works at home and who works outside the home... [which makes the whole thing even] worse because she left out the very important real job of a mother.

WTF? My mother stayed at home with me most of my life before going back to school, and she now teaches kindergarten. And while I absolutely respect my mother for her life decisions, and am MEGA-proud of her going back to school as a non-traditional student, I'm pretty sure her years at home with me didn't necessarily prepare her to be First Lady, not because her job of raising me wasn't important, but because, well, she was at home. And the country, well, isn't at home.

So Laura, you handled this thing brilliantly, and come out looking all the better for it. Theresa, we expect you to say crazy things, but being able to apologize without qualification is good too.

Karen Hughes, you are a bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch.

The same bitch who recently compared pro-choice Americans to terrorists.

Politics: Bush expected "no casualties" in Iraq war

Of course, the source of this was Pat Robertson, but still. Doug over at GWBWYPGN has a great run down of the implications of Robertson's statements.

Juan Cole's thoughts are a little more thoughtful, but not nearly as funny.

MedPol: flu shots for politicians

I've seen more than a handful of liberal sites reporting that Dick Cheney got a flu shot. As if he was doing something wrong? And now, some of those same sites are pointing out that Bill Clinton got a flu shot. Is this news? Geez, these guys have had heart surgeries, they're not exactly spring chickens.

This just annoys me. If Cheney got the flu, who would run the country? And even if I don't like Cheney, I'd rather him run the country than it be on autopilot.

Media: Too hot for Walmart? Daily Show book banned

The book contains a pretty famous page depicting each of the Supreme Court justices nude with the accompanying page having cut-out robes, so you can dress the judges, like the toys we all remember from the '80's.

Yeah, I'm sure that's the only reason they pulled the book. I'm just guessing those that buy books at Walmart aren't exactly the demographic the Daily Show book is directed towards anyway.

Politics: Kentucky teacher strike averted

Ky's Republican governor and professional dickhead Ernie Fletcher proposed absurd cuts in health insurance for teachers, so absurd that the KEA had organized a voluntary strike in many of its school districts. Thankfully, lawmakers caved just enough to prevent this disaster from happening. I guess Fletcher can sleep easy tonight on his $2,198 Tempurpedic Sealy mattress. The latter article from the Courier-Journal criticizes the Kentucky governor's mansion (including the past democratic administrations) for its frivolity and expensive operations.

Politics: Biden says Bush 'brain dead' on drug bill

From Local 435:

The senator wasn't talking the political talk, he was pretty straightforward. That's what we wanted and that's what we got, straight talk. Basically, the senator said that the Bush administration isn't listening to the working men and women, and that's true.

He spoke from his heart about what's at stake for all labor and all working-class people in America. He talked about issues that definitely affect us. These are serious issues for us, and he talked about what could happen if we don't make a change.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Media: Jon Stewart on his Crossfire experience

Kevin found this link, but he was too busy on the way to the track to blog it, so I thought I'd do it for him. Kevin is an alcoholic w/ a severe gambling problem. Not really, but ya know.

Here's the video: absolutely beautiful.

Politics: Slate's Election Scorecard

Kerry 276, Bush 262

Politics: The No-Skin Zone

More of O'Reilly's porn obsessions from Slate.

MedPol: those French bastards

Can you believe those cheese-eating wine-sniffing jerkoffs? Making extra flu vaccine for Americans? Who do they think they are? USA! USA! USA!

Politics: Operation Truth

Operation Truth is a group of Iraqi and Afghani war veterans angry about the war. Their new ad is wicked powerful.

Politics: did Bush have a stroke?

More than a handful of bloggers thought something was odd about Bush's facial movements in the third debate, leading to the question: has George W. Bush had a stroke that has not been revealed to the public?

Sounds ridiculous to me. Bush has always looked like that. These guys seem to make a great case though, and Michael Reynolds usually isn't a rabble rouser. But if this story has any merit whatsoever, we'll prolly see mainstream pick it up in about two weeks, just in time for the election. That's about how long it took for them to pick up the jacket bump story.

Medicine: the psychos they let in here

The story of Robert Howard is a modern medical fable. Howard was an olympic triple jumper, and apparently had the grades and whatever to get into med school. Only problem? He was a psycho with a violent criminal record, but nobody checked his background, b/c he checked the "nope I've never been convicted of a felony" box on his application. So come third year, he kills his wife and himself. Suprise! Good screening, University of Arkansas!

