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September 30, 2004

Advantage Bush

Perhaps by Friday morning there will already be some flash poll showing John Kerry has gained points after tonight's first '04 presidential debate. He spoke more smoothly and looked more comfortable than George W. Bush, but that's where his advantage ended, in my view.

Kerry stumbled badly in several respects, mainly by reiterating untenable positions on foreign policy. This election is not a contest for Prom King of the Globe.

First, Kerry erred in insisting more meetings with allies would lead to solving the problems in Iraq. "We're safer leading strong alliances," he said, as part of his ongoing and brainless suck-up to the United Nations and Europe.
Bush pummeled him repeatedly: how can you entice allies into a war you've called a huge mistake, the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time? Bush summed up his view of global opinion thusly: "Trying to be popular in the global sense makes no sense, if it's not in our best interests."

Second, Kerry repeated the canard that catching Osama bin Laden should be the centerpiece of the war on terrorism. What foolishness. We could collar Osama this weekend, and the dozens of terrorist cells worldwide, their fundraisers and recruits would keep at it. Bush said we've caught three-quarters of Al Qaeda's known leaders; 10 million voters are registered in Afghanistan, Libya's been brought to heel, and the global battle against terrorist organizations and individuals continues, with the U.S. in a leading role, "on offense."

Who you vote for depends on how comfortable you feel with America's strong leadership role in aggressively combatting the greatest threat to our national security.

Third, Kerry looked foolish on North Korea, calling for an end to the same multilateralism he endorses with respect to Iraq. Bush pointed out the presence of the Chinese in the talks with North Korea is especially important.

Bush lobbed one up over the rim for Kerry to dunk when he spoke about changing the culture of the FBI. You knew Kerry would come back right away with the recent news the agency has failed to translate hours and hours of taped conversations between suspected terrorists. And he did.

Kerry did a decent job of defending his controversial vote against funding the Iraq War after voting to authorize the president to go to war. A decent job in that it was succinct, and some swing voters might buy it. But it still amounted to, "I didn't like the WAY" we were moving toward the decision; and he had already voted to give the president the power to make the decision.

From there, back to that "war as a last resort" meme, and Kerry's lame insistence we should have continued the U.N. weapons inspection charade with an uncooperative Saddam.

Content-wise, very little played to his advantage. But of course, personal vibrations are the great intangible. Some related observations.

Words often did not come easily to Bush tonight. He paused a number of times, trying to come up with the right phrase. More generally, his hunched-over body language suggested he felt he was going through something unpleasant and trying.

Yet Kerry's scriptedness was as much a drawback as Bush's occasional discomfort. An example: Kerry said, "I believe in being strong, resolute and determined." Translation: "my consultants and polls indicate I'm doing very poorly in this respect, and I need to address this in the debate tonight. So there, I said it. Now, please believe me."

Kerry tells us he's strong, resolute and determined, Bush shows us.

Despite his painful pauses, Bush also had moments where the words came quickly, were well-composed and delivered with great sincerity, clarity, and - take a deep breath Democrats - moral force. He said what he came to say - made his positions clear.

Bush did utter at least two "Bush-isms. One, he called the Iranian mullahs "moolahs," twice; two, he spoke of his "good relation," as opposed to "good relationship," with Vladimir Putin. And he pronounced "nuclear" wrong, as he has before, and doubtless will again.

Another thing: eye contact. Kerry almost never looked the camera (and thus viewers) in the eye. He was always riveted to the right, presumably locked on moderator Jim Lehrer, (or the audience? it was hard to tell). Bush often turned to address the camera straight on, looking right at viewers as he spoke to them. An interesting, and perhaps important difference.

Hard to trust someone who won't look you in the eye. Could be he doesn't really believe what he's selling.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack



Thursday Links

A Boston Globe editorial on lawless immigration, "Unchecked and Illegal." Wow, pretty hard-assed for Northeastern liberals. Suggested reading for George W. Bush.

"Bill Cosby's Plain-Spokenness Comes Not A Moment Too Soon," from Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker.

Peter Kirsanow, a black businessman, well-known opinion writer, and member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, rebuts Jimmy Carter's tired assertion in Monday's WaPo that votes were stolen from blacks in Florida in 2000, and there's risk of a repeat this November. A link to Carter's op-ed is included.

The U.N. admits its "peacekeepers" in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo are inept, but they want more of them.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 29, 2004

The Fruits of Failure

As long as Islamic terrorists are allowed by moderate Muslims and the rest of the world to remain in their fetid cocoons, hating modernity and their own failure to win prosperity and political and human rights in their countries of origin, we will have to be worried about Washington State Ferries being blown up.

Now, apparently, we need to worry even more. The Coast Guard wants the State Patrol to do random searches on three times as many vehicles per day. Otherwise, schedules may be curtailed, or the system shut down. The feds say there's a heightened terrorism risk with the approaching presidential election, and more inspections are essential. Ferry systems in six other states will have to do more random searches, too.

For non-Washington readers, understand that these boats are a big part of our state's highway system, by law. Some typically carry hundreds of cars at peak hours, serving many commuters, and, in the summer, tourists. It is the nation's largest ferry system, carrying 11 million cars and 25 million passengers a year.

And yes, the ferries ARE extremely vulnerable to terrorism, just as Seattle's new 14-mile monorail Green Line will be if it is ever built.

Regarding the ferries, The Seattle Times reports today:

The FBI determined earlier this spring that Washington's ferry system was the target of surveillance by possible terrorists, U.S. Attorney John McKay said yesterday. That assessment describes what McKay has said is a disturbing series of incidents that seem to indicate a group of individuals has been watching the ferries, taking notes, snapping photographs and attempting to access areas on boats and in terminals where the public is not allowed.

The State Patrol, however, has had problems meeting even the lower levels of mandated inspections so far. It will need more explosives-detecting dogs, and/or "redeployment of troopers, possible mandatory overtime and the physical searching of cars," according to The Times.

The Department of Homeland Security has provided $14 million to the state, but somehow none of it has been used for troopers or more bomb-sniffing dogs.

It appears an oft-cited state Supreme Court ruling won't get in the way, although the ACLU might decide to wave its freak flag high, as the election approaches. That ruling says the Washington constitution doesn't allow random searches.

Increased searches will be an indignity to some and an inconvenience to many. But then, being blown to smithereens is also inconvenient.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Wednesday Links

Mel Brooks has decided against shooting the re-make of The Producers in the northeast film hub of Toronto because the bagels are mushy. And because of tax credit incentives that lured him back home to Brooklyn.

At his own blog, Conservative Brotherhood member Avery Tooley reports about a man named "They."

Ban assault axes, says Rob, at Gut Rumbles. BTW, he describes his wunnerful blog as "Humorous Observations, Vitriolic Rants and a Ceaseless Quest For Adoration From People Who Don't Know Me." Guy's honest, huh?

Reality Hammer leans Libertarian a bit, but less so after hearing of the party's Jimmy Carter wing.

About those forged documents Dan Rather fell for? Daily Kos explains all: it's really a stunt pulled by Karl Rove. Kos, what WOULD we do without you? Gotta give credit where it's due, tho: Buzzflash was on it too.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Minneapolis Columnist In a Lather About Bloggers

The Ombudsgod highlights a jeremiad against bloggers by Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Nick Coleman (free reg. req.). He's a veteran Twin Cities journo who usually wears a big "D" smack in the middle of his forehead.

Coleman writes:

...a lot of the attack against the mainstream media is coming from bloggers, which is like astronomers being assaulted by people who swear that aliens force them to have sex with Martians.

..blogs....are to journalism what ticks are to elephants. Ticks may make the elephants nuts, but that doesn't mean they will replace them. You can't ride a tick.....Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world.

...We are not dealing with journalism, people. We are dealing with Internet chat rooms: sleazy and unreliable, with no accountability. Most bloggers are not fit to carry a reporter's notebook.

Ombudsgod retorts, very much on point:

I have news for you, old man, most reporters are not fit to carry a reporter's notebook either.

His main problem is that bloggers have opinions. The job of the public, he would have you think, is to accept the opinion of the local newspaper, not tell others their own. Hey Coleman, that's called commentary. Editorial. Columnists. We can say anything we want because it isn't straight news. Isn't that what papers tell readers when they complain about the liberal tripe shoveled on them for decades?

The son of a senator that claims he was born with no advantages, Coleman says that what makes him so much better than all the bloggers is that he "knows stuff"....Nick claims he has an ear trained to detect baloney, I'm sure Dan Rather thinks the same thing. But what makes you think your baloney detector is better than that of a cop? Or a lawyer? Or a teacher? Or a parent?....

....It's always hard watching the last few seconds of the elk as it lies limp in the tiger's mouth, but that's the circle of life.

As an aging Lefty Lib (an ineffably sad species to begin with), and a columnist for a metro daily, Coleman should understand that in this day and age, bloggers are going to be all over him.

And they have been. A few examples; here, here, and here.

Once in a while, they even offer praise.

So? This: the men who buy ink by the barrel - and their minions - don't alone filter the public dialog for TV and radio newscasters, and the rest of us. Not anymore, Nick.

You don't have to like that.

But you'd better get used to it.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 28, 2004

Cat Stevens: Friend of Hamas, Enemy of Jews

Canada's National Post reports today the former celebrity folk-rock singer and convert to Islam Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, was the guest of honor at a 1998 fundraising dinner in Toronto for The Jerusalem Fund For Human Services. That's an organization identified by the Canadian government as a "front" for the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas is responsible for numerous suicide bombings in Israel. The Canadian intelligence on Stevens just might be salient to U.S. mainstream media outlets and Lefties who've have had a field day squawking about him being denied entry to the U.S. recently because of government security concerns.

Yusuf Islam, the British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was the guest of honour at a Toronto fundraising dinner hosted by an organization that has since been identified by the Canadian government as a "front" for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

In a videotape of the 1998 event obtained by the National Post, Mr. Islam describes Israel as a "so-called new society" created by a "so-called religion" and urges the audience to donate to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services to "lessen the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and the Holy Land."

The Jerusalem Fund is one of four "fronts" named in a secret Privy Council Office memo that was sent to Jean Chretien, then prime minister, on May 23, 2000, discussing what it called groups that "have unsavoury links with terrorism.

"In a limited number of cases, fundraising in support of violent foreign struggles takes place in Canada through the cover of ethnic, religious or community-based associations and groups, lobbying and even criminal activity," the report says.

