Observations on the world today.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Homefield Advantage 

As a sitting president, Bush has certain built in advantages in this campaign. The Florida situation has provided him with yet another.
Bush to Visit Hurricane-Damaged Florida

President Bush wrapped up a five-day campaign swing with a rally in the battleground state of Iowa on Saturday and scheduled a quick trip to Florida to survey hurricane damage in a state he needs to win in the November election.
Noone can really begrudge him the right to tour Florida and offer government assistance. That's what presidents always do after hurricanes hit. The question is, would it be grandstanding for Kerry to also visit, and would any gesture he makes be seen politically motivated.
Kerry Campaign Helping With Fla. Recovery

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) does not plan to visit Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley because he's concerned his campaign entourage could distract from recovery efforts, he said Saturday.


Kerry said he has instructed his Florida campaign staff to provide food, clothing, shelter or other assistance to people whose lives have been disrupted by the hurricane.
I can see the Republican smear machine's response already.
Kerry Offer's Floridians Canned Pickles While President Supplies Army Corps of Engineers and Disaster Funding.


He's Married and a Closet Gay, But He Loves President Bush 

ConservativeMatch.com Conservative Singles - Online Dating, Personals, Matchmaking for Conservative Singles

I found this ad for a conservatives-only dating service on Taegan Goddard's (rather liberal) Political Wire, and I couldn't resist.

Look at the woman's expression, and imagine the next sentence.

There's a free gmail invite for the first person to post a funnier followup line.

And you should see his tiny penis.



Friday, August 13, 2004

Disappointment Haunted All My Dreams 

It's been a bad news day for the president.
Report Finds Tax Cuts Heavily Favor the Wealthy

According to the new report from the Congressional Budget Office, about two-thirds of the benefits from the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, went to households in the top fifth of earnings, with an average income of $203,740.


People in the very top income categories fared better by almost any measure, according to the report. The average after-tax income for people in the top 1 percent of income earners climbed 10.1 percent, while that of those in the middle 20 percent climbed 2.3 percent, and that of those in the bottom fifth only 1.6 percent.

Put another way, people with the top 1 percent of income saw their share of the tax burden drop to 20.1 percent after the tax cuts from 21.9 percent under the old law.


"It's not just that lower-income people are getting smaller benefits,'' Dr. Gale said. "It's also that these tax cuts will eventually have to be paid for with either spending cuts or tax increases, and those are likely to be less progressive than the taxes they are paying now.''

Trade Gap at Record, Producer Prices Tame

The U.S. trade deficit widened much more than expected in June, hitting a record $55.8 billion on the biggest drop in exports in nearly three years and record imports, the government said on Friday.

Separate reports showed producer prices largely under wraps last month and consumer sentiment eroding in August.

Wall Street economists had expected the trade gap to grow, but looked for a deficit of just $47 billion. Instead it jumped 19 percent, the biggest increase in more than five years.

Analysts said the unexpectedly large gap will lead the government to lower its reading of second-quarter economic growth, which it had put at a 3 percent annual rate in a snapshot late last month. Before Friday, economists had been thinking the GDP figure would actually be bumped up.
None of this is good news for America or the world, so it makes me feel strangely guilty enjoying the fact that this cannot be good news for Bush's reelection hopes. I mean, realistically, I know that Bush isn't single-handedly responsible for the widening trade gap, but his policies are at least partially responsible. And I know that Kerry's plan won't change the tax burden on the middle class. But Bush did tout his plan as being one that would fix the economy in miraculous ways, and it hasn't even come close.

So while the news of our deepening economic morass itself actually sickens me, the thought that it will help bring down the miserable failure puts an ironic smile on my face.




Welcome To the Senate, Mr. Obama 

Yahoo! News - Keyes Wants to End Election of Senators:
Alan Keyes said Friday he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

"The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level," Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio's "At Issue" program.

He said it was one of the reasons "there has been a steady deleterious erosion of the sovereign role of the states."
So let's recap. Carpet bagging is bad, but Keyes is willing to do it. Racial quotas are bad, but Keyes is running anyway even though he acknowledges that he was selected for his race. And now, Keyes is running for election as senator to abolish the system of electing senators.