Although, I don't think any med students are surprised that we might have violent psychopaths in our midst.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Literature: gay novel wins Booker

Alan Hollinghurst's fourth novel The Line of Beauty, a tale of a young, gay man dazzled by drugs, power and money in Margaret Thatcher's London, was awarded the '04 Man Booker Prize, England's most presitigious literary award. D.B.C. Pierre's Vernon God Little won the '03 prize.

Politics: Schwarzenegger endorses stem cell project

Proposition 71, the proposal to invest billions in embryonic stem cell research, has been ahead in state polls but not decisively, meaning Schwarzenegger's support could be significant, the Los Angeles Times said.

"First of all, I endorse Proposition 71," Schwarzenegger said. "Even though I haven't come out publicly, I have been very open about that I am very much interested in stem cell research and support it 100 percent."

Schwarzenegger consistently surprises me by not being an idiot.

In other news, his endorsement of Bush led to fourteen days of abstinence. Funny stuff.

Politics: Iran endorses Bush? WTF?

From the article:

The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday that the re-election of President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbors al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

"We haven't seen anything good from Democrats," Rowhani told state-run television in remarks that, for the first time in recent decades, saw Iran openly supporting one U.S. presidential candidate over another.

Though Iran generally does not publicly wade into U.S. presidential politics, it has a history of preferring Republicans over Democrats, who tend to press human rights issues.

Politics: John Edwards's hair

For my conservative readers. Enjoy!

This video is hilarious.

"For a guy who's been known derisively to the Bush crowd as the Breck girl," observes Shearer, vice presidential candidate John Edwards seems "way too interested in his hair." He tries to straighten it with his fingers. A makeup technician approaches with a comb, but the senator likes it just so and does the combing himself. He signals he's ready for hair spray by closing his eyes expectantly, like a child. Then Edwards and the technician straighten a little more with their fingers. Please don't tell me that thing in his hand is a compact. Oh, dear. It is.

Politics: Karl Rove under Air Force One

Politics: potential election disasters

Richard Hasen runs through the five disaster scenarios that could hit the 2004 election.

Politcs: medical worker draft???

The NYT reports that the "Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps."

Now, if the military wanted me to shoot a gun at somebody, I'd just let them take me to jail or run to Canada or whatever. If they just want me for my stethoscope, we might be able to talk. But that's some scary stuff. Not because I'd mind being sent to Ground Zero II and taking care of people, but because I don't particulary trust the military to do anything that makes sense unless by accident.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Politics: CNN's bow-tied wanker--Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson is a baby.

Sure, Jon Stewart was an ass on Crossfire, and Stewart should have declined the interview spot rather than do what he did IF he he were a real journalist. But he didn't, and he's not. He was honest. He was sorta funny. He was simultaneously completely non-serious and entirely too serious all at once--but that's nothing new. Art imitates life. And as much as Tucker Carlson doesn't get this, Jon Stewart is an artist ala Andy Kaufman, a performance artist. He treads the mainstream for an audience.

Carlson's assertion that Stewart sold out by admitting that he is voting for Kerry is ridiculous. I think Carlson should get his own sense of humor and not alienate the few people who might actually think he's not a schmuck. But that bow tie. Geez.

Music: posthumous "From a Basement on the Hill" due out tomorrow

The family of Elliott Smith, the Oscar-nominated crystalline singer-songwriter who died after a possibly self-inflicted knife wound to the chest last year, are releasing the near-completed album Smith was recording before his untimely demise.

This hits Courtney hardest of all.

Here's a CNN article from a few weeks ago I was saving for this post that talks a little about the album and the circumstances of his death.

Update: Courtney got word that Circuit City was selling the album early, and yup, they are.

Medicine: Monkey See Monkey Do

Since Merck lost its cash cow Cox-2 inhibitor Vioxx, Pfizer is sponsoring a large new clinical trial to assess the cardiovascular safety of Celebrex. Shame we'll have to wait two years to know anything.

Politics: three words to motivate you:

The Supreme Court.