"Front groups operating in Canada include the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services (Hamas Front), the World Tamil Movement (Tamil Tigers Front), the Canadian Kurdish Information Network (Kurdistan Workers Party Front) and the Babbar Khalsa (a Sikh extremist front)."

Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, is responsible for most of the suicide bombings against Israelis. Canada has outlawed Hamas under federal anti-terrorism legislation, making it illegal to support the group.

Ride that Peace Train, brother Yusuf, ya betcha.

UPDATE: Here is Stevens' sanctimonious self-defense in today's LA Times (free reg. may be required). It is greatly at odds with his on-video Jew- and Israel-bashing, and the Canadian government's assessment as a Hamas "front" of the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services, with which he was closely associated.

Hat tip for National Post piece: Canadian blogger Kate, at Small Dead Animals.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Tuesday Links

Iraqi blogger Alaa, at The Mesopotamian, says traditional armaments and traditional (Western) conceptions of civil liberties will not suffice if the terrorists wreaking havoc in Iraq are to be defeated.

One of Seattle's leading young conservatives, James J. Na, has an excellent op-ed in today's Seattle Times. Na, a senior fellow in foreign affairs at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, says the Internet can be a tool to advance the more moderate side of Islam.

Government is a beast; a giant squid to be precise, says Australian blogger Michael Ross.

Black moderate-conservative blogger Molotov, at Booker Rising, has challenged black readers of his blog to explain why they support John Kerry. This is one reply, with Molotov's rejoinders interspersed, in green.

Finally, the economic and psychological case for doing nothing. Or at least, learning to appreciate the value of idleness. Warning to John Kerry: this does NOT work as foreign policy. Next time you're about to don your wetsuit tho, think about it.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 11:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


September 27, 2004

Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Bush 51, Kerry 45

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll of likely voters puts Bush up over Kerry, 51-45 percent nationally. Swing voters are doubtful about Bush, but even more queasy over Kerry's lack of a clearly articulated plan, according to the poll.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore is very worried that Democrats are becoming mired in defeatism. He warns not to take the polls too seriously because: many young voters with cell phones, not home phones, aren't being contacted; infrequent voters will turn out this time because Bush hatred is running high; and Ds are being undersampled in many polls.

Moore echoes the DNC talking points quite well, but like his partisan cohorts, ignores several things. People who've never voted before, including both new and infrequent voters, can't reliably be included in samples because there's no telling they will actually vote. They have no track records.

Further, if they do vote, increased turnout usually just reflects existing polling...in other words, not all new or infrequent voters will break for Kerry. Some will feel as strongly about supporting Bush.

Finally, the idea of "representative" sampling in polls is overrated. It is ususally based on percentage of registered Democrats and Republicans in a state or national electorate versus that sampled in a corresponding poll, but people sometimes vote against their declared party affiliation, depending on the office sought and influencing factors, like, say, the war in Iraq, and terrorism. That's why we have Democrats for Bush, and Republicans for Kerry.

The upcoming debates are Kerry's last chance. As I've said recently, don't expect anything less than a crisp, consistent performance from Bush. He'll be putting Kerry on the defensive more than the other way around. Should be interesting to see.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


September 24, 2004

Seattle Weakly Scores Big Kerry Takedown Piece - On Page 87

Cogent analysis of the Bush-Kerry contest in our town's old-line "alternative" rag, The Seattle Weakly, is about as frequent as a Chicago-style blizzard here in the glorious, poliitcally-retarded Emerald City. In other words, don't bank on it.

But lo and behold! In the full glory of the film review section, on page 87! of this week's Weakly print edition, true brilliance - comes a withering review by Brian Miller of "Bush's Brain," the cheap "documentary film" hatchet job on Karl Rove.

It raises more questions than it answers, according to Miller, who is certainly no Bush fan, as you'll see below. (You'll want to scroll down to the second review in the above link, and don't linger too long up top on the old pic of Gwen Verdon in "Damn Yankees," OK?).

Based on the takedown book of the same name, published last year, this short documentary would seem to have the richest kind of villain as its subject: Dubya's string-puller, Karl Rove. He's like Iago crossed with Machiavelli, Lee Atwater genetically spliced with a pit bull, and the high-school-nerd-turned-über-political-boss. So why is the movie so dismal?

Because history, in this case, is being written by the losers—the bitter Texas pols trounced by Rove's candidates and dirty tricks; the outraged liberal journalists (including Molly Ivins); the erstwhile GOP rivals whom Rove ground into the dusty earth during his '70s rise... Everybody argues that he bagged such scalps as Ann Richards and Jim Hightower because of smear tactics and underhanded tactics; no one actually considers the fact that they were weak candidates—like Gore, like Kerry—out of touch with mainstream voters of either party.

The book's co-authors, James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, get the most screen time among the endlessly dull procession of talking heads. If you're a student of bare-knuckle Austin statehouse politics during the '80s, they may interest you; otherwise the stuff makes C-SPAN seem like MTV. Speaking of which, Rove pops up periodically in some speeches captured on C-SPAN, but "Brain" (the film) isn't smart enough to make greater use of them. It never gives us a sense of the man in his own words, and any telling biographical detail is completely lacking. (I only gathered from the press kit that Rove never actually finished college, but is he married? Does he have kids? I have no idea.)

....If Rove is "a threat to the republic," as the film maintains, it does a terrible job of plumbing that threat. I'd rather hear from his admirers than his detractors as to what makes him such a tremendously successful political operative. Even if the Democrats shouldn't emulate his methods (and it's too late for this presidential election, I fear), they owe it to future candidates to understand their most important enemy.

Mmm. Hmm.

Sadly, for producers of "Bush's Brain," venting is what matters. And preaching to the choir. Neither are winning strategies, as Miller notes.

Of course that begs the question: what IS a winnng strategy for Kerry at this point? Hard to say. Maybe a severe disaster perpetrated upon America by terrorists......But probably not. The more trouble in the world, and Iraq, the more determined we get to stay the damned course. Through the scheduled January elections in Iraq, and beyond, as necessary.

The debates may be Kerry's last hope, and I'm sure W is going to come on strong, and prepared.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 07:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack



Strategic Vision: Kerry Hurting In WA

Yesterday, I wrote about a SurveyUSA poll of likely voters refuting the dated and flawed Ipsos-Public Affairs survey of less-likely-to-turn-out registered voters in WA. Kerry's been losing ground.....and his WA lead is almost within the four-point margin of error, SurveyUSA reported.

Now, the second poll in just a few days indicating Washington remains a battleground, just about dead even, in fact. It was done, and paid for by Atlanta-based Strategic Vision, which has been doing regular surveys in swing states. The phone poll surveyed 801 likely voters, Sept. 20 to 22. MOE=3.

In WA, Kerry's margin has slipped from 9 (8/9-11) to 6 (8/21-23) to 3 (9/4-6) and now, (9/20-22), to 2 points in a two-way race. In a three-way race (with Nader) his slippage over the same timeframe is 7 points, to 3, to 2, to 1.

Here's a report on the latest round of its WA polling, by Strategic Vision (a summary was to be posted later today at this page,) but had not been yet, after 6pm PST.

The results of the poll showed that the Kerry Campaign has lost substantial ground in Washington. In the match-up between the two presidential tickets, Kerry-Edwards led Bush-Cheney 47% to 45%, with 8% undecided and a margin of error of +/- 3%. In a three-way contest with the Bush-Cheney ticket, the Kerry-Edwards ticket, and the Nader-Camejo ticket, the results were Bush-Cheney 45%, Kerry-Edwards 46%, Nader-Camejo 2%, with 7% undecided, and a margin of error of +/- 3%.

“John Kerry is losing ground in Washington as he is in all the battleground states,” said David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, “This is not good news for Kerry. He must now defend the states that Al Gore won in 2000, before he can begin making inroads on Bush states. Just by tying Kerry down in Washington with time and resources takes away from states like Florida and Ohio that Kerry must win. It also shows that his new strategy is not working yet.

...."Kerry’s problem is that more people are exposed to him the less they like him,” said Johnson. That is why we have seen him begin appearing on shows like “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Live with Regis and Kelly”, in an attempt to humanize him. Unfortunately for him once most people form an opinion of a candidate it is hard to change it with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton being the exceptions, and Kerry has not demonstrated their type of charm and charisma that would allow him to do so.”

Among other results in the Strategic Vision WA poll:

If the election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for Patty Murray (D) or George Nethercutt (R) ?
Patty Murray 48%
George Nethercutt 41%
Undecided 11%

If the election for Governor were held today, would you vote for Christine Gregoire (D), Dino Rossi (R), or Ruth Bennett?
Christine Gregoire 44%
Dino Rossi 42%
Ruth Bennett 1%
Undecided 13%

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


September 23, 2004

Survey USA: Rossi and Gregoire Tied; Kerry's WA Lead Dwindling

A neck-and-neck race for Governor of Washington State, and two somewhat conflicting polls on Kerry-Bush in WA. First, Governor: A SurveyUSA poll of 621 likely voters, conducted Sept. 19-21, gives Democrat Christine Gregoire 47 percent to Republican Dino Rossi's 46 percent. With a 4 percent margin of error, that's a dead heat.

About the Kerry-Bush contest in WA......

"Kerry Cements Lead in Washington State" blares the USA Today headline. AP writer David Ammons cites an Ipsos-Public Affairs poll of 406 registered voters, conducted Sept. 17-20, showing Kerry ahead of Bush 51% to 42%.

Back to that pesky SurveyUSA Poll, done for Seattle and Spokane TV. It calls the Kerry-Bush race here "tight." 51-46 Kerry, a spread only one more than the margin of error. Kerry's spread in WA was 8 points 5 weeks ago, now just 5 points. Same sample as for Rossi-Gregoire: 621 likely voters, a much better measure than merely the registered voters in the Ipsos poll. And, the SurveyUSA poll was more recent, Sept. 19-21, versus Sept. 17-20 for Ipsos.

The SurveyUSA poll also asked the same sample group about the U.S. Senate race. Results: Patty Murray (D) over (R) George Nethercutt 53-41; but Murray's spread was 14 points 5 weeks ago, now 8.

In the race to replace Gregoire as Washington AG; (R) Rob McKenna, 46; (D) Deborah Senn 42.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 04:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 22, 2004

No Nukes in Liechtenstein - But Maybe His Gloveness

Some linkin', to a bunch of stuff........

GAY MARRIAGE BAN IN OREGON? Oregon voters are indicating strong support, according to a recent poll, for the November ballot measure on a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

More news of the day.....

