September 30, 2004
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
...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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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%.
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) ?
If the election for Governor were held today, would you vote for Christine Gregoire (D), Dino Rossi (R), or Ruth Bennett?
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.
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.
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.
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 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)...
....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.
The Free-Press also weighs in with this editorial.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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.
Yes and the "essential thrust of the report" is, as I've said above, utterly non-essential.
September 19, 2004
Seattle Talk Jock Canned, Rather's Honor Upheld
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.
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.
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.
In Massachusetts. JFK: Even Dukakis carried Massachusetts. In case you forgot, the election's in 49 other states, too.
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.
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?
Hat tip to Steve Antler at EconoPundit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Phew, now I need a Gatorade.
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.
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.
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.
Anti-Senn Ad Pulled
...story here. Smart move.
This Just In....
Via my favorite gay conservative from Texas, Paul, at Right Side Of The Rainbow......
Dan Rather's replacement.......
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).
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.
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!
Yes. Please. Put this guy in charge of the anti-Bush "attack" message.
Cross-posted at Red State.
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.
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."
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.
As in Seattle.
Like the late Sonny Bono said, the thing about illegal immigrants is that they're...... illegal.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
September 04, 2004
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.
September 03, 2004
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!
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