All righty then.



Thursday, August 12, 2004

Personally, I'm an Irish/German-American. No Offense. 

Yahoo! News - Group Runs Anti-Kerry Ads on Black Radio Stations
A group financed by a major Republican contributor has begun running radio ads in about a dozen cities, many in battleground states, attacking Sen. John F. Kerry as "rich, white and wishy-washy" and mocking his wife for boasting of her African roots.


Another ad attacks Teresa Heinz Kerry, who, at the Democratic convention last month cited her birth and upbringing in Mozambique and who has described herself as African American. In the radio commercial, the announcer says: "His wife says she's an African American. While technically true, I don't believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies."
Of course it qualifies. Africa is a continent, not an ethnicity. If you were born in Brazil and became a US citizen, you would be Latin-American. It would make no difference whether you were blonde, dark or aboriginal. If you came from Russia you could be considered Asian-American no matter the shape of your features. An English-American is a European-American just as surely as an Italian-American is.

And as for the charge that Kery is a rich, white and wishy-washy guy:

Miserable Failure and rich, white and wishy-washy guy.



I'm Not On the List? What Do You Mean I'm Not On the List? 

Blogs for Bush: Updated RNC Convention Blogger List

I saw Janeane Garofalo on McEnroe's show the other day, and she was mentioning how difficult it was for liberal radio personalities to get credentials for the RNC Convention. Then I saw the thread above telling who all was going to be blogging the convention. It's a pretty pathetically short list and is devoid of any liberal voices. But then I thought, well, how many conservatives blogged the democratic convention? Turns out none, but there were a whole lot more bloggers there than will be at the RNCC.

So from this I can only gather that neither side really considers bloggers anything more than a propoganda tool. And, in my humble opinion, that's probably a pretty dead on analysis. Also from this I gather that either:
• There are not as many conservatives interrested in the whole new fangled Internet thingy as liberals.


• The RNC is a whole lot more concerned about the willingness of their base to be used to parrot their talking points than liberals are.


So Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself, Porter 

You've probably heard by now that Bush has named U.S. Congressman Porter Goss as his pick for CIA director. Well, this is what Goss has had to say about his qualifications for the post:
"I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified."

"I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably."

"And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day: 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."
That's okay, Porter. I'm not qualified either.

Next candidate, please!



Testing Whether That Nation, or Any Other Nation So Conceived and So Dedicated Can Long Endure 

"I have appealed to the members of the Governing Council and to Iraqis in every part of Iraqi to be conscious that civil wars do not happen because a person makes a decision, 'Today, I'm going to start a civil war," -- Lakhdar Brahimi

"I've been reading a book about the Civil War and Ulysses S. Grant-and I'm not going to compare the two, don't get me wrong, don't anybody rush off and say he doesn't get the difference between Iraq and the Civil War. The fact of the matter is, the casualties were high, the same kinds of concerns that we're expressing here were expressed then. [The people then] were despairing, they were hopeful, they were concerned, they were combative…the carnage was horrendous, and it was worth it." -- Donald Rumsfeld
No, there's no real comparrison between Iraq and our own civil war. Although, the south is planning to succeed.
The southern Iraqi governorates of Basra, Misan and Dhi Qar plan to split from the Iraqi central government in Baghdad because the interim administration has failed to support Iraqis fighting occupation forces in Najaf, al-Jazeera reported, citing unidentified Iraqi officials.
But somehow, I don't see Allawii as the Abe Lincoln-type. No, he's more of a Buchanan.


How FUBAR Is That? 

Yahoo! News - Syria Becoming Haven for Iraqi Christians
A banner draped across a wall of a Damascus church commemorated a long-ago massacre in neighboring Iraq, but hundreds of worshippers praying below worried about more recent violence that is driving Iraqi Christians from their homeland.

"We offer these prayers for the souls of those who were killed in our brotherly Iraq," said a Syrian priest before reading the names of seven people killed Aug. 1 when suspected Islamic militants set off explosions at five churches in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.

In addition to the seven dead, dozens were wounded in the first major assault on Iraq's Christian minority since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in April 2003.