BUSH THE FLIP-FLOPPER. Big meme now, given impetus by DeWayne Wickham's column a few days ago in USA Today. Seems it was hard for the the Congressional Black Caucus to pin down Bush for a promised followup meeting. This equals a flip-flop. Terrible stuff, DeWayne. Um, should there even BE a Congressional Black Caucus anymore? Then there's that Iraq thing, and uh, oh, Bush told an interviewer (truthfully) the war on terrorists might well have no end, but then, under political pressure, walked it back. Damning. Just damning.

Critics such as Wickham still struggle to pin the flip-flopper label on Bush over his "nation-building" in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite his clear pre-9/11 pledge of limited foreign entanglements. That's because their 9/10 worldview, like the U.N.'s approach to Iraq, screams "Ostrich."

MAN AT SEA: However, the flip-flop tag is sticking to Kerry, despite this defense from nattering nabob of nuance Marc Sandalow. Seeing pix of JFK sailboarding, Jay Leno cracked, "even his hobby depends on which way the wind blows." Now W's campaign has a new ad mocking Kerry's weathervane tendencies. Ridicule can be a powerful weapon.

PALESTINIAN GENDER EQUITY: So can teen-age girls.

NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS: Liechtenstein won't be testing nuclear weapons. And, the former money-laundering haven is re-branding its image, but probably wasn't expecting Michael Jackson might be moving in. One problem, says his attorney: Jackson's current home, the California ranch Neverland, is about half as big as the entire country of Liechtenstein. Might be hard to procure land with enough, ah, cover, for whatever it is, exactly, that Michael does in his domocile.

And finally, in case you'd forgotten, George Bush employs the rhetoric of terrorists because he believes freedom and liberty are God's gift to humanity.

Evil bastard.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 11:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Detroit's New Apartheid

The Detroit City Council has finally figured out what to do about all those damn furriners setting up shop in black neighborhoods.

The Detroit Free-Press reports:

A majority of the Detroit City Council wants to implement an economic development plan it commissioned for $112,000 that preaches racial isolation and rails against immigration in its bid to gain economic success for poor blacks. The crux of the plan is the creation of a business district -- dubbed African Town -- that would be funded in part with city money and made up of black-owned businesses catering to a black clientele.

The report also complains that immigrants from Mexico, Asia and the Middle East are stealing resources, jobs and other opportunities from blacks and calls on city leaders to stop the economic shift.

The report is authored by Claud Anderson:

...a former Detroiter who had unsuccessfully applied for a casino license. He is also the author of popular books about the economic state of blacks in the country.

On his web site's main page he outlines his philosophy: "Blacks are trapped in the lowest level of a real life Monopoly game. 'Powernomics' is a national plan to empower America's only non-immigrant underclass."

The Freep, again.

....Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick...vetoed efforts by the council in July to implement the plan, but last week the mayor met with (Anderson)...

Kilpatrick officials said they did not sign any agreements with Anderson, but they are working to help him find land for a business district. So far, they have been unsuccessful. A mayoral spokesman...said the administration is against the council's efforts to institutionalize a system that only helps blacks to the exclusion of other races. The council will find it difficult to implement its plan without the mayor's approval.

The....says inner cities should be improved for its residents, who should own and control the businesses in their neighborhoods. He calls on blacks to support black-owned businesses, in the same way he says other groups frequent stores owned by people of their own ethnicities.

The report also says integration has failed blacks and that regionalism is a bid by whites to control the city's resources. Anderson warns city leaders to beware of non-blacks moving into the city because they will have their own agendas.

Mmmm hmmm.

....The executive director of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a Boston-based nonprofit created by a Harvard University business professor, said the council is right to want to implement a plan to help blacks become entrepreneurs. But the director, Anne Habiby, said black-business ownership is not a panacea, especially if there are no plans in place to help the business owners succeed.....Habiby said Detroit has suffered so much population loss that its future success depends on more people moving into the city.

...seven of nine council members...voted in July to begin implementing parts of Anderson's plan, including a resolution that designates blacks, who make up 83 percent of Detroit's population, as the "majority minority" group and another that creates a development corporation that would operate as a loan fund exclusively for black entrepreneurs. The mayor vetoed both resolutions, but the same council members overrode the veto.

Councilwoman Cockrel, who supported the mayor's veto, said: "I'm not prepared to support an economic development strategy that has the unintended consequences of pitting people against each other. At the end of the day ... the plan ... advocates exclusionary classifications and illegal set-asides that only serve to divide and polarize within the city and the region. And we have plenty of that already."

The Free-Press also weighs in with this editorial.

Hat tip: Americans Against Discrimination and Preferences.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:38 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


September 21, 2004

Washington State Kids Who Kill

Teens keep committing murders here in Washington state, and news reports follow - in the usual piecemeal, value-neutral fashion. Occasionally, reporters may drill down into a particular case. Or not. Either way, there are precious few timely trend pieces, editorials or commentaries tying the cases together....investigating the histories of the families behind the young killers for common pathologies. I'd like to see this change.

Before I pick up my morning paper and read about the next teen killer from The Evergreen State.

Let's review some of the recent news.

There was a conviction last month in this case, and another defendant going to trial in October. The backstory: in the summer of '03, Jenson Hankins and Josh Goldman, two football players from Roosevelt High School, in a comfortable, North Side Seattle neighborhood, lured teammate John Jasmer to woods north of Seattle and - prosecutors alleged - hit Jasmer with a hammer, stabbed him and left him dead in a grave.

Hankins reportedly thought Jasmer had raped his girlfriend at a party. Goldman, described by his attorney as an immature video games buff, wanted to help his friend, and "right the injustice," though the girl later recanted her charges of rape, and Jasmer told police the sex was consensual (see following link).

Prior to the murder, there had been two calls to school officals (one from a parent, one from a school district administrator) warning of the possible crime. Talk had been going around. In late August of this year, Goldman pled guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, and now faces a likely sentence of 22 years. His attorney blames his immaturity, and video games.

Goldman "had a hard time understanding the reality of this," defense attorney Max Harrison said after the plea hearing. "I'm not blaming violent video games for this happening, but Josh played lots of video games. He's very immature for his age."

I'm no fan of video games. But the lawyer is disingenuous. It is parents that bear responsibility for what kids do. More on that from Ambra Nykol, here.

Goldman will testify against Hankins, who faces trial for murder in October.

Next, the two, then-12-year-olds from Eastern Washington, charged with killing a peer.

And then....

Jeremy Boone, a 16-year-old boy from south suburban Seattle (Sumner, Pierce County, a nice middle-class community in the shadow of Mount Rainier) confesses to shooting dead a 15-year-old friends's mom's ex-boyfriend, Larry Kloes, in northeast suburban Seattle, over his friend's beef with the well-intentioned surrogate father figure.

Boone is to be sentenced Oct. 21 and faces up to 40 years. He's to be tried as an adult, for first degree murder. His 15-year-old friend had lived with Kloes briefly, kept coming back to the vic's house and community to commit crimes, and didn't like it when Kloes reported him to police. Consequences. Not good.

Here's more on their relationship, one that seems to have arisen in part because the youth's father was long-gone.

Kloes' family said the victim, who once dated the boy's mother, tried to keep the boy occupied with positive activities to make sure he stayed out of trouble. They said Kloes even let the boy live with him for two weeks when he was 13. When Kloes told the boy that he and his friend could stay the night on May 2, he awoke early the next day to find they had loaded his laptop computer, guns, chain saw and motor oil into his sports car. (Snohomish County sherriff's detective George) Wilkins said Kloes found a steel floor-jack handle on the floor outside his bedroom.

"Mr. Kloes believed the metal bar was going to be used against him in his sleep," Wilkins testified. Wilkins said the boy apologized to Kloes, who reported the incident to police. Kloes also told police that in December 2002 the boy showed up at his house but left after Kloes called 911. About a week later Kloes told police the boy had stolen his car.

Boone said in court that the 15-year-old convinced him to join in the mayhem because Kloes "had a lot of stuff" and the kids could make "a lot of money," off it.

Unspoken here, but a glaring question, is that Kloes may have become a surrogate father figure - or something vaguely like that - because the 15-year-old's mother couldn't handle him, and "dad" was in absentia. It is the job of reporters and editors to explore this story further, and answer these questions.

The down-side of single-parenting is one of those often "untouchable" subjects, just like problems with day-care for younger kids, or teen girls who become mothers far too soon.

More alleged teen murderers in Washington State.....

....bail has been set at $200,000 for 16-year-old Robert Suarez of Benton City, accused of sponsoring 14-year-old Jordan Castillo in what was first described as a gang-initiation slaying of popular teacher and athletic coach Bob Mars in Kennewick.

The usual stuff from fazed relatives.

Suarez's mom: "This is not my son. I cannot believe that he did what they say he did." Saurez's 13-year-old sister: He's "not capable of anything like this."

Don't we all wish?

This report on the alleged murderers from Sunday's Tri-City Herald speaks of gang activity and fear in the streets, a far cry from this Seattle newspaper story the same day, attempting to minimize the gang connection, and warn against anti-Hispanic racial stereotyping among angry townsfolk.

I agree with the Seattle newspaper piece, at least in part. The race of the alleged perps makes no difference to me. It is their actions, and the role of their families in allowing them to develop into alleged murders, that concerns me. Simply writing it off as robbery-related as opposed to gang-related, and warning against bigotry, isn't enough.

I will eagerly await further Seattle media coverage on how and why these kids - assuming they really killed Mars - went wrong. And how it is their parents were so clueless.

As it happens, I've been reading a sobering call to arms by Robert Shaw, M.D., the director of the Family Institute of Berkeley, called, "The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children." It may not explain what happened in Benton City, but the author's got insights about violent and transgressive acts by today's teens.

Shaw is a former child psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, who trained residents in community psychiatry when he headed up the Family and Children's Mental Health Services for all of the South Bronx.

Shaw's drawn to the way kids are raised by their parents in the early years, because he's convinced there's a connection to the teen misanthropes who commit blatantly anti-social acts, extending to the murdering of classmates, teachers or other adults.

Shaw writes that when kids kill or otherwise screw-up big-time, we try to "normalize" such events by insisting "the perpetrator is a 'good boy,' 'bright,' 'well-behaved,' 'popular,' and certainly not capable of such an act....we try to legislate abberant behavior with metal detectors, guards, limitations, and regulation of well-adjusted students as well as the problem children....nail clippers or scissors tucked into your backpack can get you suspended in some districts....Our comfort and safety have been shattered, and we're trying to point the finger everywhere but at home. We are frightened of our children."