Stephen G. Bryer, sworn in on Aug 3, 1994, is the court's junior member. Chances are, some of those kids are gonna be having heart attacks or something pretty soon. And if you care about the protection of any of the advances in our society over the past 65 years--including abortion, capital punishment, the rules dealing with national security investigations, criminal justice, election finance rules, civil rights, affirmative action, and freedom of speech vs. pornography, and now gay marriage--then Bush court appointees should scare the hell out of you. Given that a president's legacy is often carried the longest in the form of his Supreme Court justices (Nixon wouldn't believe what Rehnquist is doing now), I don't know why this isn't a more central campaign issue along with terror, Iraq, social security, health care reform, and gay people being able to walk around in broad day light without having things thrown at them.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Politics: Poll Rant (part 1)

I promised it earlier and now seems as good of a time as any. As anyone who reads about politics online or in newspapers knows, the polls have been sort of all over the place lately. Some say Bush is up by 1 (essentially tied with Kerry); others say Bush is up by 8 (a complete Bush blowout). What do these polls mean? In short, nothing. Polling this election season is perhaps the most useless thing ever. Here's the start of a (hopefully short) list as to why:

1) National polls are meaningless due to the electoral college. We'll call this the "remedial civics" reason which should be obvious to anyone that remembers election 2000. Just how skewed can a national poll be? In the absolute worst case scenario, one can win the presidency by winning only 11 states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina (for 271 total EV). Now this is unlikely happen thanks to some being staunchly Republican (i.e. Texas) and some being die-hard Democratic (i.e. California). In theory, however, someone can win the election by winning each of those states by 1 single vote. If that were the case, the popular vote total from those states would be around 29,933,487 for one candidate and 29,933,476 for the other. Now the same winning candidate could receive 0 votes in every other state, giving the losing candidate an additional 49,646,876 for a grand total of 79,580,352 votes. What would the national numbers show on election eve? The losing candidate would be ahead in the polls by 73% to 27%. All numbers used here were taken from projected turnout for the 2004 election from Race2004.

Moral of the story? The national numbers mean squat. You have to look at numbers state-by-state and electoral vote by electoral vote. That's why I recommend a careful look electoral-vote, Race2004, or Election Projection before deciding how your candidate is truly doing.

Next time on poll rant: Likely voters - Increased Poll Accuracy or Useless Superstition?

Politics: Doc vs Doc

Howard Dean vs. Bill Frist on stem cells on Late Edition.

Frist asserts over and over again that there isn't a ban on stem cell research. You're right, numb nuts. There's an EFFECTIVE ban on stem cell research, because you can't do the research that needs to be done w/ just a few cell lines. You wouldn't tell Mozart to compose a symphony only using C, D, F#, and Bb.

God, I wish I had a transcript of this. An ethical framework? Well hell, Stalin had an ethical framework. But those sure weren't my ethics. A balanced policy? Balanced between what? Sanity and the religious right?

Frist trained in public policy at Princeton, and in medicine at HMS. He's smarter than that.

Now, I'd also like to post Frist's spiel on flu vaccines, which I agree with wholly. Of course, the way he tries to use vaccines as a microcosm for all of health care is absurdist, simplistic, and again, he's smarter than that.

How's that for fair and balanced? Frist is an idiot and a genius all in one post! Thanks for visiting!

Media: Fox fires O'Reilly accuser

and wants a judge to declare that the firing wasn't in retribution? Yeah right.

Politics: whodathunkit?

Kerry picks up an endorsement from the New York Times, Bush from the NRA.

Gee, the election year is full of surprises *yawn*.

Politics: Bush, Kerry, and flu shots

I already said I'm tired of Kerry talking about the draft, not b/c I don't think his argument has merit (I do absolutely), but b/c it's too hard politically to justify his statements and too easy for Bush to deny it. Here's another example of Kerry being dumb and saying something indefensible and stupid:

What's happening with the flu vaccine is really an example of everything this administration does — deny it, pretend it's not there, and then try to hide it when it comes out and act surprised.
In my recent memory, George Bush has only said two things that weren't arrogant, stupid, and obstructive to the spirit of honesty. The first was when he honestly admitted that the object of the War on Terror wasn't 'to win' but to neutralize terrorist threats to a minimum. The second was Bush's handling of the flu vaccine question at the last debate, in which just about everything he said was dead on (except that when he implied that legal reform was the answer to rising malpractice costs, which is a simplistic and tiresome assertion).

In this country, it most certainly is difficult for a company to manufacturer vaccines. They aren't very profitable, to begin with. And the legal liability IS huge. So sure, most American pharmaceuticals, with plenty of exceptions, steer clear of developing them and manufacturing them.