Even before the church bombings, Christians reporting harassment by Islamic fundamentalists had begun streaming out of Iraq, many to neighboring Syria. Syria's relaxed visa rules for Arabs and its geographical and cultural proximity to Iraq have attracted thousands of Iraqis, Muslim as well as Christian, seeking to escape chaos at home. A disproportionate number of the refugees, though, have been Christian.
Well, there's an iterresting turn of events. Bush brought to Iraq the freedom to persecute Christians, and it is so bad that the Iraqi Christians would actually prefer to live in Syria. Hmmm?



Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Emergency Post 

Nothing particularly interresting to say today, so I thought I would share some fun pictures I made to annoy some right-wingers on another site. These are all about the current Yellow alert.



Monday, August 09, 2004

Novak Does Irony 

Robert Novak: Kerry's war record
I have read the book and found it is neither the political propaganda nor the urban legend that its detractors claim. It is a passionate but meticulously researched account of how Kerry went to war, what he did in the war and how he conducted himself after the war. The very serious charges by former comrades deserve answers but so far have produced only ad hominem counterattacks.
Do you think he realizes just how ironic this statement is?




Celebrity Death Match 

I keep hearing disparaging remarks from the right about how the celebrities who support Kerry should keep their mouths shut. Ironically, some of this is actually coming from celebrities who support Bush. Personally, I suspect that the problem they have is that the calibre of celebrity supporting Kerry is better than the calibre of celebrity supporting Bush.

On the Kerry side from the world of Rock'n'roll we have Bruce (don't call me boss) Springsteen who has been extremely reticent before now to even consider entering the world of politics.
"This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out."
For Bush, Ted (Motor City Madman) Nugent.
President Bush stands for "we the people" who live to be the best we can be. I'm voting for George W. Bush.
Ted has swallowed the purple Kool Aid, but he still rocks. We'll call that one a draw.

Next, on the left from the world of stars-of-yesterday, we have Rob (Meathead) Reiner.
"...what impressed me is that you could see how unified the Democrats are. I've never seen anything like it."
This is significant because Reiner was originally a Dean backer, and because he is considering a political run of his own.

For Bush in this category we find Rachel (Mrs. Rod Stewart) Hunter.
"Clinton had a lot of tea parties with celebrities, but [right after] his term, somebody flew two planes into the Twin Towers. What do you want - somebody who keeps your children safe or somebody who throws nice tea parties?"
Who can argue with genius like that? Point Meathead.

Next, from the current crop of stars-of-yesterday-of-tomorrow we find on the left, Ben (Where's Matt?) Afflek.
"I'll tell you what, if they're going to work so hard running for office, imagine how hard they are going to work as president and vice president of the United States?"
Ben would do really well in a debate with Rachel Hunter. But can his opponent best him? Supporting Bush, Miss Britney (Not Christina) Spears.
"Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens."
Somebody rent this girl a copy of All the President's Men and quick. Unbelievably, point Afflek.

And now from the all important country music caucus, on the Kerry side, Willie (Red-headed Stranger) Nelson.
And the bewildered herd is still believing
Everything we've been told from our birth
Hell they won't lie to me
Not on my own damn TV
That's a lyric from Willie's song, Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth? Pretty good, but what about Charlie (Soapbox) Daniels representing Bush? Can he top it?
America is in imminent danger. You're either for her or against her. There is no middle ground.
That was from an open letter to the Hollywood elite written on the eve of the war in Iraq. So THAT'S where we got the idea Bush had used the phrase "immient danger?" Point Willie.

Finally from the California/celebrity/politicial-family realm, we have representing the liberals who have a lot of conservative friends, Ron (Jr.) Reagan.
"I think it's important to talk about stem cell research—important to the country and the world. The Democrats support this, and President Bush doesn’t."
Oooh, very very good point. So, how do you rebut? Representing the conservatives who have a lot of liberal friends, Arnold (the Gropinator) Schwarzenegger.
"This is a very important year, and I think and am absolutely convinced we then can deliver California for President Bush."

Final tally, Kerry - 4, Bush - 0 and one tie.

So what does this all mean? Nothing. I just like pointing out how lame the GOP is.



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