With Vietnam, racism, consumerism and stifling conformity much on his mind, Frank Zappa told a concert crowd at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Hollywood in the mid-60s, "if your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll kill you in your sleep." (12th down in this link, and originally on the gatefold of the double-album "Freak Out," by Zappa and the Mothers of Invention).

OK, he was exaggerating a bit back then, but today, even that grim forecast has been exceeded. Given enough rope by lame, fearful parents, kids will not only kill their families (Menendez Brothers, Atif Rafay of suburban Seattle); they'll also go after classmates, mom's ex, the coach and the teacher.

Shaw warns against trends we take for granted.

Communication and connection between parents and kids is key as kids reach middle- and high-school age, he argues.

...the door between the lives of parents and their children may slowly begin to shut as they grow more and more influenced by today's warp-speed world. As the child moves full-time into school, parents tend to move further out of the family as well...as for the children themselves, their activities increase in proportion with their age...it becomes quite possible to spend seriously little time with your children by the time they are ten or twelve...you may be in the stands during your child's...soccer game, but...it actually promotes far less communication than playing catch in the backyard....that parents feel comfortable dropping out of sight so soon is yet another product of our hands off child-rearing era.

Little things add up to big things. The idea of taking my kids to Disneyland for a vacation is utterly repulsive: such important, time-away-from-home bonds should be forged in natural environments, not a blaring, crass shrine to commercialism and consumerism.

What kind of vacations your family takes; where you put your television set in your home; whether you allow your kids handheld video games; how family arguments are settled, and concerns voiced; these are among the political acts inherent in parenting. Acts with real consequences, of one sort or another.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 02:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack



Of Condiments, and Meat

A saucy marketing ploy:

"You Don't Support Democrats. Why Should Your Ketchup?" That's the pitch from the hawkers of WKetchup. I might try some. Don't suppose it's organic, tho.

And something(s) to chew on:

Beginning with a rich New Yorker profile of the Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Whom, it should be noted, was using the word "scumbags" in a general - tho not very grammatical - sense.

Slant Point with a links-aplenty post on some new anti-Bush ads aimed at blacks, from The Media Fund - a group financed in part by former Clintonista Harold Ickes, and billionaire wingnut George Soros.

The ads allege Bush is toxic to blacks, and want to suppress black voter turnout.

Then, there's this, from the ChiTrib, on why blogs matter.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 08:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 20, 2004

Cafeteria Politics, Minnesota Style

Yes, the points below have been made before, but perhaps not forcefully enough. And yes, I do contribute to (and highly recommend) a national group blog called Red State, where - as it happens - Ds and other non-Republicans regularly come to offer comments and disagree.......and a civilized, edifying dialog occurs.

And so, with that out of the way, I heartily point you to this piece from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It's about how the Red State-Blue State divide may be overstated, or at least, how within any state's electorate - and more importantly - within any one person's political psyche, positions are often taken on an issue-by-issue basis, Rather than some crude party-line basis.

That's something for everyone to bear in mind, whether R, D, I, Libertarian, or free-love Socialist. (We had these in WA, BTW, in early 1900s, on Key Peninsula, in NW Pierce County, in a place now called Home. Seriously).

Anyhew, the Star-Tribune requires free registration, which I know, is a pain in the arse. But go on ahead. It's a good paper, and an antidote to "Inside The Beltway" and "Left Coast" insularity. Minnesotans are kinda unpredictable politically, and in a good way.

Here's a bit from the article:

The sisters look alike and work together at the Life Time Fitness Center in Coon Rapids. But they are divided -- like Minnesota and America -- in their presidential preferences. Crissy Hill, 25, admires President George W. Bush, wants him to finish the job in Iraq, and finds Sen. John Kerry "arrogant and unlikable." Big sister Mary Hill, 30, doesn't like the way the war is going and complains that Bush "can't even speak properly."

According to a fashionable view of America, the sisters should be at each other's throats. They should disagree about everything from tax cuts to gay rights. But that idea makes them laugh....Like the sisters, many Americans and Minnesotans have strong feelings about Bush. But on most subjects, we, like they, agree more than you may realize.

...In his recent book, "Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America," Stanford political scientist Morris P. Fiorina argued that the noise comes from a relatively small, politically obsessed slice of the population.

"The simple truth is that there is no culture war in the United States -- no battle for the soul of America rages, at least none that most Americans are aware of," Fiorina wrote. "Many of the activists in the political parties and the various cause groups do, in fact, hate each other and regard themselves as combatants in a war. But ... the bulk of the American citizenry is somewhat in the position of the unfortunate citizens of some third-world countries who try to stay out of the crossfire while Maoist guerrillas and right-wing death squads shoot at each other."

Read the whole thing...and let me know whatcha think. While you're registering for free access to the MST, sign up their free daily e-mail of the paper's highlights. Speaking as a former denizen of the Midwest (OK this is the Upper Midwest, I realize), a little middle-American perspective helps.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 06:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



CBS "Rathergate" Flap: The Unbearable Lightness of "Gotcha" Journalism

I'm a heretic. Though fairly appalled by the CBS "60 Minutes" document scandal, I've got to say this. Let's just assume, for the sake of discussion, that George W. Bush actually did get some favors done for him while serving in the Texas Air National Guard decades ago. That he was able to ease out of his duties there, to some extent, for at least a portion of his service term. Wouldn't surprise me much. You?

But, really, what in the world does that have to do with right now? And the pending presidential election? Judge the man by what he's done - and not done - as President. On whether you want him at the helm to battle terrorists, or John Kerry. On whether (assuming the President really has much influence here at all) you want him or Kerry trying to boost the economy. And so forth.

Yes, I've expressed concerns about John Kerry having negotiated with the North Vietnamese. To me, that's not trivial.

But the whole Swift Boat thing, and the hoo-ha about Kerry's medals?

WhatEVER, dude.

The media, political partisans - and frankly - an awful lot of bloggers - run a real risk in thinking most Americans want to drink scandal politics and "gotcha" journalism straight from the fire hose, like they do.

Christ Almighty...I'm so tired of all this crap......Must be because I'm not a Party Guy...but a cantankerous Independent instead. Or as I like to say to anyone in Seattle who won't snort coffee through their nose upon hearing this: I'm a "pro-choice, pro-transit, pro-density, pro-Bush, pro-democracy" iconoclast.

That big caveat out of the way....here's the latest on "Rathergate."

CBS says it was "deliberately misled" into using phony documents which cast doubts on President Bush's long-ago service in the Texas Air National Guard. The "mea culpa" story has hit the wires. The NYT reports - free reg. req.

That blame thing. CBS may have been misled, but it allowed that to happen.

On Sunday, Emily J. Will, a document specialist...inspected the records for CBS News and said last week that she had raised concerns about their authenticity with CBS News producers.....CBS News officials have disputed her contention that she warned the network the night before the initial `60 Minutes" report that it would face questions from documents experts.

OK, who do you believe?

Ms. Will is one of two documents experts consulted by the network who said they raised doubts about the material before the segment was broadcast. Another expert, Marcel B. Matley, said in interviews that he had vouched only for Colonel Killian's signatures on the records and not the authenticity of the records themselves. Mr. Matley said he could not rule out that the signatures had been cut and pasted from official records pertaining to Colonel Killian.

In examining where the network had gone wrong, officials at CBS News (are)turning their attention to Ms. (Mary) Mapes, one of their most respected producers, who was riding particularly high this year after breaking news about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal for the network.

In a telephone interview this weekend, Josh Howard, the executive producer of the "60 Minutes" Wednesday edition, said that he did not initially know who was Ms. Mapes' primary source for the documents but that he did not see any reason to doubt it. He said he believed Ms. Mapes and her team had appropriately answered all questions about the documents' authenticity and, he noted, no one seemed to be casting doubt upon the essential thrust of the report.

Yes and the "essential thrust of the report" is, as I've said above, utterly non-essential.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 01:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


September 19, 2004

Seattle Talk Jock Canned, Rather's Honor Upheld

(UPDATED 9/20/04)

Apparently, there are some things you just can't say on the radio, in Seattle.

About Dan Rather.

On a CBS radio affiliate.

Or else - you get fired.

Brian Maloney says CBS affiliate KIRO-AM in Seattle fired him Friday for saying Dan Rather of CBS-TV should retire or be retired for Rather's use of what are now widely regarded as false documents to air criticism of President Bush's service in the National Guard. For three years, Maloney hosted "The Brian Maloney Show" on KIRO-AM, one of Seattle's leading radio stations.

SEATTLE -- A radio talk-show host said Saturday he has been fired for criticizing CBS newsman Dan Rather's handling of challenges to the credibility of memos about President Bush's National Guard service.

"On the talk show that I host, or hosted, I said I felt Rather should either retire or be forced out over this," said Brian Maloney, whose weekly "The Brian Maloney Show" aired for three years on KIRO-AM Radio, a CBS affiliate here.

Maloney says he made that statement on his Sept. 12 program. He was fired five days later on Friday, he said.

"What they have expressed is essentially that my show went in a direction they're not comfortable with," Maloney said.

KIRO Radio's general manager, Ken Berry, declined to return a call from The Associated Press about Maloney's status. A staff member at the station said Berry would not comment because it is a personnel matter.

....Maloney said he felt free to comment on the controversy and on Rather.

"I really felt he was taking the network's credibility down with him," Maloney said in a telephone interview.

"Talk-show hosts have generally had a lot of independence in these kinds of issues," he said. "Nobody's ever said, 'You can't criticize CBS News.'"

KIRO Radio is affiliated with CBS but owned by Entercom, a national radio broadcasting company based in Bala Cynwyd, Penn.

Entercom certainly was happy to have the conservative Maloney on board, if this glowing and informative Maloney bio on KIRO-AM's Web site is any indication. Guess freedom of speech only goes so far.

The CBS Politbureau ought to rethink its priorities, and the network's crumbling image, which is worrying insiders. They should hire Maloney as a "60 Minutes" producer.

UPDATE: KIRO-AM station manager Ken Berry says it wasn't Maloney's Rather comments that got him fired. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Berry, unavailable for comment when reporters first called for reaction to Maloney's claims, now has come out of his shell to say:

"The primary reason Brian Maloney's show was canceled is because KIRO's broadcasts of the Seattle Seahawks football games significantly reduces our Sunday talk lineup, and we felt the remaining time slots would be better filled by other hosts."