So, in this one isolated case, it might make the most sense for public health to give some sort of legal protection to pharm companies, because vaccines are inherently dangerous prophylactics (to no fault of the pharm companies) as long as patients are warned of the possibility that something bad could happen, but the chances of something bad happening if they don't take the vaccine is even greater.

To be clearer, let's toss out some hypotheticals. Let's say a vaccine is estimated to save 100 lives in 100,000 people who take it (and probably 250 lives in children under 12, and 350 lives in the eldery/100K doses). That same vaccine is estimated to kill 2 people for every 100,000 people who take it. Given that it's better from a public health standpoint to have the vaccine than to not, and given that the two lawsuits for the two people who died would probably cost more than the profits from selling 100,000 doses of vaccine, what American company in their right mind would want to waste its efforts for a loss? Not many.

This isn't to say pharm companies shouldn't be sued for negligence or for holding back information--they most certainly should. But, uniquely, we accept the small dangers of vaccines to get the good of them. And typically, we're very up front with patients about the risks (and if we're not, that's bad).

So is the flu shot vaccine crisis a microcosm for the negligence of the Bush administration? If we hold them to a standard of perfection, maybe. It would have certainly made sense for a Republican president w/ a Republican congress to have done something about this situation, which hasn't exactly been a secret with regards to other vaccines. In fact, I have no idea why they didn't. But bottomline, the chances of a Gore administration correcting this situation seem negligible as well.

So if we want our vaccines manufactured in the United States where the FDA can at least have some nominal oversight, then companies are going to require some sort of legal protection to make it profitable. And who knows, we may even get better vaccines. Though that's unlikely, since most vaccine research is federally funded anyway. Some things are best left to the government, since the competition involved in manufacturing 'better' vaccines could wind up pretty dangerous in clinical trials when all the 'worse' ones get tested. And I'd prefer to kill as few patients as possible.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Politics: Push Poll 'Publicans

From Aug 31st:

An Oregon-based polling group was calling Wisconsin residents and asking questions like this:

"Whose position do you think is closer to the truth - those 'veterans who served with John Kerry' and say that he does not deserve the medals that he received, or John Kerry who disagrees with the veterans that he served with and who appear in the ad?"
And I'm sure Karl Rove had nothing to do with it. Never! Just to see that the GOP still has its old bag of tricks.

Politics: election video games

I saw Political Machine last night at Best Buy last night, and almost bought it, but apparently there's more. Slate reviews the selections.

Politics: fear of draft getting old

Things that are true: our volunteer army is overextended, the back-door draft is a very real and disgusting thing, and if a real front in the war on terror opened up in Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, etc., we wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it.

Things that aren't true and are getting really old (or at least things Kerry really can't say Bush is going to do because Bush swears he won't): we're not going to have a draft. And while I don't really trust anything the guy says after he lied through his butt about why we were going to Iraq, the draft doesn't seem very likely. We've made those mistakes before, and I hardly think the American people are stupid enough to let that happen again.

Besides, I'm like 30 miles from Canada. What do I care?

So I wish Kerry would keep talking about the things that are true, and get off the things that aren't. You can do better than that, John. You're running against a president with the worst record on everything in the last zillion years. And fear is their tactic, not ours.

Politics: Jon Stewart is a genius

It's pretty impressive when Stewart, the host of the Daily Show, can walk on CNN, on Crossfire, and as I told Garrett "put his dick in their mashed potatoes, and blow a wad on it for gravy." And I certainly agree with parts of what he says.

CARLSON: Is John Kerry -- is John Kerry really the best? I mean, John Kerry has...
STEWART: Is he the best? I thought Lincoln was good.
CARLSON: Is he the best the Democrats can do?
STEWART: Is he the best the Democrats can do?
CARLSON: Yes, this year of the whole field.
STEWART: I had always thought, in a democracy -- and, again, I don't know -- I've only lived in this country -- that there's a process. They call them primaries.
STEWART: And they don't always go with the best, but they go with whoever won. So is he the best? According to the process.
Stewart continues to rip Carlson apart. Just another testament to how shitty partisan outlets makes American democracy.

Garrett Update: Watch the clip! And here's another of the same Mikey found, streaming, which is a little more complete. Plus you can Enounce it.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Politics: Kerry didn't gay bait

He used Mary Cheney to shame Bush for gay-baiting, according to Timothy Noah.

Also, Oliver Willis links some comments by Pat Buchanan that demonstrate clearly that much of the Right is angry over the Kerry comments because they are unable to escape their own bigotry:

but when you do it the second time in a presidential debate and use the cold, hard word "lesbian," which really is offensive and what is to many people, this is deliberate. This is cold. This is calculated because Kerry and Edwards are hurting over the fact that they are both sympathetic to the idea that homosexual marriages should be elevated to the same level as traditional marriage. And to bring an innocent woman into this, you know what this is like? It's like finding a conservative who's a right-to-lifer and going on television and saying, "I'm sorry, my friend's daughter had an abortion." You don't do that.
Believe me, I WISH KE were more sympathetic to the above idea. And Pat, how, under your logic, is Mary Cheney so innocent (she is a "lesbian," after all)?

AND an abortion is a pretty private matter. Mary Cheney is anything but private over her sexual orientation.

AND an abortion is clearly a choice (imagine that, that's why we're PRO-CHOICE!). Sexual orientation is clearly not. (Orientation is quite unique from practice--practice may involve choice, but orientation clearly does not.)

How come these distinctions don't occur to the Right? Sure, the 'lesbian' association clearly irritates the hard right base, but SHOULDN'T hypocrisy being irritating?

Politics: Ten Commandments--Context is Key

This Rod Smolla Slate article seems to delineate the issues surrounding the Supreme Court taking up a Ten Commandments case rather well:

While there are likely to be some Americans and some Supreme Court justices with relatively absolute convictions on each extreme of these arguments, many citizens and a critical mass of justices may find themselves in the middle, with more nuanced views that are neither completely for or completely against the display of the Ten Commandments in public spaces. For many in this middle group, context becomes critical. Which explains why it has been critical in the case law.

Politics: Bill O'Reilly--sex fiend

Here's a site w/ a clip by Jim Gilliam chronicling some of O'Reilly's most lecherous comments over the years.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Politics: Now the Louisville Courier-Journal is wondering

why Jim Bunning has been acting so strange his entire campaign against Dr. Dan Mongiardo in KY.

Used to, Bunning was just a disgrace because of his politics. This time around, he's accused his Italian-American opponent of looking like Saddam Hussein's sons, demanded extra security as he might be the target of an Al-Quaeda attack, all but refused to debate his opponent, used a teleprompter when he finally agreed to do so, has claimed the support of a union that most certainly wasn't supporting him, etc.

The sickest thing? He's still eight points up in the polls.

Now, I don't think it's pleasant at all if Bunning is in fact suffering from any sort of dementia. It's very sad, and even if I don't particularly appreciate the results of his career, I can still appreciate somebody who was trying to serve his country. But you can't be an effective senator with slow onset dementia--that is simply not fair to the voters who believe they are voting for someone that is capable of serving in a full capacity. It's very worrisome that the Republicans might be so afraid of losing their slim majority in the Senate that they'd continue to run a near-sure-thing candidate like Bunning despite the obvious ethical considerations in doing so.

I hope we're wrong. But if we're not, there's something that sucks in the KY Republican party.

Politics: the homophobic right

Andrew Sullivan (a prominent homosexual conservative blogger) doesn't particularly like the way the right is outraged over Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney in the debate:

Mary Cheney is out of the closet and a member, with her partner, of the vice-president's family. That's a public fact. No one's privacy is being invaded by mentioning this. When Kerry cites Bush's wife or daughters, no one says it's a "low blow." The double standards are entirely a function of people's lingering prejudice against gay people.

Politics: Who Would Jesus Bitch-Slap?

This one is a couple of weeks old now, but still a great story. It turns out that two male students at UNC got into a slap fight over which candidate Jesus would vote for. Leave it to UNC students to get into a dangerous fight full of slapping.

In any case, I want to thank James and Robert for reminding all of us of an important lesson from history: All theological differences can be solved with violence.

Computers: New Idea for Prisoner's Dilemma

Wired has a story on a new strategy for the classic game "Prisoner's Dilemma." For those of you not familiar with the game, a good summary is provided in the article. The previous winner, known as "Tit for Tat," has been described as the model for mutually assured destruction during the Cold War. However, this strategy was defeated by University of Southampton's recognition of similar programs followed by a "master/slave" relationship strategy. Programs that were not considered exactly the same automatically received hostile treatment.

I, for one, can't say I'm surprised that this new strategy is considered more effective. What is Bush's foreign policy if not "Let us take advantage of you or we'll do everything in our power to make your life miserable?"

Politics: labor labor everywhere and hardly a job to work

If I were gay, and Bush wasn't elected, and I could move to a state not full of bigots, I think I'd ask Matt Yglesias to marry me:

But in Ohio, West Virginia, and elsewhere that stuff's a huge deal and all Bush said to people who are hurting is that they should go back to school. It's pretty insulting for a president (especially this president) to suggest that the reason folks are struggling is that they're too dumb.

I understand that neocons (and everybody else who's rich, including Kerry, or an econ major, even the 'liberal' ones) think that America's economy shouldn't be manual labor/manufacturing/etc. America's economy should be in all the smart people jobs.

And that would be a great thing, if say, we had a few generations to transition into that naturally.

I realize that ANY econ major will rightfully take issue with me for this, but what the hell are people supposed to be doing in the meantime? Going back to school? Most people can't lose a 40K job and then pay to go to school and keep their family in one piece. Jack Daniels is a lot cheaper. Are these people supposed to send their own kids to college, go back to college themselves, and still have money to eat while they're not working? Sure, student loans are there, but is new debt what this country needs for its population of 40-somethings? We keep talking about the rising costs of health care, but expect people to be able to lose their job, and support their families by going back to school? Well, as long as their children don't starve in the meantime.

I talk to lots of kids about this, even lots of Dems, who just find my views entirely outdated. Of course, their parents are doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Their parents aren't going to have to go back to school. Is my 45 year old father, a well-paid machinist at an oil-refinery whose health has already been trashed by working in the sorts of condtions that most white collar workers wouldn't even believe existed, if his job was sent to the Tijuana refinery, just supposed to head back to college? And in the meantime, lose four years of income?

The economic transition away from the sorts of jobs our grandparents worked is inevitable, I know that. But I just wish politicians would quit acting like you can just leave a well-paying job, go back to college, and not have daily thoughts of killing yourself for the insurance money ala Willie Loman. And that's only if you can afford the life insurance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Politics: O'Reilly accused of sexual harassment

Here's some of the allegations.

And here's O'Reilly's countersuit.

Hmm... I don't think I need to say which one I believe :)

Politics: a real conservative against Bush

Bob Barr points out why many of my conservative friends (yes I have them--the real conservatives who actually believe in less government, unlike the type that just thinks that tax cuts = conservatism) don't particularly like a 'conservative' candidate who thinks deficits caused by new records in spending don't matter.

Politics: whatever it is, it doesnt' matter

A great Slate article pointing out that Kerry's proposals will add a little over a trillion to the deficit. And Bush's will add between 2 and 3 trilliion, if you include privatization (i.e. abolishment?) of social security. If you don't, the figure is still slightly higher (1.33 trillion vs. 1.27 trillion). As this dude points out, "not bad for a conservative." The bottom-line to a great read:

Instead of trying to master the details of complicated new proposed initiatives, focus on the following question: Which of these guys will do a better job cleaning up the horrible fiscal mess left behind by President Bush's first term? Because, when you get down to it, that's the only honest job description for the domestic-policy part of this gig. One way to answer that question is to compare Bush's $2 trillion to $3 trillion in new costs to Kerry's $1.27 trillion. Another is to see if you can identify which candidate even recognizes that there's a mess to clean up. Come to think of it, that isn't a bad method for sizing up the foreign-policy debate part of this job, either.

Politics: school officials are morons

I wouldn't be sad if somebody threw all the guns in the ocean.

That being said, how do these idiots (the school officials) remember to breathe? It seems like people this dumb would walk into traffic or something. To quote Kevin, "Zero tolerance is a synonym for zero IQ."

A teen-age Civil War buff has been suspended from school and faces serious charges after his replica musket was found in his car trunk at school in the Orange County community of Pine Bush. Joshua Phelps had been at a re-enactment with his Civil War costume, including a musket last week. He threw the uniform and equipment into his truck and forgot about it. Yesterday a security guard at the Pine Bush High School saw it and called police. Phelps was sitting in study hall when the security guard told him to go to the assistant principal. When he was told they saw the rifle he wasn't concerned - thinking they would understand it's part of his costume. But it didn't happen that way. Town of Crawford Police were called and Phelps was cuffed and charged with a misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of a weapon.