Taken at face value this means Berry asserts Maloney was lying when he said, reagarding his recent on air-comments criticizing Rather, and his firing five days later:

"What they have expressed is essentially that my show went in a direction they're not comfortable with," Maloney said.

As for Berry's claim football games cut talk airtime on Sundays and the station thought the remaining non-football hours would be better filled by "other hosts," um, wasn't Maloney one of KIRO-AM's very few few conservative talk hosts? And, with him having just one show per week, wouldn't that have been worth preserving? Especially in the liberal monoculture that is Seattle?

Sorry, but Berry's lame CYA attempt to "walk it back" raises more questions than it answers.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack



Fetid Cloud of Failure Envelops Kerry

WaPo: Dem chances to retake the U.S. House - never great - are looking worse now, thanks to Kerry's "lackluster campaign performance over the last six weeks, numerous analysts say."

MSNBC reports, "Kerry Making Scant Progress in Crucial States." Mason-Dixon Polling and Research finds that in six key states that went for Bush in 2000 (AZ, MS, NV, NH, OH, WV) Bush leads in all but the last. And no one cares about Vietnam.

A Cleveland Plain-Dealer poll puts Bush up 8 in OH, two more than in May. The paper reports respondents say they trust Bush more on national security, but there's still plenty of time for Kerry to come back in OH. The PD says special interest GOTV efforts, the presidential debates, and perhaps events in Iraq could all benefit Kerry.

Charles Krauthamer says if the election were held today, Bush would win by 58 to 100 electoral votes. The reason? Kerry's muddled approach to the Iraq War - which is indeed "the central vulnerability of this president" and the "central issue of this campaign," according to Dr. K. But, "having taken every possible position on the war, there is nothing (Kerry) can say that is even remotely credible," Krauthamer asserts.

Here's a shocker: "Kerry Finds Friend In Union". The SEIU will spend $65 million in FL targeting low-turnout minorities.

OK fine, but how about this? From the Chicago Tribune:

Kerry, appearing at a Democratic fundraiser in Boston on Saturday evening, sought to calm fears among some Democrats that the Bush campaign had gained momentum, reminding them of his history as a comeback candidate--particularly in his 1996 run for the Senate against then-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

"We're in a fighting mood," Kerry said. "When I get in a fighting mood at the end of September and the beginning of October, you know what happens in Massachusetts."

In Massachusetts. JFK: Even Dukakis carried Massachusetts. In case you forgot, the election's in 49 other states, too.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 16, 2004

Latest Blow to Kerry: Illinois

Just recently, I took a look at state and national polls highlighting John Kerry's failure to connect with voters, including in some key swing states he must win to get elected president.

Now, more sobering news for the Kerry camp. Three months ago, the respected independent polling firm SurveyUSA reported a 13-point lead for John Kerry over George Bush, among likely voters in Illinois. So confident has the Kerry camp been of taking Illinois, they hadn't even sent yard signs out there yet, as of yesterday, according to WBBM-TV in Chicago.

In a new poll of 618 likely Illinois voters conducted Sept. 12-14, Kerry's lead has slipped to just four points, within the poll's margin of error. All the more remarkable given Illinois' reputation and record as Democratic stronghold.

The poll, conducted for WBBM, and KSDK-TV in St. Louis (just across the Mississippi River from southwestern Illinois), reports Kerry's 10-point lead among males has turned to a 10-point lead for Bush, among males; that Kerry's 15-point lead in voter rich, politically crucial suburban Cook County has turned into a 5-point lead there for Bush; that Kerry's 11-point lead among military households in Illinois has now shifted to a 1-point Bush lead; that Bush's 2-point lead among whites is now 10; and his 6-point lead downstate now 12.

In other words, it is only the Democratic bastion of the City of Chicago, peopled by "progressive" liberals and the cowed subjects of King Richard II (M.) Daley's modern-day patronage overlords, that is keeping Kerry afloat in Illinois.

I grew up in Chicago, began my professional journalism career there, and know how these guys operate. I helped document the Chicago Democratic Machine's corruption while working for a good government non-profit, worked against them to help elect an independent alderman to the City Council, and years later as a newspaper reporter, had a chance to observe up-close the Machine's vice grip on the political process in the city, many suburbs, and the state capital. Daley II is much smoother than his father, more "inclusive" and politically correct, and has had plants, flowers, and paths installed all over the city. But in the end - same sheep, different coat.

Bottom line: if Kerry can't carry Demo-friendly suburban Cook County, which surrounds Chicago, he really is sunk.

WBBM-TV says the Kerry-49/Bush-45 numbers now may amount to a "virtual dead heat."

The presidential election is just 48 days away now, and according to an exclusive new poll of Illinois voters, George W. Bush and John Kerry could be in a virtual dead heat.

The turn in this election tide could set up a political stunner. Illinois is a Democratic powerhouse in national elections, and John Kerry does maintain a small lead in our exclusive CBS 2 poll, but President Bush appears to be gaining support among voters.

Illinois no longer looks like a sure thing for Democrat John Kerry. His once 13 percentage point lead is now down to four points. That's exactly our survey's margin of accuracy, meaning the contest could be a dead-heat.

There are signs galore at a Republican office in New Trier Township. Workers say they're sensing a new enthusiasm for the Bush-Cheney ticket in an area with lots of swing voters -- swing voters who've chosen more and more Democrats in recent years. Some top Republicans still fear Bush could lose these voters, but others are expressing new confidence.

“I'm convinced he's gonna win Illinois. I really believe that. And I know that's a frightful prospect for the Democrats, but just look at the numbers,” said GOP Committeeman T. Tolbert Chisum....

“Well, I don't think there are any surprises here in truth, because you have the cumulative impact of being off the air for five weeks, during which time the Kerry campaign was bombarded by the negative ads from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who were not telling the truth,” said Avis Lavelle with the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

No surprises? Hardly. WBBM-TV reports:

Our survey may mean the Kerry Campaign will no longer be quite so confident here. They haven't even sent any yard signs or bumper stickers to Illinois.

James Carville, and the badly-disintegrating National Guard documents meme aren't gonna do it for Kerry. Memo to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe: bet you haven't shown off your Bush doormat on camera lately, have you?

Genius.

Hat tip to Steve Antler at EconoPundit.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 11:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack



Conservatives Debate Tonight on KCTS

Seattle-area television viewers should make sure to tune in tonight to "KCTS Connects," the fine local public affairs show hosted by Enrique Cerna on public television. Tonight's episode includes a debate between two prominent, locally-based conservatives, on whether conservatism in the U.S. has gone off the deep-end into extremism.

Arguing "Yes" will be my friend, the scholar and gentleman, Philip Gold. Arguing "No," will be my friend, the scholar and gentleman, James. J. Na. A focal point for the debate will be Gold's new book, "Take Back the Right: How The Neocons and Religious Right Have Betrayed The Conservative Movement." Expect some strong arguments from Gold, and forceful counterpoints from the spunky Na.

In the above link, you'll find additional links to Gold's book, and Na's blog, Guns and Butter (also listed here on my blogroll, under "Northwest/West).

Please note the show opens with segments on Tuesday's primary election results in Washington, and November's Initiative 872, which attempts to re-establish the recently-discarded "blanket primary" and insitutute a controversial "Cajun-primary" style "top two" provision.

It appears the Gold/Na segment comes after that, but I'd suggest tuning in from the start, as the whole show is certain to be quite informative. It will be re-broadcast on Sunday, at noon.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


September 15, 2004

Campaign Hit Pieces at The Multi-Plex

Anti-Bush popular films are certainly permitted free speeech, but they're also a form of political advertising and should be subject to federal campaign spending disclosure law, argues regular San Francisco Chronicle online columnist Jennifer Nelson.

In "Political Ads Get a Hollywood Disguise," Nelson writes:

Hollywood is in the midst of an anti-George W. Bush feeding frenzy....the industry...is up in arms about the chance that President Bush might be re-elected.

In an unprecedented campaign tactic, the entertainment industry has financed and released a handful of films designed to influence the voters' decision on November 2: Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"; John Sayles' upcoming "Silver City"; "Bush's Brain," a documentary on Bush strategist Karl Rove; George Butler's ("Pumping Iron") pro-Kerry documentary "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry"; and Robert Greenwald's "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" and "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism."

At what point will these films be considered political advertising?

The films are not simply works of art by writers and actors making a statement about current events. The people associated with the films are very open about the fact that their intent is to influence the election-just like many other public-interest groups in the nation....campaign finance lawyer Tom Hiltachk...says ...New federal guidelines require a content-based analysis of ads. "Timing, intent and content all come in play," says Hiltachk.

This past weekend, "Silver City," a new movie by writer/director John Sayles had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. It opens in the United States on Sept. 17, in hopes of influencing American voters. "Silver City" is a murder mystery whose main character, Dickie Pilager, is a conservative gubernatorial candidate in Colorado.

Sayles told the BBC, "Dickie Pilager is based on George W. Bush when he was running for governor of Texas." Like Bush, Pilager's father is a politician and a Christian, and according to Sayles, he's "grammatically challenged." Sayles has said that he wrote the script last year in two short weeks out of his anger toward Bush.

"I really feel like an awful lot has gone on that is nondemocratic," he told Canada's Globe and Mail. "I've been surprised at how rarely I've heard the word 'war profiteer' in conjunction with what's going on."

Sayles hired actors who shared his anger with Bush. Actress Maria Bello told Entertainment Weekly magazine, "I'd be happy to be part of any film that helps get George Bush out of office."

Sayles isn't just releasing a satire film designed to make the president look bad. He's actively working with anti-Bush groups to promote the film and influence voters in swing states in the crucial weeks before the election.

According to the Canadian Times, Sayles and his organization are working with anti-Bush groups to publicize the film and hopes that MoveOn.org, the anti-Bush group funded by billionaire George Soros, will promote the film. Further, Sayles has told the media that he intends to delay the movie's release in the swing state of Ohio until October and participate in a swing-state bus tour to college campuses.

If a film goes beyond "issues," to impugn a candidate's character as an election draws near, and as the director and actors baldly profess their intent to use the film to affect a specific election, can we then at least be allowed to know the individuals, organizations and amounts involved, via public records? I would hope so. Unlikely this would happen before November, though. At least after the election, Congress could clarify or strengthen McCain-Feingold in this respect, over the predictable cries of Orwellian doom from Hollywood and The Left.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 05:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


September 14, 2004

Kerry's Boat Sinking?

New Jersey was supposed to be solidy in the Kerry column. But it may not be, according to the Philly Inquirer.

...winning Democrat-friendly New Jersey in November appears increasingly uncertain as Kerry's late-summer swoon has clouded his prospects in a must-win state...The 20 percentage-point lead that Kerry had amassed...at the end of July virtually evaporated, with Bush trailing by only 4 percentage points in the latest Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers Poll.

Many remain dubious that Bush will collect New Jersey's 15 electoral votes...But keeping the state in play would signal serious problems for the Kerry campaign.

"If John Kerry is fighting for his life in a Democratic state, he can't win the election," said Stuart Rothenberg, a Washington political analyst. "John Kerry needs to win New Jersey, no ifs, ands or buts, and he needs to win it comfortably."

Most striking about the latest poll is that voters indicated they were not shifting from Kerry to undecided - a typical reaction during the ups and downs of a long campaign - but were falling into the Bush camp. The erosion of Kerry support was broad, crossing demographic lines to include independents, who make up the majority of New Jersey voters, and core Democratic constituencies such as women.

...The pool suggested that among New Jersey voters, as with those across the nation, the Republican convention in New York had a devastating effect on Kerry.

Hmmmn. (Puget Sound blogger Jim Miller was on to Bush's possibilities in New Jersey, way back in April).

Additional reports, from other states that are considered far more "in play" than Jersey.

"Kerry Stumbles in Key States as Bush Widens Lead in Polls," reports the achingly liberal Guardian (UK). The paper cites a Time Magazine poll that has Bush up 52-41 over Kerry in a three-way national poll (including Ralph Nader).

More here from CNN.com on the Time poll, in "Bush Bounce Persists."

The Guardian notes Virginia, Arizona and Missouri were thought to be in reach for Kerry, but less so now; and that whoever gets two out of three of the key battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, will win. Bush ahead in all three, according to recent polls, says The Guardian - tho PA, especially, is disputed, according to other sources.

Associated Press reports polls show Bush is starting to pull ahead of Kerry in Missourri, Wisconsin and Ohio; and that in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other former Gore (2000) states, less-than-hoped-for black voter support is a factor.

And David Shribman warns the hate-Bush Left could actually end up throwing the election to Bush.

If so, polemicists such as this Bush conspiracy theorist writing in The Nation, will want to ask what else they could have written, and where?

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



The Care and Feeding of Angry Americans

There's not enough media coverage of the anger against President George Bush on the home front, observes writer Siri Hustvedt. She's a Minnesotan who penned The Blindfold, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, and What I Loved.

In The Guardian's epic-length survey of writers greatly disturbed by the Bush Presidency, she says:

There's an underestimation by the media of the anger against Bush. It's not only among liberals, but also among ordinary people who feel betrayed about the war, who feel angry about ordinary life, about how hard people have to work.

I have to agree. Imagine that during the Clinton years, as critics on the right became more vocal and – admit it – shrill, a well-known writer had authored a novel, for a major publisher, about someone contemplating the assassination of the President.

You can bet the nabobs of news would have been all over it: NYT, WaPo, L.A. Times, and dozens more major metro dailies; plus leading magazines.

Now let’s flash forward to the present. First, you may recall Nicholson Baker, who authored “Vox,” the book about phone sex that Monica Lewinsky gave to Clinton as their tawdry affair evolved. Now, Baker has upped the ante from phone sex to fictional high treason – oops – I mean a daringly original fulmination on fighting the evil that is Bush.

Baker’s recently-released “Checkpoint” (Knopf), a 115-page novella about two friends discussing the killing of Bush to sate one’s anti-Bush rage, is getting scant press.

A Google News search for “Checkpoint” AND “Bush” AND “assassination” shows the meager and often critical newspaper coverage of “Checkpoint” such as:

the Palm Beach Post;

an AP story picked up by the Indy Star;

and a piece in the redoubtable Tufts (University) Daily.

The lap dog media again under-estimates the anti-Bush rage sweeping the land.

Hell, I've done my part covering fear and loathing of Bush, here.

Plus here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Phew, now I need a Gatorade.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


September 13, 2004

Gaming the Washington Primary

Volunteers at polling places have been warned to brace themselves for nastiness tommorow, from Washington voters incensed they now must choose a Republican or Democratic ballot in the primary. We're not that kind of state, see - we want to "vote for the person, not the party."

Myself, I had my revenge, quietly and effectively, filling out my absentee ballot, which I have mailed in. I wouldn't call it revenge, actually, just common sense.

One of my top priority races is for Washington Governor: I support Republican Dino Rossi. But he has no significant opposition in the primary, and I'd like him to face the less-electable Democratic contender in November's general election.

So for the purposes of this primary, I declared myself a Democrat and voted for the Che Guevara candidate, Ron Sims, for Governor. State party officials who pushed for the new primary system should be aware I'm probably far from the only voter subverting the anticipated paradigm in the primary.

Like many voters, I may identify more often with one party (in my case now, Republican), but don't want to be put in a box, by party label. A further example, in my case, is that in November, I might very well vote for Democrat Mark Sidran for Attorney General, IF he beats his primary opponent, Deborah Senn. I just voted for Sidran in the primary - the conservative Democrat is someone I''ve had a chance to watch over the years in the Seattle political arena, and admire greatly.

Sages and seers will be watching closely the turnout in this primary to divine whether the mandatory party declaration dampens participation. A significant amount of ballot spoilage, stemming from confusion, could occur, as well.

A November ballot measure sponsored by the Washington Grange, Initiative 872, would restore the blanket primary AND stipulate the top two primary voter-getters for any office advance to the general election, regardless of political party.

I'm for the first part; not so much the second, but even that doesn't faze me too much. If such a system were already in place, you'd probably still end up with a D and an R squaring off in the general, for most major statewide offices.

And in one-party locales like Seattle, primary and general election campaigns for the state legislature could be greatly invigorated with the "top two go forward" approach. Imagine having a more conservative Democratic challenger going up against Seattle liberal D legislators for life! In the general! Scary, scary, to the Ds, I know. The Rs have their own reasons for hating all this, too.

I-872 could pass, fueled by voter resentment. If it does, the expected legal challenge by the state's parties will only alienate voters further, and ultimately discourage participation in the political process. Which is maybe what the parties here really want, in the end. Sad to say.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


September 12, 2004

Son's a Pimp, Daughter's a 'Ho' - OK?

Those of us around in the bell-bottom era may recall so-called "Blaxploitation" flix like "Superfly" and "Sweet Sweetback's Baaadass Song." Yet my fave "black" flick of yore was of another sort - the race-relations comedy titled "Watermelon Man," starrring black actor Godfrey Cambridge in whiteface. Directed by "Sweet Sweetback" honcho Melvin Van Peebles, it was the 56th most popular film of 1970. I remember seeing it with my dad (I was 12 then) in downtown Chicago, and my mind got expanded, sans drugs.

In the flick, Cambridge's character somehow "turns" black, and is so horrified, he starts taking milk baths to regain his whiteness. Even as white chicks in his office start coming on to him big-time, with all the usual sexual steroetypes regarding black men. His wife gets all hinkty, too. He finally becomes an angry, and very lonely black militant. Made me sad.

But it hangs with me, like the great anti-ad agency black comedy, "Putney Swope." Both had far greater heft than another funky comedy of the same era, the "Groove Tube, despite that being Chevy Chase's debut vehicle.

Other furry signs of the times: four-inch platform heels in clear acrylic, filled with live, swimming goldfish, as showcased by Pittsburgh Steelers running back John "Frenchy" Fuqua.

And he could really carry the ball. Wearing cleats.

Yes, outre pop culture had its moment back then....

And now for a re-run (forget the raves, MDA, and poppers): self-referential boomer parents are going beyond the pale.....costuming their kids in 70s Pimp 'n Ho regalia.

Sorry, but I gotta wonder....

This site has a "child pimp costume," a "child pimp suit costume," a "child long pimp daddy suit costume," a "child zebra pimp suit costume," and finally, for all you so-with-it parents of young girls needing the latest, greatest, post-moral Halloweeen accoutrements, a "child Ho costume."

"Ho," as in "whore." As in prostitute. Ah well, there's a rich narrative history relating to child whores, right? Brooke Shields and Susan Sarandon brought Louis Malle's story of a New Orleans child strumpet alive in "Pretty Baby"....

So why not costumed pre-pubescent Pimps and Hos today?

No biggie. As any truly discursive Ivy League prof of cultural or "textual" studies might note: If a young veteran named John Kerry could negotiate with the North Vietnamese Communists, purportedly on behalf of the U.S., and still now be regarded as a patriot, why today can't young girls wear "whore" get-up without anyone "passing judgement."

We don't "do" judgement anymore. It's so Bush-ite; so fundamentalist; so unsophisticated, so Ugly-American. We're trying to get away from all that.

Modern solons are all about turning the other, hind, cheek. For a good, hard drilling. James Carville, meet the French Islamicists.

And remember, companeros! There's a class war going on in America!

Because of Bush's tax breaks for the evil rich; lower- and middle-income families are unfairly excluded from purchasing "whore" costumes for their daughters and "pimp" outfits for their sons.

When, truly, will no child be left behind?

UPDATE: Steven Antler, at the excellent EconoPundit blog, has linked to this item, but correctly points out that "Watermelon Man" and "Putney Swope" are several cuts above "Blaxploitation" flix and should not be labelled as such. I meant to convey that, but didn't fully, and so have slightly tweaked the text above. Thanks, Steve.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 07:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


September 11, 2004

Asleep at The Wheel, Momentarily

I'm pretty sure I'm honored to find out that Rosenblog is on Pajama Pundit's blogroll under "The Narcoleptic Right." Sure, that sounds a bit perjorative. But narcolepsy is "brief attacks of deep sleep." I believe CEOs, politicians, and others subscribing to the ethos of self-determination would say that in fact, sleep most often can hardly be said to "attack."

Rather, like so much else in life, sleep is something one chooses to embrace. Or not. "Power naps," for instance, indicate powers of concentration, and mastery of life's pressures and confabulations.

And yes, PP has another blogroll category for "The Insomniac Left." Somehow that fits. They sure need to burn the Midnight Oil these days, huh?

Anyhew, cruise the site and see what you think. The focus is politics, and I find it pretty lively, refreshing, and even-handed. Both in the blogroll, and the well-written content. There's something to make everyone a bit mad and a bit happy.

Now, PP, we need an "About Me" to let us know more about you. Unless I missed it.

I'm going to add Pajama Pundit to my blogroll. FYI, I recently added La Shawn Barber's excellent blog (also blogrolled at PP); you'll see it here under "Fish," as in Big Fish, and under "Black." The double-listing is intentional; I've done this with a few other black bloggers, mainly some in Puget Sound, whom I believe should be listed under Northwest/West and Black.

After serious consideration, and ongoing input from black respondents to Rosenblog, especially on the infamous 5/23/04 Cosby string, I feel real comfortable with "Black," because many blacks object, validly, to "African-American."

And BTW, the list of black conservative bloggers (only partially reflected in my blogroll) keeps growing, including an almost equal proportion of women to men.

All quite interesting. But not surprising.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 07:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Anti-Senn Ad Pulled

...story here. Smart move.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



This Just In....

Via my favorite gay conservative from Texas, Paul, at Right Side Of The Rainbow......

Dan Rather's replacement.......

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


September 10, 2004

Stomp This, Bubba Lou!

After a hard day of freelance journalizing (interviews, research, more assignments, deadlines looming....aaargh, I love it!); plus Thai basil-chicken-veggie green curry-making for lunch; picking up #1 offspring at school; snacktime with both kids at a local coffeehouse; then back home to "briefly" edit blog (obsessive-compulsive disorder); and finally a frenetic ethnic shopping excursion in Burien for dinner......before still more paid work, blogging and charring of tasty animal flesh over fire......

...There's nothing like getting to some open space and smacking down hard on a STOMP ROCKET.

Thanks to grandparents B&C from Max and our whole family for this great birthday gift. We went to the park and stomped up (er, down) a storm, before the, ah, storm. And wowiezowie, those babies DO fly.

You can build your own stomp rocket....and record the results all scientific-like, if you want. But I say, just buy the turnkey version (first link above).

In a world where we surrender more and more control daily, it's hard to top propelling a mini-rocket into the stratosphere (well, almost) with a well-placed stomp.

What you want to happen, happens -- and it is most pleasing to behold.

(P.S. Hat tip also to GPs MnM for Max's classy shirt and sweater, and model kit -- you're wunnerful, wunnerful).

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Blinded By Bile

An independent political group called the Voter Education Committee, which includes the attorney for Washington state's GOP and two officials of the prominent state business group United For Washington, today finally agreed to list the donors behind their TV attack ads directed at Democratic candidate for Attorney General Deborah Senn. But in the numerous articles about the donor disclosure kerfuffle, there's been scant discussion of the real issue: the GOP- and business-connected independent committee's fixation on paying back Senn for her combative, regulation-heavy reign as State Insurance Commissioner is plain dumb politics.

It's simple. Senn's Democratic primary opponent, former Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran, who almost won election as Seattle mayor, is the kind of Democrat even Republicans can love. I should know, I've voted for him myself, and am tempted to choose a Democratic ballot in our state's new strait jacket primary system just to help him out (that way I could also cast a vote for Ron Sims in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, who'd be much more likely to lose against Republican Dino Rossi than the other Democrat, establishment mannequin Christine Gregoire).

Sidran is smart, politically incorrect, big on law and order, and in his mayoral run against victor Greg Nickels, he articulated beautifully the dangers of Seattle's myopic, insular liberalism.

True, getting tough on pissing, drunk or drugged vagrants isn't an issue for the Attorney General, nor is Seattle's socio-political personality. But Sidran is a well-respected politician and experienced public sector attorney; while attorney Senn is widely and correctly perceived as a faux-populist, grandstanding, shrill, self-interested party hack. (I've seen her speak, and I'm sorry friends, she IS shrill, and not because she's female...she's just about the most off-puttting public official I've ever heard utter a word).

By aiming to take out Senn in the primary with a $600,000 barrage of "informational" ads, one of which has now been deemed by the state disclosure commission as an assault on Senn's character, the GOP- and business-tied independent committee is helping Sidran.

Sidran is likely to have far broader appeal statewide than Senn, especially after several years of nasty headlines (here's one example) Senn earned as Insurance Commissioner.

At this juncture, Sidran, despite having less statewide name recognition than Senn, may well be a better bet to defeat whichever Republican wins that party's primary for AG (King County Council Member Rob McKenna, or lawyer Mike Vaska). A Columbian editorial last month noted a recent Evans-McDonough poll showed Sidran ahead of Senn in the Demo primary by several points and many voters undecided. Sidran hasn't worn out his welcome with statewide voters. Senn, who despite her state officeholder past, lost in the 2000 Democratic primary for U.S. Senator to Puget Sounder Maria Cantwell, quite possibly has.

Memo to the Voter Education Committee: payback's nice, fellahs, but beware of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Senn is probably just the sort of "damaged goods" candidate you actually want to see up against Republican McKenna or Vaska, the more electable Sidran isn't. Save your "informational" hit pieces against Senn for post-primary, if necessary. Assuming, that is, you really want a Republican for AG.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 02:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


September 09, 2004

A Warning Against Bush's "Theocratic Facism" From Seattle's Stranger

In Seattle's bleeding-edge alternative weekly, The Stranger, liberal pundit Neal Pollack vents his spleen at fellow Dems for not playing tuff enuf against Bush-ite manipulators capitalizing on the dismaying stupidity of the American electorate.

A note to the leadership of the Democratic Party: Wake the f*** up, you pathetic wuss-bags! They're kicking your ass!

Pollack is worried. Seems his wife's friend's aunt heard a snarky GOP rumor that:

....John Kerry killed babies and raped women in Vietnam.

Outstanding use of sources, Neal! There goes that venal Karl Rove, once again!

Alternatively....great post-ironic bogus simile, Neal, exposing (in an unnervingly sophisticated manner perhaps not immediately clear to lumpenprole conservatives) the vicious extremes of the brutal Republican Lie Machine!

Pollack's call to arms goes on:

Americans may well be 'good, hard-working people,' as the Democrats claim, but they're also 'easily manipulated farm animals.' Democrats! In the name of God, attack! Here's what you need to say: Thousands of people are dead because of Bush! Bush is a traitor to America! And so are his supporters!

Attack! Attack! Attack!

....Attack! Get dirty! Dick Cheney (obscene sexual reference) in hell!

Senator Kerry, you are all that stands between us and the (?) theocratic fascism. I don't care if it diminishes you. You have to stoop to their level. You HAVE to f****** win. You HAVE to. Do you understand? Attack!

Attack!

Attack!

ATTACK!

Yes. Please. Put this guy in charge of the anti-Bush "attack" message.

Cross-posted at Red State.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 07:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack



WaPo/ABC News Poll: Bush Surging

National voter polls on the presidential race mean a lot less than the state-by-state polls and corrollary results, because state totals determine electoral votes and thus victory or defeat. And as it happens, Bush is pulling ahead in Ohio and Missouri, two key battleground states that will help determine the electoral college outcome, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll.

Some more interesting stuff in this latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, showing that post-GOP convention, Bush is surging forward, as far as national popular vote intentions, presently capturing the public's trust as the candidate most fit to be chief executive for the next four years. Popular vote will matter to some extent if Bush narrowly wins the electoral college tally.Then, the greater his margin of victory in the popular vote, the stronger his mandate to govern decisively, as he has so far, especially with respect to Iraq and national security.

The WaPo/ABC News poll shows Bush ahead 52-43 percent over Kerry among likely voters, and 50-44 among all registered voters.

In battleground states, where, The WaPo says, the election will be decided, Bush leads Kerry 50-46 among likely voters, but there's an even split between the two among all registered voters in those key states.

Message to urban Dems: turn-out. Turnout. Something not wisely conflated with preach-to-the-choir "non-partisan" anti-war poetry projects; and anti-Bush bowling excursions, rock concerts, or sculpture.

Is Kerry as tone-deaf as his self-affirming supporters? Quite possibly. The WSJ's Brendan Miniter explains why "Bush Will Bury Kerry."

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 03:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Sonny Bono Was Right

Great column by Froma Harrop here on illegal immigration. And she takes Bush to task.

Illegal immigration aggravates Americans across the political spectrum, yet Republicans can't get an honest discussion going on an issue that should belong to them. Democrats wink at illegal immigration because it brings new voters into their ranks. Bush and other Republicans are now accepting it as a source of cheap labor.

Many in the so-called liberal media no longer bother to even distinguish between legal and illegal in their coverage of immigration. And President Bush seems to have joined them.

...Matthew Reindl, whose family owns a carpentry shop on Long Island...said most of his employees are legal immigrants "from almost every nationality you can think of." But when it comes to pricing jobs, his legal immigrants can't compete with his rivals' illegal immigrants.

Reindl noted that he provides his workers with good wages, health insurance and workers' comp coverage. His lawbreaking competitors do none of these things. As a result, his labor costs are at least 60 percent higher than theirs.

Michael Cutler was a senior special agent for the Immigration and Naturalization Service....he contends that the blatant flouting of the nation's immigration laws greases the skids for terrorists. For one thing, the presence of so many illegal immigrants has created a brisk business for mail drops, fake documents and other tools designed to fool law enforcement. Terrorists also use these services to cover their tracks.

Cutler sees local governments and employers complicit in the game of fudging identities. Most scandalous is their growing acceptance of identification cards issued by foreign authorities.

As in Seattle.

Like the late Sonny Bono said, the thing about illegal immigrants is that they're...... illegal.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 08, 2004

WMD Shell Game, Part Two

So where'd those WMDs go anyway? A United Nations report dated May 28, 2004 - which I covered here - said some Iraqi WMD-related materials were turning up in European scrapyards. Big media ignored the story; a few bloggers didn't. In June I wrote:

Highlights from the report by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) include discovery in a Rotterdam scrapyard of a radioactive, UN-tagged Iraqi surface-to-air missile engine; more Iraqi surface-to-air missile engines in a Netherlands scrapyard; and satellite photo evidence showing major alterations to known Iraqi weapons sites.

Now, more evidence from the UN that WMD-capable Iraqi materials were shipped out of the country, and a smattering of news coverage, at least. CNN reports today that:

Iraq has exported about 130,000 tons of scrap metal to Jordanian trading companies following the U.S.-led invasion, including SA-2 missile engines and equipment that could have been used to make banned weapons, according to U.N. weapons inspectors.

...The inspectors, who left Iraq before the fighting began in March 2003, said they are concerned that several sites in Iraq, where weapons of mass destruction could have been produced, have been plundered. Using satellite imagery, they also have determined that some sites were razed.

...Scrap company managers estimated that between June 2003 and June 2004, 130,000 tons of Iraqi scrap metal passed through Jordan's largest free trade zone. Iraq also exported scrap metal to other bordering nations, as well as to Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Among the items discovered at the Jordanian scrap yards were 20 SA-2 missile engines, a solid propellant mixing vessel tagged by UNMOVIC during its 2002-2003 inspection activities in Iraq, parts of an SA-2 air frame and booster and four chemical-related vessels tagged as dual-use items -- for legitimate civilian or illicit military use.

The report includes the caveat that UN inspectors aren't sure that such materials would have been used for purposes banned under the UN's governing agreement with Saddam to rid Iraq of WMDs and adhere to an open inspections process.

Yet, given Saddam's past record of using WMDs, and his continued defiance of the UN inspections process, was the U.S. not indeed correct in deducing that necessary assurances of compliance were not only lacking, but likely to remain lacking?

And knowing of Saddam's payments to, and provision of safe harbor for terrorists, should we or should we not have regarded his evasions on WMDs as a vital national security concern in a post 9/11 world? Did Bush "lie?" Or rather, did he simply have the cojones to do what a skittish "international community," eager to obscure America's undeniable geo-political primacy, could not?

The answers are becoming increasingly clear, and none bode well for the (Blame America First and Always) Left, or John Kerry.

Today's news on the UN findings don't belong in a skinny column on Page A10 of the newspaper, foreign editors. It belongs on the front page, in a comprehensive report linking the May 28 UNMOVIC report to the new one, with a recap of all other post-invasion reports of WMDs in, or leaving, Iraq. After all the screaming front-page stories about "No WMDs," honest journalism demands no less.

I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



New Adds to Blogroll

Regular Rosenblog participant Jeff Brazill, a Virginia-based computer programmer, has started his own blog, called Au fait. It's a good provacative read. Go on over, take a look, and add some comments to some of his posts.

And other bloggers, if you think his site is worthy, give Jeff's blog, Au fait, a blogroll link, OK? We need to be encouraging "underbloggers," those less well-known, especially when they're just starting out. You'll note that in my blogroll (down a bit, on the right), the section labelled "Fowl" is devoted to lesser-known but (in my view) good sites. "Fish" are the Big Dawgs, or actually Big Fish, if that makes any sense; and then of course, there are other blogs and sites listed by special categories.

Jeff is also open to comments and suggestions from experienced bloggers about the look and feel of his site.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Jeff! Keep feeding the beast.

Another site new to my blogroll is Steven Antler's Econopundit, a daily must-read that I am remiss not to have linked to already.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 07, 2004

T-Shirt of the Month

Returning home today to the beautiful People's Republic of Seattle from The State of Jefferson (via Corvallis), our family took a little side trip up Washington Route 503, from I-5 to a hilly, blink-and-miss-it spot called Cougar, near the mighty Lewis River and the south flank of Mount St. Helens. Then, loading up on cashews and cranberry juice in the Cougar Store before some sweet hang time on the beach at Yale Lake, I saw it.

A T-shirt bearing the following message: "I live in a small drinking town with a fishing problem."

Sorry, but I just had to share.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Bush Bounces Back; Kerry Falls Flat

Today in Corvallis, Oregon, I learned why Bush will beat Kerry.

My sophisticated method of divination was as follows. On the last leg of our family's return to Seattle from yet another nearly-two-week escapade in and around Mount Shasta, CA, we spent a night in Corvallis. For the third time in two summers, actually. It's a nice place just about 10 miles off I-5 with a great city park, walking/cycling path and marvellously fun, kid-friendly bathing fountain; all co-joined along the tree-dappled banks of the Willamette River. Another highlight is the attractive, walkable downtown, with a great bookstore called the Book Bin.

And it was there, at the end of an exceedingly pleasant 45-minute family visit, that at the cashier's counter I came across Rocket USA's "Battling Bush" and "Knockout Kerry" seven-inch bop bags. Inflatable novelty items, I guess you'd call them. Each sports a cartoony, but well-done picture of the candidate in boxing trunks, gloves raised, ready to pugilize.

And here's the damn thing, OK? I flicked "Knockout Kerry" back on his heels...and....he didn't bounce back up. He just lay there, flat on his back. I did the same to "Battling Bush" and he sprang right back.

I'm NOT making this up. And mind you, this is in an exceedingly liberal college burg (home to the Oregon State U. Beavers). Another bookstore features Al Franken and Michael Moore tomes in window displays, albeit at 25 percent off. A video emporium sports screaming posters for Moore's latest mockumentary. Pasty locals in pseudo-gypsy garb ride unicycles; two-thirds of the women wear no make-up; and half the men wear blue socks with brown sandals. Kerry-Edwards stickers are everywhere - they'll probably carry Corvallis by at least 4-to-1.

It's unlikely a Rove-wired Bushie at the Book Bin even exists, much less had anything to do with "Knockout Kerry's" damning flaccidity. Having given it a good follow-up grope (my apologies to the formerly-Republican African-American ketchup heiress with five homes who enjoys all those Bush tax cuts for the rich) I can definitively report that the Kerry bop bag wasn't under-inflated.

Even though the candidate himself is over-inflated.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


September 05, 2004

Columbian: Dems Slime Rossi

In a Sunday editorial notable for its even-handed criticism of both political parties, the (WA) Vancouver Columbian takes Republicans to task for distortions in an attack ad on U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, and lays into Washington Democrats for a hit piece on Washington GOP gubernatorial nominee-to-be Dino Rossi.

As if the dissing and distortion of political candidates on the national level wasn't enough to make the partisan-weary citizen want to hibernate until Nov. 2, the state has entered a season of slime now, too....In one of the worst political pranks of the season, Vancouver residents, among others, got a mailer this week from the Washington State Democratic Party that distorts gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi's record beyond all recognition.

Rossi, a former Republican state senator from Issaquah who is now running for the governor's office, has been one of the Senate's brightest lights. In 2003, he courageously dealt with Washington's deficit, recession and high unemployment rate by passing a bipartisan-supported budget that protected the state's most vulnerable people from service cuts and insulated Washington workers from higher taxes they could not afford.

He did a brilliant job. The Democratic mailer, however, makes it sound as if Sen. Rossi was busy beating children in his spare time.

The front page of the four-page ad says, "You shouldn't hurt people who need help the most." Behind the words is a picture of a young girl sporting a large bandage on her arm that covers a bleeding wound. Inside the hit piece are complete misrepresentations about Rossi's voting record on issues such as health care and prescription drugs. It must be noted that many of Rossi's votes and views were shared by leading Democrats and Gov. Gary Locke.

Hang in there, voters. The road to the general election is going to be slippery.

Please, Washington State Demo primary voters, give us the hard-left Ron Sims to go up against Dino. Oh, pretty please? Not that Christine Gregoire couldn't easily lose to Dino, either.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 08:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Lefties in Distress

Multimedia journalist Farai Chideya found Dems from Blue America enclaves such as NYC and SF to be quite glum while watching the Republican convention.

At a convention-week gathering of such types, Chideya took a decidely non-scientific poll. No one, but no one, believed Kerry can win.

"My stomach did a little flip-flop. I'd underestimated the depth of John F. Kerry's problem, his lack, to quote a phrase from the Bush I years, of the "vision thing." No one can win the presidency without mobilizing the base, and Kerry's base, uninspired and dispirited, is weakening."

Kerry's base is uninspired and dispirited because they don't even like their candidate, he is merely the anti-Bush. As I've said before, Kerry is a cipher; Bush the genuine article. Here in Mount Shasta, I had an "Aha Moment" of my own. At the Panther Meadows campground, I met one Robert Honeyman, a landscaping company employee who spends most of his spare time doing "street luge," an extreme sport growing in popularity worldwide. He straps himself on to a converted ambulance stretcher (ironic, huh?) and carefully zooms down the two lane highway on Mount Shasta into town at speeds averaging 65 mph.

And he's for Bush: telling me he was tired of Kerry's posturing over Vietnam experience, and, more to the point, wanted a "John Wayne" in charge, not an "Alan Alda."

That seems the perfect quick take of both candidates. Unlike Maureen Dowd, I'm not much swayed by Kerry's cultural literacy and Bush's less omniverous intellect. Smart is as smart does. Clinton was MENSA material, and, like Kerry, oblivious to the threat of terrorism.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 08:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


September 04, 2004

Blogus Interruptus

Um, hello world. Again. This has been hard. Rosenblog has been down for just short of two weeks, due to a server failure, and my local blogpal/server administrator being out of town. Now, the estimable Howard H. is back, and I'm back up. Thanks Howard, can't live withoutcha, guy! Muy appreciados to Howard for his most gracious free hosting of my site, great advice and aid along the way. I am eager to get back into the groooove.

In the meantime, my family and I have been on vacation in our beloved Northern CA hideaway of Mount Shasta City, a mere 25 minute drive from the 8,000-foot-high end of the road up the 14,162-foot mountain. We've had quite a time, taken many a new, wonderful daytrip, and spent entirely too much time in the mornings on the Internet, doing work and checking e-mail. I wrote a story from Mount Shasta that will appear in a major business publication soon, finalized edits on another, in a glossy city monthly, and nailed down another assignment that I am sure you will be very interested in hearing about after it appears in print (sorry, I can't say more until then).

While blogging does not pay, yet, for me, and may never do so, the pay-off has been huge nonetheless. Thanks to readers and/or other bloggers who've given encouragement, much-appreciated links, or story tips. I thought of you all - and some of you e-mailed, most kindly - during my hiatus.

I plan to resume my daily posts no later than Sept 8, and may have a few posts even before then. And if my e-mail notification of Rosenblog-posted comments is any indication, the scum-sucking spammers have already struck my site since it recently went back up. On to the "delete comment" and "IP-ban for life" function. All non-spam comments welcome, and much encouraged, as always.

Peace. Except with respect to terrorists and those who support them.

Vote Bush '04.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


September 03, 2004

Back Online

Matt's Back! Actually, as far as I know, he's still on vacation, but I'm back and I've got the server up and running again, so you can browse through the archives.

P.S., Matt, I only added this note so that the crawlers would come back and visit. Feel free to delete when you've posted your backlog!

Howard Hansen

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at 12:05 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack