November 30, 2004
"Bush Refugees" have been making noises about moving to Canada because you-know-who has been re-elected. Now's the time to move beyond empty rhetoric. "The Canadian Option" is an immigration seminar being offered this week in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles by a law firm that's expert in the field. The Seattle confab is on Saturday, Dec. 4; more details in the second of the two links above.
I'd especially like to see a lot of folks from Seattle move to Canada. It's where so many of them really belong. But first, they'd better read this guest op-ed in the Seattle Times by a resident of Canada who with her husband moved to the U.S., Jennifer Meeks.
My husband and I left Canada six years ago to start a new life in the United States. Tens of thousands of university-educated, middle-class Canadians leave Canada for the U.S. every year. The Canadian government even has a name for us — "The Brain Drain."
So, "Bush Refugees" eyeing Canada, beware. Eh?
November 29, 2004
Tom Wolfe's Pointed Pen
Nobody dissects political sensibilities like America's foremost present-day novelist, Tom Wolfe. From his latest, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," here's a passage about a university president and a left-leaning professor who are clashing over an errant student athlete, but who apart from this dispute, have a set of beliefs in common. See if this rings any bells.
Both instinctively sided with the underdog; police violence really got them steamed. Both were firm believers in diversity and multiculturalism in colleges. Both believed in abortion, not so much because they thought anyone they knew might want an abortion as because legalizing it helped put an exhausted Christendom and its weird, hidebound religious restraints in their place. For the same reason, both believed in gay rights, women's rights, transgender rights, fox, bear, wolf, swordfish, halibut, ozone, wetland, and hardwood rights, gun control, contemporary art, and the Democratic Party.
Overall, I give "Charlotte Simmons" a "B." It's a fine, insightful and very sociological page-turner, like Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "A Man in Full." But the subject matter - the cultural wreckage and opportunities for individual enlightenment at universities - is perhaps already well understood by many readers. In contrast, Bonfire's dissection of New York City high finance, high-society and racial politics; and Man in Full's epic tale of Southern manhood were both more out of the ordinary and compelling.
Nonetheless, Charlotte should be required reading for all parents sending their kids off to college, and for the kids themselves. As always, the journalistically-trained Wolfe did comprehensive field research for this fictional treatment. His portrayal of modern college life is both hilarious and sobering. The upshot: your kids need judgement, more than ever. Which of course is already clear these days by the time they're in sixth grade. If not sooner.
November 25, 2004
Logan: Machine Recount More Accurate
King County Elections Director Dean Logan appears to think poorly of a likely request by failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire to demand a hand recount. Gregoire lost by 42 votes to Republican Dino Rossi after a machine recount was completed yesterday; the earlier margin for Rossi had been 261 votes. Most of Gregoire's gain came in King County, where Seattle and some suburban voters form the largest part of her base.
Here's Logan, like Gregoire a Democrat, in today's Seattle Times:
"When you're talking about close to 900,000 pieces of paper, I think the machine count is going to be more accurate than a manual count," said Dean Logan, the elections director. "You introduce another human interface into the process. There's a margin there for errors to be made."
Errors which Gregoire and Washington state Democrats are counting on, it seems. More from The Times:
Democrats made it clear they will probably request a hand recount, either in selected counties or statewide, after Democrat Christine Gregoire finished the first statewide recount 42 votes behind Republican Dino Rossi.
Meanwhile, Washington state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt wins today's tin foil crown for these accusations, reported today in this Seattle Times story ("A Governor By Christmas?"), but uttered earlier in the week:
"This is a Karl Rove-driven operation in this state," Berendt said earlier this week, referring to President Bush's chief political strategist. "We are not going to let the Washington, D.C., Republicans steal this election from Chris Gregoire."
Paul, Paul. Back on your meds. Now!
And Ms. Gregoire: As a career "public servant" and politician, I know it's hard to let go. But the time has come. You're giving your party a black eye, and badly embarrassing yourself. As a former state Attorney General, a cushy six-figure jobs awaits you in any one of a number of Seattle law firms. Justice has been dispensed. Get on with your life, so the State of Washington can get on with its business.
November 24, 2004
Dino Rossi, Again
It's official: R-Dino Rossi wins the first (machine) recount for WA Gov. Now the hand recount, because WA State Democrats are sore losers, and still want to steal the election back.
Follow this link-rich thread at Sound Politics for today's latest.
It's The Culture, Pierre
Writing in the Berkeley Daily Planet, Pierre Vladimir Stroud urges Democrats to take control of the "moral values" agenda.
Unfortunately, Pierre Vladimir frames it in terms of ameliorative Nanny-Statism. As opposed to the real issue: cutural rot, about which more below. (And no, I would never use that term with respect to gay marriage).
Here's Pierre Vladimir:
The thing that really struck me as I was listening to analysis on election night was that people in the exit polls listed “moral values” as their top priority more often than any other category (such as the economy, terrorism, or Iraq).
Actually, Pierre Vladimir, that's wrong. But go ahead.
And when I heard it I knew that this was bad for Kerry. Because the Republicans have somehow made Americans associate them with “moral values.” Which is quite a trick, given the irresponsible, dishonest, and mean character of the party’s leadership.
Here's a moral value, Pierre Vladimir: being mean and calling names turns people off. Your side indulged in far too much name-calling in the recent presidential campaign, and that was part of why you lost. Alright, go on, Pierre Vladimir.
The Democrats are going to have to find the courage of their own moral convictions again. It is time for the Democratic Party, and for all of us who consider ourselves to be “liberals,” “progressives,” “Democrats,” or even “Greens” (a party I am still proud to be affiliated with) to employ our intellect in this struggle. To learn how to articulate those beliefs that we hold in our hearts. To begin aggressively re-framing and re-defining the public morality of America.
In other words, Pierre Vladimir - at present, you're all clueless. Oops, wait. Dennis Kucinich's platform is what you're really talking about.
Beliefs in social and economic justice are moral values. Beliefs in equality and inclusion and compassion are moral values. Beliefs in honesty and integrity are moral values. A belief that each generation has a responsibility to leave a better world (environmentally, fiscally, educationally, socially) for their descendents is a moral value—in my view, it is the transcendant one.
Pierre Vladimir then unveils his master plan for reaching out to the key suburban swing electorate.
The Democrats are not going to be able to shift the debate without taking some risks....and perhaps without alienating some people. But I think we can afford to alienate a few bigots and jerks in our efforts to convince the majority of Americans that we are right.
Exactly right, Pierre Vladimir. Anyone who opposes gay marriage is a "bigot" or "jerk." That'll capture the White House, Congress and the Senate for Democrats, assuredly.
Pierre Vladimir closes his jeremiad with this:
As citizens, I think it is important that all of us participate in this imaginative work.
Your work certainly entails a great deal of imagination, Pierre Vladimir, I'll grant you that.
Now, imagine this about the "moral values" meme, Pierre Vladimir. It's the culture.
It's failing public schools. Absentee parents whose kids turn into murderers. The sexualization of pre-teens, with parental complicity. The bizarre stage antics of aging teen tartlets. The celebration of "Pimp N' Ho" culture. Pedophilic politicians. The vulgarization of books for children. Murderous yoga disciples. Teachers who make kids eat worms. Anti-Wal-Mart hysteria. Whoopi Goldberg and the abortion lobby. Not to mention Ol' Dirty Bastard and Joan Baez.
That's what it is, Pierre Vladimir.
November 23, 2004
"JFK: Reloaded" is a new computer game that has users try to disprove any conspiracy theories in the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy 41 years ago. According to a report here, users do this by recreating, through computer simulation, the shots fired from the book depository in Dallas to kill Kennedy as his motorcade passed by on 11/22/63.
Meanwhile, one new study suggests that computer games which stress only vision and movement - as opposed to, say, strategy and planning - may make your kid more violent. And a bit dumber to boot. Makes sense.
But what about computer games that include strategy and planning, yet are overtly violent? An awful lot of those out there, especially in middle- and upper-income homes where parents are disengaged from their children, and generally clueless about the corrosive aspects of pop culture.
I'm not proposing more warning stickers, and the like. I'm proposing parents exercise - hold on tight here - judgement.
There's also growing concern about kid computer geeks and gamers suffering "repetitive strain injury," or RSI. Key symptoms are "floppy posture" from being hunched over in front of the computer, plus diminished eyesight, headaches and poor exercise habits.
I know this can afflict adult computer jockeys, as well.
Excuse me now please. I'm going for a walk.
Dan Rather Urged To Start A Blog.....
...by me. You see.....
He's retiring as anchor of the CBS evening news. Guess that 'ol hound dog done got tired a scretchin' after alla them pesky 'ol fleas that done got up his snout.
All the usual face-saving measures are in place. The announcement claims the decision was actually made last summer (doubtless BEFORE the Bush-TANG story blew up in his face). And 'ol Texas Dan is going to stay on, reporting for "60 Minutes." So we can be assured he'll put the very last nail in his own coffin.
Why not just cut to the chase now, Mr. Rather? Another book, and the lecture circuit.
I suggest Rather start his very own blog, as well.
Moral Values in the Urban Archipelago
It's not that Blue cities are hostile to "moral values," it's just that their "moral values" are hostile.
Even when couched in seemingly unassailable post-ironic "humor."
From gift postcards and refrigerator magnets at a trendy boutique in Seattle's oh-so-fashionable Fremont neighborhood, consider these incisive takes on men (those pigs!), relationships, family and home.
*"She knew how to please a man, but mostly she chose not to."
*(Accompanying a picture of a woman with four parakeets perched on her shoulders and arms). "She didn't need a man - she had all the peckers she could handle." (Just brilliant).
So....that about covers men. Now, mothers.
*I saw my mother yesterday...Thank God she didn't see me." (At least this one acknowledges the existence of God).
Hearth, home and family.
*"I have a kitchen because it came with the house."
*"I take my children everywhere. But they keep finding their way back home."
Dear me, yes. Children are quite bothersome that way. If only we could push them into the ocean on melting ice floes, as Eskimos do with their aged.
November 22, 2004
Elvis Slept Upstairs
NOTE: This item has been updated since it was posted earlier today.
Don't get all shook up, but if you're looking for a waterfront one-bedroom apartment in Seattle, in a building where Elvis Presley once slept, I've got a hot tip.
At 4225 Beach Drive SW in West Seattle, in a nice neighborhood directly on Puget Sound stands Chambliss House, a sturdy blue-painted residence divided into two apartments. There's a burbling fountain in the brick courtyard, large earthenware flowerpots, and a stone angel on a bench. Plus a metal plaque on the front of the building, looking very official, declaring, "Elvis Presley Slept Here, May 18, 1962." Two musical notes grace each side of the plaque.
It's no gag, owner Alan Chambliss tells me. He's lived there for 30 years and so didn't witness the Elvis visit. But he tells this story. About seven or eight years ago, he noticed a man and woman outside videotaping the building. Curious, he asked why. They explained that her father, now back in New Jersey and dying of cancer, had lived in the upstairs apartment in the early 60s and really enjoyed his stay there, near Seattle's best sandy beach, Alki. (Who wouldn't?).
They were shooting some "remembrance" video footage of the place for him to enjoy before he died. Chambliss invited them in; they talked some more, and the woman mentioned her dad had been a buddy of Elvis in the army, and had picked him up at Sea-Tac in 1962, when Elvis was here to film a movie (more on that below). The kicker: Elvis stayed in the upstairs apartment, and the woman showed Chambliss a picture of her dad and Elvis there, with the very same knotty pine-panelled walls Chambliss recognized as belonging to the place.
Now, as to the rental: it's the downstairs apartment, not the one Elvis slept in, so you'll have to settle for proximity to the legend, rather than full immersion. Although perhaps the ghost of The King comes out at night and croons, "Love Me Tender," as waves lap the shore. You won't know for sure unless you rent the place, right?
It's $865 a month, 800 square feet, waterfront, private deck, fireplace, non-smokers only, and - ahem - "suitable for one person only." Easy walk to Alki's splendiferous amusements. Phone, 206-937-7213; viewings by appointment only. (No I'm not getting a commission here. I don't DO real estate).
Background: Elvis WAS in Seattle in 1962 to film the movie "It Happened At The World's Fair." Including a trip here in September, according to this report. Perhaps the May visit was an under-the-radar reconnaissance mission.
Besides sleeping, what did the the King do here in May of '62? Cruise Alki, setting female hearts atwitter, and skipping flat stones into the surf at low tide? Eat fish and chips on Alki? I doubt it, as fish would have been way too weird for Elvis. He favored fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches.
DINC Gift Alert
Why go the plebian route, rinsing your fruits and vegetables in tap water? For only $13 per bottle from a boutique in Seattle's uber-hip Fremont quarter, or $14 a bottle online, you can get a wondrous "fruit and vegetable purifying wash" worthy of Martha Stewart's endorsement.
Are there case discounts, I wonder?
November 21, 2004
Puget Sound Blogosphere Expands
There are more and more Puget Sound folk jumping into the blogosphere these days. Time for a shout out, and some links (with blogroll additions coming soon to my current "Northwest/West Coast" lineup).
As in my feature article on Puget Sound bloggers for the December issue of Seattle Magazine (current link via Seattle blogging priestess Ambra Nykol and her scanner), my focus here is primarily on bloggers who highlight politics or elements of culture apart from geekdom.
Goodness knows I'm fascinated by evolving technologies, and (both here and in my 4/01 to 5/04 regular guest op-ed column in The Seattle Times) have written about the convergence of technology with popular culture and politics. It's a ripe, fascinating area to explore, and changing every day. I admire geeks a lot, especially those who are plugged into politics (my bias, I guess). But if you're evangelizing blogging to the 96 percent of Net users not yet familiar with the medium (and that's part of my ongoing focus), then "inside baseball" techie blogs aren't where you'd want to send them first.
So here are a few more humble "underbloggers" like myself - not quite as famous as Daily Koz or Instapundit - that I'd like to "tug on your coat about." As Tom Waits would say.
Skor Grimm is a frickin' hoot. This guy is poised for blogosphere stardom, seriously. Give him some love, and comments. OK?
Check out Seth Cooper's Sharks With Lasers.
Here's the Live Journal page of Mark Atwood, a gun-friendly geek with an eye for the intersection of politics and popular culture. He says he's worth $2.9 million. Almost enough for private schooling your kids in Seattle these days.
David Keenan's Seattle Sense hits the spot. Another Seattle Conservative. Damn, we're gonna have to have a Pride parade or something.
In classic blog fashion, Pajama Jihad was created so the author could make sure his letter to the editor got aired publicly, just in case it didn't get printed. He has kept going, with a focus on regional and national politics.
Josef has a blog, too.
Bainbridge-based blogger, scientist, writer, thinker and mom Julie Leung's Seedlings and Sprouts is a good read. She was featured, along with several other West Sound bloggers in a recent piece by The Bremerton/Kitsap Sun. Nice story; the online version includes URLs of a number of West Sound bloggers, but no live links (huhhh?).
Fortunately this post by Julie on her 15 minutes of local MSM fame does include a number of such links (at the bottom), so explore.
And of course, Daily Recycler is already famous.
November 19, 2004
The New Fundamentalists
P. Scott Cummins is one of the cooler folks I've met through blogging. He holds a law degree and is a recovering corporate worker bee. Scott lives in the Seattle neighborhood of Magnolia, and takes care of his two daughters while his lovely wife Kathleen does the power suit thing (actually she's way more stylish than that). He also does scads of community and school volunteer work, and has been very involved in a charity efforts in Uganda. This moderate Republican happens to be very plugged-in, and as a long-time local boy has an elephant's memory, you might say, of Seattle's political culture. Which he sees as relevant to the national political landscape right now.
I'll let Scott explain. He has some piquant perspectives to share about what "reaching out" means to Democrats, now that they're asking Republicans to get nicey-nicey after Bush's victory, plus GOP gains in Congress and The Senate.
Cummins advises that , "....In response, Republicans need to assess....with what manner of “reach out” do Democrats operate in areas where they have taken over," such as Seattle.
Then he digs in:
Consider the Seattle political landscape of today. A Republican working in Seattle city government begs a reporter not to “out” him for fear of workplace retaliation. City advisory boards, commissions and volunteer councils are cleansed of Republican involvement by Democratic operatives who, by turn, control nominations, define selection criteria, and vet candidates. City Department Managers meanwhile provide similar access to public employee union bosses. All to ensure the iron-fisted grip of Democrats – concerned by their mere 85% standing among the electorate!
Pink: the new black.
Squid: the new Viagra.
Democrats: the new fundamentalists?
"The Grass Is Greener Here, Too"
Seattle conservative blogger David Keenan has an informative, funny post on hype about disaffected Ds pondering a post-11/2 move to Canada. And he digs up some interesting data showing that since Bush's election in 2000, more than a few Canadians, French and Germans have been moving to the U.S.
....the wealthy Washingtonians who voted in droves for Kerry are unlikely to trade their Queen Anne bungalows for a rambler in Chilliwack anytime soon. If we’re talking about self-righteous university students that split time between protests and getting their teeth cleaned, I suppose a few less enrollees couldn’t hurt, considering Initiative 884 failed.
Fine stuff, David. Keep it coming.
November 18, 2004
A Seattle Dinocrat, And The Environment
Just ran into a Seattle Dinocrat in the neighborhood grocery store. We're talking about a voter in "Baghdad Jim" McDermott's congressional district here. A neighbor and friend - real estate agent and former hi-tech guy, like myself a married father of two. Unlike me, he voted for Kerry for President, and, like me, the apparently victorious (pending the recount) R-Dino Rossi for WA Gov. Says he believes 20 years of D Guvs in WA have helped create an unfriendly business climate, and a change was needed.
He IS concerned about environmental trade-offs, and mentioned a third way, a pro-business, pro-environment mindset. Says he's been reading a book by the founder of Cliff Bars (the first energy bar that really tasted good, by the way), which explores the imperative of "green marketing."
I replied that that stuff can sometimes be more a PR facade than anything else, but agreed we can't afford to be totally cynical. Balancing pro-growth policies with the environment in an (echh, I hate this phrase) "win-win" way is a huge, and important area to get into. Everything doesn't have to be a zero sum game. That's the kind of thinking that has poisoned many a public policy debate. With folks on both sides (pick any issue, practically) to blame.
See how you'd answer these questions.
For Democrats: If an "environmental protection" initiative is advanced by a Republican, or Republicans, can it actually be beneficial? Can you think of any? Can you think of any instances when allegations that pro-business policies would hurt the environment proved false? Are there any myths or even serious uncertainties you have identified about air or water quality, global warming, open spaces or endangered species? If so, what? Which species, if any, should be allowed to be sacrificed for progress (regardless of what the law says, what is your opinion?). When have Ds gone overboard in protecting the environment? Ever?
For Republicans: are there any ways in which current environmental protections are falling short? Are salmon threatened in the Northwest and West? If not, please explain. Doesn't urban air pollution, especially from motor vehicles, really make you sick? Or do not enough of you live in cities to care? How can you fail to understand the need for more and better urban and suburban mass transit? Should a paper mill be allowed to monitor itself for pollutant emissions, and then report the results to the state?
November 17, 2004
Dino By 261! Now, The Recount!
R-Dino Rossi wins WA Guv by 261 votes, recount coming.
Dino would be the first R-WA Guv. elected since '80. Just heard him live on KIRO-AM. Great connector, great personality. Big part of why he won. Like W. Same friendly, relaxed, down-to-earth tone that helped W. so much, and that both Kerry and the ultra-stiff D-Christine Gregoire, Rossi's opponent, lacked.
Here's the AP story. (Gregoire says she'll win after the recount. OK , you're on record Chris).
Luv ya, ya big Dago galoot. (Hey, I'm from pre-PC Chicago, and I do that ethnic hazing thing, all the time. OK? OK!)
This has much to say about the moderate suburban, swing electorate, around Seattle (Snohomish and Pierce counties) and in WA just north of Portland, OR (Clark County).
Automated recount begins Sat., ends Weds. No WA recount has EVER resulted in overturning the results. Yet this one could, for all we know. Hope not.
Go Dino, and, Yee Hah!
Rossi-Gregoire Final Count Today: Then, The Recount
Today's the last day of vote-counting in the tighter-than-tight WA Guv. race, until the almost inevitable recount, that is. R-Dino Rossi led D-Christine Gregoire by 19 votes after counting ceased yesterday. There are an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 votes left to count today, barring the "discovery" of more previously unanticipated ballots. (And the numbers arre already rolling in, Rossi now up 64 votes as of 9:29 AM, PST).
What we might expect to see today is outlined at the Seattle-based group conservative blog Sound Politics, courtesy of my colleague Stefan Sharkansky, who's been tracking this bewitching, bewildering race about as closely as anyone, while somehow maintaining his sanity. (Those 10,000 "discovered" ballots in the Gregoire stronghold of King County put a crimp in any further projections, understandably). Here's the latest SP daily vote count link you'll want to check back on, along with the WA Sec. of State's Guv race vote count link.
If the winning margin is less than one-half percent and less than 2,000 votes (as seems increasingly likely) a recount is mandatory under state law.
Some bizarre stuff has been going on. This story from today's Seattle Times tells more.
A judge in King County (home of Seattle, and a Gregoire stronghold) ruled in favor of the WA Dem. Party's suit to count provisional ballots supported only by affidavits from the voters, whose signatures on the PBs did not match their signatures on their voter registration. Republicans are fighting that, in court, as well they should.
The WA GOP is also "likely" to take legal action today in Yakima County (pro-Rossi territory) to allow it to submit affidavits for validation of currently rejected PBs there. The idea being if the affidavit-validated PBs are allowed to count in Gregoire territory, the same standard should hold in Rossi country.
On top of all this (my own view here, not from The Times' story linked to above) is to remember the wild card: Libertarian Guv candidate Ruth Bennett, an out and proud lesbian. Some local obervers disagree with my view that if Rossi loses, her (now-62,000 some) votes will have cost him the election. They argue she actually took more votes from Gregoire, because her gay rights platform attracted more D-leaners, than R-leaners. I disagree, as few folks actually read the Voter's Pamphlet, and she got minimal press.
When you pick a Libertarian over a Republican for Governor, it's in most cases because you subscribe to the underlying "limited government" premise both parties espouse. Whether Rossi wins or not, it's a shame Bennett voters were more interested in feel-good symbolism than electing one of the only two realistic contenders.
November 16, 2004
Kerry's Many "Green Tea" Moments
Courtesy of Augustine at Red State comes this true story from CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley about John Kerry's emblematic "Green Tea Moment" with a waitress in Iowa. Telling us much about this refined aesthete's inability to come off as a regular guy to crucial swing voters.
Good point. Zell Miller'd been saying stuff like this for a while about Democrats, and Kerry specifically.
I guess I'm a bit of anomaly, though. I live in a Blue, Blue City; voted for the "Red" candidates for President, Governor and U.S. Senate; and love Green Tea. Fond of black, white and red tea, too. Haven't heard of any blue. You?
The "Mouthbreather" Vote
Seattle tech guy Mark Atwood doesn't think too much of people who have to request provisional ballots, and worries about fraud stemming from the counting of invalid PBs, a concern still highly pertinent to the Rossi (R) vs, Gregoire (D) nailbiter for WA Guv. Here's Mark's prescient Election Day post, which I just came across.
I'm a voter. However, annoyingly, a lot of the other people at the polling station were not.
Tell it, Mark.
He doesn't say anything about thousands of previously unexpected absentee ballots showing up in Dem-friendly King County, as the WA Guv race goes down to the wire (leaving Gregoire up 158 votes this a.m., with more than 20K left statewide). But then, who knew?
Today looks to be a day of reckoning, and the Seattle P-I reports there are more votes left to be counted in R-Dino Rossi counties than in D-Christine Gregoire counties. However, as the P-I notes, Dems are hustling to get invalidated votes (especially provisionals, in King County) validated. I hope the "observers" are observing things VERY closely in counties where Gregoire is ahead and provisionals are still being checked.
ADDENDA: Lawrence McArdle vents, appropriately, in a comment string to this post at Sound Politics:
"Nobody's asking the right question:
"WHY EVEN HAVE PROVISIONAL BALLOTS???
"Look at all of our taxpayer dollars being pi$$ed away, and this election tally running weeks long, just because we can't tell people to VOTE WHERE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO VOTE!"
Also because some of the vote counters have a crappy work ethic.
Ol' Dirty Bastard, who died Saturday at age 35 of as-yet-undetermined causes in a New York recording studio, was one of the genuine nice guys of rap, according to this Boston Globe profile.
Also known as Osirus, Dirt McGirt, and Big Baby Jesus, Ol' Dirty Bastard appears to have never shot anybody. He smiled and joked a lot.
But make no mistake. He WAS a playa, an exemplar of Black Manhood as defined by the Hollywood-Street Axis, without the guns. The Globe:
His first arrest came in 1997 for failure to pay child support for three of his children. (He was reported to have at least a dozen kids by several women.)
The Globe also reports that with television cameras rolling, he took his limo to the welfare office for a handout.
His unpredictability was also well-served during his TV appearances. A decade ago, MTV spent the day with ODB, the highlight of which was the rapper arriving at a New York welfare office -- in a limousine -- to collect food stamps. Looking into the camera, he said unapologetically, "It's free money. Why wouldn't you want to get free money?"
Libertarians everywhere salute your memory, O.D.B. Peace, and Out.
November 15, 2004
Kansas Is Looking Better Every Day
A man set himself on fire in front of the White House today. This report says he was heard to utter "Allah." Hours later, according to the same article, another guy scaled the fence of the White House, and was apprehended.
Friday, a naked man in climbed into the lizard tank at the Bronx Zoo. Authorities removed him, for psychiatric review.
Post-election stress in each instance? Or just run of the mill social dysfunction in Blue America? Inquiring minds want to know. UPDATE: OK, some more info on the self-immolator. AP reports he was a U.S.-based Yemeni informant on terrorism to the FBI, and he was upset at not being allowed to travel back home to se his ailing wife. He recently detailed some of his concerns to the Washington Post, altho those concerns did not see print anywhere before the conflagration. He now has the attention he sought, and burns on 30 percent of his body.
Gays For Bush
Twenty-three percent of gay voters cast their ballots for President Bush, reports the gay paper, The Washington Blade. Read this whole piece, which is based on interviews with gay men who voted for Bush. And then please - my wounded and vitriolic Democrat friends, moaning and groaning about the "homophobic extremists" who re-elected Bush - Move On!
Hat tip to Opinion Journal.
How Bush Won....
...was by holding his own with moderates, not thanks to bible-thumping anti-gay marriage rural voters, as the liberal disintelligentsia would have you believe.
I'm continuing to compile columns which make that evident. One by E.J. Dionne and another by David Broder are in this post of mine from last week. Now, more.
Here's Charles Krauthammer, on how "moral values" were actually far from the first thing on voters minds. He also notes that Bush's gains in percentage of the vote were lower in the 11 states that had anti-gay marriage referenda on the ballot on Election Day, than in the other 39 states with no such measures before voters.
David Broder, from this weekend with more still (he's been on fire lately).
...The real Bush success was in fighting John Kerry to a near-standoff among self-described moderates.
Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans. They - rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs - are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hatemongers.
As a pro-choice, pro-urban-density, pro-mass transit, gay-friendly heterosexual moderate Seattle conservative (got all that?) I'm damned sick and tired of self-righteous, frothing liberal extremists using the gay marriage issue as a wedge. Because someone is against gay marriage, or has deep reservations about it, doesn't mean they're homophobic. Hell, they could even be Kerry voters! The argument is about a half-step better than equating charter school supporters with a Nazi propoganda minister, as one teachers union offical in Washington State did, earlier this year.
With an estimated one-quarter of Kerry voters against both gay marriage and civil unions, and with other issues far ahead of "morals" (see Krauthammer, above) it's time for Ds to coalesce - in an uncharacteristically thoughtful manner - around issues that can rally the moderates they'll need to regain significance. Such as taming the deficit, articulating a muscular yet realistic foreign policy, and emphasizing engaged parenting as key to education and crime prevention. That last one is a great, secular "morals" issue, by the way.
November 13, 2004
Deeds, Not Words
"Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home Now" is a popular bumper sticker in Seattle, plus one of the phoniest things I've ever heard.
They're in Iraq and they're not coming home because queasy isolationist liberals want to turn tail. In the meantime, "supporting our troops" means, at the very least, doing more than piously mouthing the phrase while continuing to bash the U.S.'s role in helping Iraq establish freedom and democracy.
In other words, support means getting off your duff. To that end, I and my eight-year-old son were happy to take a little trip away from our lovely neighborhood in the People's Socialist Republic of Seattle (where pro-Bush, pro-Iraq War families such as ours are the cultural insurgents), to join hundreds of others in south suburban Seattle at Anderson's Barn. There, Operation Support Our Troops was packing, addresssing and loading onto trucks oodles of Christmas care packages for our men and women in Iraq.
We packed non-perishable food, sporting equipment, books, CDs (yes Peter Jennings, more of that damned country music, and get over it, please), books, cigars, Christmas trees, long pipecleaners for cleaning guns, athletic socks, towels, toiletries and more.
It was a great, great scene, and I was interested to notice that the crowd was far from Lily White. I saw Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans, along with all the pale folk you'd expect to find at such a gathering. Spirits were high, and several Seattle TV stations were there to film stories, presumably for broadcast on the early and/or late news tonight. UPDATE, SUN. 11/14/04: There was also this story in today's Seattle Times.
Congratulations and thanks to all the great volunteers, and a big tip of the hat to the lead organizer Sheryl Sheaffer of Sammamish, and her mom Nadine Gulit of Issaquah, who are among the founders of O.S.O.T.
The next O.S.O.T. package drive will be in advance of Easter.
To be notified of volunteer opportunities, e-mail Operation Support Our Troops at email@example.com.
November 12, 2004
GOP Hijacks Seattle Alt. Media, Vol. 2
Last week I hypothesized that closeted Republicans actually run Seattle's Left-of-Left, Angry Alternative Weekly, The Stranger. This week I'm sure of it. What else but a Rovian Cointelpro campaign could account for this isolationist bile?
You'd have to be sniffing amyl nitrate poppers around the clock to formulate claims such as these - which, I, your intrepid unofficial Stranger ombudsperson - was able to glean from the above-linked, post-11/2 socio-political secessionist manifesto titled, "The Urban Archipelago."
*Urban liberals have the power to decide that commuters will no longer be welcome as employees of in-city businesses. "People who commute to the city for their livelihood and then attack urban areas and people in the voting booth are the worst kind of hypocrites. Commuters, we neither want nor need you."
(The ripple effects of this pronunciamento are already being felt across the city of Seattle. The directors of Pemco, Starbucks, Boeing, Washington Mutual and the University of Washington are all at this moment in hastily-convened meetings debating mass lay-offs of suburbanites in their employ, so as not incur the wrath of The Stranger and its many readers who are in positions of great political, corporate and cultural influence).
*Urban liberals have been the driving force involved in "saving fragile suburban economies," but after 11/2, "we do not have to concern ourselves" with that.
Interestingly, in the same piece, the Stranger posits that urbanites "don't use suburban roads. We can let the suburbs figure out a way to pay for them."
(So....see...urbanites have been "saving fragile suburban economies" not by actually going there and shopping or working, but by a sort of, um, unexplained telekinesis).
Apparently, the power of thinking, as opposed to doing, figures quite prominently into the urban liberal weltanschaung described by The Stranger.
*For instance, I had not known what an important contribution urban liberals had been making - through "worrying" - to battling the invasion of the American heartland by Wal-Mart, which The Stranger describes as a "rapacious corporation." Once again Red America: you're on your own now. "Liberals in big cities spend a lot of time worrying about the impact Wal-Mart is having on the heartland. No more."
I'm sure the heartland is devastated to hear that. About as devastated as all the multi-hued shoppers filling the Wal-Mart just south of Seattle in Renton. It seems people with children and mortgages - as opposed to lime-green hair, piercings and I-Pods - unaccountably like a good bargain.
There's more in The Stranger's stated, and sweeping urban agenda to capture the White House and win legal gay marriage nationwide. Specifically, rallying the urban base with "safe injection sites" for heroin users; and "discouraging excessive auto use by taxing mileage."
Given all this, and additional material in the same issue, such as "F*** The South," by the noted author "Anonymous," it would be easy enough to presume The Stranger is merely playing to the hard-core urban liberal peanut gallery. Easy enough to presume that they do all this tongue in cheek, and are happy at the end of the day to be making money.
But that would be to ignore the long-term game plan of the GOP, which backs rags such as The Stranger through covert placement of Republican-linked business operatives on the corporate boards of the parent media companies which own such publications.
And that long-term plan is brutal in its simplicity: as readers grow older, and become, say, voting adults, they inevitably realize how far they've progressed from the infantile, knee-jerk, blindly obeisant liberal posturing represented by their local "alternative weekly," or weeklies; whether it's the one in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Boston, L.A. SF, Eugene, Portland, or Seattle.
It starts when you vote for Kerry for president, but Republican Dino Rossi for Governor, who - final absentee and provisional ballots pending - appears likely to become this state's first GOP Guv elected since 1980, and is carrying the key Seattle collar counties of Snohomish and Pierce, as well as one suburban Portland hub, Clark County. Crucial places in any state-wide race, where neither Christine Gregoire's "I'm a D So Vote For Me," nor The Stranger's "F*** You" amounts to much of a platform, I'm afraid.
Where it ends is anybody's guess. But I for one will be wondering just how many urban "Democrats" are going to have that famed Red America delicacy - green bean cassserole made with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup and Durkee canned onion rings - on their Thanksgiving tables later this month.
Oops, gotta go. There's the UPS guy on my Seattle doorstoop. I think he's got those Buck Owens CDs I ordered.
November 11, 2004
Joan Baez: Redneck
From Reason Online's Ronald Bailey, via D.C. Thornton, comes this appalling episode of virulent condescension towards blacks from none other than Joan Baez, live and in concert. Naturally, it's George W. Bush that has made Baez run off the tracks.
Baliey is writing about a Baez concert he attended last week, post-election, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
....halfway through the concert...Joan stopped singing and announced that she had "multiple personalities." One of her multiple personalities is that of a fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. Baez decided to share with us Alice's views on the election. Amazed and horrified I watched a rich, famous, extremely white folksinger perform what can only be described as bit of minstrelsy—only the painted on blackface was missing. Alice, the black teenager from Arkansas Baez was pretending to be, spoke in a dialect so broad and thick that it would put Uncle Remus and Amos and Andy to shame.
Joan, maybe it's just plain time to hang it up.
Dem-Fueled Vote Fraud Hoax Debunked
The Tin Foil Hat Brigade has been filling the web with allegations Bush really didn't win Election 2004, and they're deluded.
Just for starters.
I urge Dem conspriacy theorists to take a close read, then shut their dumb yaps and, um.......start thinking real hard about your next DNC Chairman.
Your country thanks you very much.
November 10, 2004
Envisioning The 'O8 Democratic Agenda
According to a new book and its companion web site, the Democratic Party is in a "zombie stupor, mimicking death" and the solution is to pitch harder to the hard-Left base in America's proud coastal Blue cities.....The book is titled, "The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America," and the lead author is University of Phoenix founder and noted cat cloner John Sperling.
I'm not cheered at the idiocy of the idea because a more sustainable Democratic Party is in everyone's best interests, ultimately. I am also aghast to learn that while I am living in "Metro" America (Seattle), I must apparently shove into the closet my "Retro" values. It is the love that dare not speak it's name.
Via the book's web site you'll find the The Divided Times Newsletter (specifically, Issue #11, which is at this "current issue" link right now). There's a breathless account titled "voter suppression reports rampant," but it then cites some European observers (lucky us, I know) who said things went fairly well here. Whew! Glad they almost signed off on our elections. More to the point, perhaps, there's this Democratic roadmap for the future:
The Democrats must find their own base rather than trying to wrest support from the Republicans by mirroring their policy and moving towards the center. This will only take place when the Democrats are able to articulate a platform that does not compromise the blue states. As clearly stated in the introduction of the Great Divide, "Only by articulating programs and policies that speak to the needs of Metro America will (the Democrats) clearly distinguish their party from the Republicans, whose programs and policies favor Retro America."
So let's do some "visioning" of the Metropolitan Left's future national Democratic platform. Hailing from Seattle, and having lived previously in Chicago (where I was raised), plus Boston and Washington, D.C., I must say that I am eminently qualified to undertake this task. Here goes, then.
permit federally-funded abortion on demand, up until birth; give more money for failing public schools;
push a Congressional mandate that all U.S. municipalities form police oversight commissions to set "anti-profiling" quotas for arrests based on race, sexual orientation and corresponding local demogrpahics.
Then, work for:
federal recognition of city-by-city powers to legalize gay marriage;
unlimited immigration, plus carte blanche for illegals to use all social services and public schools;
federal funding of local workshops on "institutional racism;"
Oh, and a comprehensive Education Department framework, and funding for public school courses encouraging fifth-graders to "question" their sexual orientation; plus diversion of NCLB dollars for junior high workshops on genital piercing.
I mean, why not go for broke?
To stoke the troops, and ah, help win an electoral majority in the next presidential contest, "The Great Divide" site offers these strategically savvy messages on bumper stickers sold at its online store:
"Uniter My Ass;"
"Bush/Cheney - Draft Dodging Vet Bashers;"
"Dude - Where's My Job" (captures the Dem ethos quite well, n'est ce pas?);
"Smarter Kids Or Smarter Bombs?"
"the new GOP - Democracy Not Included."
Just to make sure you get the message, there's also a "News Watch" link to the "Working For Change" site, replete with ads for works by Michael Moore, Maureen Dowd and Molly Ivins (the all-knowing seers of a victorious Democratic future); plus the latest from anti-Bush and anti-Red America columnists afeard we're all gonna be swallowed up and spat out by barbeque-munchin' country music-listening bible-totin' redneck geeks.
OK, I've had enuf fun (dammit, my spelling has rilly slipped since the Mindless Rite roze to power last week...prolly something in the Seattle water supply).
Here's the big problem with the "Blue America" strategy. There, ah, aren't enough of you, see. And your excesses repulse swing voters and inspire the other side to try even harder (see Florida, Ohio). It was actually moderates - not the evil "Religious Right" - who secured Bush's victory on Election Day, says E.J. Dionne. Dems need to reach out to them, in the outer suburbs and yes, even rural counties, Dionne adds.
David Broder has another good suggestion, which dovetails with what Dionne's saying:
Several Democrats I interviewed in the first couple of days after John Kerry's defeat said it's time to give their party another serious intellectual transfusion. These are not people who think that Hillary Rodham Clinton can revive the Democrats just by sprinkling some Chappaqua fairy dust on their remains.
Of course, they don't have any book to flog just yet, nor a web site and bumper stickers for sale.
In addition to what Broder recommends, what would really help save the Democrats is an influx of metrosexual, crunchy conservatives to Blue American cities, to spread family values and common sense among the loony Lefties.
I'm certainly doing my part here in Seattle, as a pro-Iraq War, pro-Bush, pro-monorail, pro-choice-but-not-pro-abortion R-leaning independent. The biggest barrier to building the ranks of like-minded folk in Blue cities is the crappy public schools...and while NCLB is a step in the right direction...real education reform begins at home with parental influences.
This is just the sort of simple truth that infuriates Democrats who expect the government to engineer a utopian society.
....you know just who I mean.....those folks who say to Bush: "Dude, Where's My Job?"
November 09, 2004
Absentees Boost Rossi's WA Gov. Bid
UPDATE 1 - WEDS. NOV. 10, 12:35 PM, PST: Rossi now up by a wider margin, of 4,429 votes, as more absentees roll in. Ooh Cha! UPDATE 2: As of 1:38 PM PST, 11/10/04, Dino's margin had grown a bit more, to 5,018 votes. UPDATE 3, as of 5:48 PM, PST on 11/10/04, Dino's lead was 3,492 votes.
11/09/04. Republican Dino Rossi opened the day down 8,700 votes to Democrat Christine Gregoire in the election for WA Gov. As of 5:30 PM, PST, he's up by 2,123 votes. Here's the WA Sec. of State's site; the numbers are likely to change further, unless somehow this was the final blast of an estimated 213,000 (mostly) absentee, and provisional ballots that were left to count today.
A (Seattle) KOMO-TV report at 5:20 had Rossi up 1,700 and noted there were "thousands" more absentees to count, how ever many exactly that turns out to be.
Important to note, especially for Dino rooters: as the Seattle Times story linked to below notes, the bulk of the (213,000) absentees that were to be counted today (and ARE, as you read this probably STILL being counted) were in the WA counties where Rossi bested Gregoire - NOT King County (home of Seattle) and the handful of others where Gregoire was besting Rossi.
If the victory margin is less than .5 percent (AND less than 2K votes) an automatic recount is triggered. A Seattle Times story this morning indicated that provisional ballots are being evaluated for legitimacy on a county by county basis, as they roll in, along with all the absentee ballots. Absentee ballots counted after the polls closed in WA Nov. 2 may end up approaching 1 million in number, although we won't know the exact number for a while.
Why care about this race's outcome? As I've said a number of times (including here, here, here, and here) Dino would be a breath of fresh air in Olympia's ossified culture of governance - not to mention the first Republican to hold the WA governorship since 1980-1984.
November 08, 2004
As The World Heaves
The Harvard Crimson reports students there have formed two rival beer appreciation organizations: one for the good stuff, one for the swill. I suppose you might find one of the acronyms amusing, in a somewhat juvenile manner.
"Vancouver group passes out crack pipes; seeks funding." No. it's not satire. Unfortunately. The "Rock Users Group," inspired by local government support of "safe injection sites" and the resulting "harm reduction" for Vancouver heroin addicts, wants "safe inhalation sites" for crackheads, and is distributing the accoutrements of crack addiction, including condoms. Apparently it's OK for addicts to peddle their bodies in return for rock, so long as they have "safe sex." (And when the client says, "No Condom," hmm, I wonder, wonder, wonder what the addict does?)
France has a new gay TV channel, with a transsexual sportscaster, X-rated fare (after midnight), reruns of "Wonder Woman," and profiles of Princess Diana and the late Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. There's also a promotional poster showing Francois Mitterand and Helmut Kohl holding hands (it's not what you might think). Some French gays worry the channel will engender sterotyping.
An American army sergeant who deserted his unit in Vietnam and holed up for decades in North Korea got a light sentence in a court martial last week. He's already suffered enough: he had to study the teachings of Kim Il Sung, the country's patriarch of crackpot communist theory, for 10 hours a day.
Shark's dad Ira, with this must-read "Letter From Jerusalem."
Try this on. Beserkeley, CA voters suffering from tax fatigue. Bleak news for tax-and-spenders there this Election Day. The city's deficit is estimated at $7.5 million, and four revenue enhancement measures bit the dust.
Plus, Berkeley's Measure Q, sponsored by the Sex Workers Outreach Project - and about which I've blogged previously - was rejected, 64 to 36 percent. Measure Q would have instructed Berkeley Police to make enforcing local anti-prostitution laws their lowest priority.
The Oakland Tribune reports, in an election results round-up......Ooomph! Berkeley voters say yes to fiscal discipline (of a sort) AND law and order.
Before you know it, The Aaaarnold will be campaigning on Telegraph Ave. for re-election as CA Gov. Or, pending the likely enabling legislation by a GOP U.S. House and Senate - for President, on his old stomping grounds in OH.
Finally, this: New York's water is OK to drink, but might not be kosher. A tiny crustacean called the copepod is to blame. Since the problem was discovered several months ago, plumbers and water-filter salesmen are making out, but confusion still reigns, the NYT reports (free reg. req.). For the uninitiated, Orthodox Jews don't do shellfish. Not any kind.
"All Talked Out"
Afraid of being authoritarian or permissive, parents trying for the preferred "authoritative" middle ground still end up reasoning with their kids too much, writes Neil Swidey in the Boston Globe's Sunday magazine.
Some negotiating with your kids is good. But spending 20 minutes debating your 4-year-old on why it's time to leave the park is not. Children's mouths can keep up, but as research is showing, their brains cannot.
It's a slippery slope. Parents out there: any tips, or reactions?
November 07, 2004
Dems Dealing with Despair
I'm NOT gloating. That would be unseemly. I'm just blogging this story from today's SFChron, about how distressed Bay Area Kerry-ites are dealing with the election's outcome. I blog. You decide.
Some highlights: a shrink says seven of his eight patients on Friday were, in the words of the reporter, "upset and frightened to the point of tears."
One woman began "eating chocolate and speaking in obscenities," another said she attempted "suicide by desert."
Someone "found her neighbor on her knees, weeping."
This is denial: A woman "refuses to take the 6-foot cardboard image of Kerry out of her Passat."
Call this apocalyptic anger: "....Penny Greenberg, who feels as if she does not belong in her own country anymore, offered, "My only consolation is that someday this planet will be a dead cinder in the universe and all the stupidity, greed, and intolerance and their sad, sad consequences will be lost to all memory."
Others still, the Chron reports, "are taking anger management classes, starting Web sites with names like 'Not a Mandate' and sending e-mails. Popular items include the text of Kerry's concession speech; a list of the names and ages of all American soldiers who died in Iraq, and rejiggered maps that attach the blue states to Canada."
Turning tail is another option. "Of those who chose flight, many meant it literally. Chris Simpkins of Oakland and his wife looked up Canada's immigration rules on the Internet and added up their assets to see if they had enough money to emigrate." One woman "is moving to France."
More constructive approaches (well, theoretically - at least) include renewed activism with groups such as NOW, Planned Parenthood, and Bring Them Home Now.
Finally, the Chron gets to the grown-up contingent of disappointed Ds.
Some who chose flight are already changing their minds, and not just because Canada is cold and New Zealand is lacking in street life.
Words of wisdom.
November 06, 2004
Some U.S. lefties want to move there now, post-11/2. Be my guest. This Canadian wanted out so bad, he stripped naked and hid in the wheel well of a Qantas jet headed from L.A. to Australia.
OK, yeah, he was bi-polar, but here's what I'm wondering. Where was that famous Canadian national health care with his meds? Or were the meds not enuf?
I know that if I lived in a country with a chain of family restaurants called "The White Spot," I'd run away screaming, too.
"Confessions Of An Ohio GOP Poll Observer"
Seems Dems spoiling for signs of "voter intimidation" in the Akron polling place Dan worked, more or less made asses of themselves. And there was, in Dan's view, some deceptive and unseemly electioneering by Ds outside, as well.
More importantly, as Dan notes, there was great pride among the overflow crowd of voters and the bi-partisan team of election judges. and...there were very few voters challenged, and very few provisional ballots that needed to be dispensed, at least at this polling place.
Great report, Dan.
"The Calculus of Mediocrity"
Way too many college kids have been coddled by K-12 public schools, and as a result, they can't do math and science. Spending more money on public schools really doesn't seem to be the answer. That's the conclusion of University of Washington profressor Cliff F. Mass, in this guest column from today's Seattle Times.
...the university gave virtually the same mathematics placement test to all freshmen from the mid-1980s until 2000; students' scores declined during this period....(and)...increasing numbers of our students have been forced to take remedial math courses prior to starting the normal college curriculum.
Mass has taught atmospheric sciences at UW for 20 years. My dad is a retired professor of social psychology at the University of Chicago, and was similarly appalled at how poorly educated, in the humanities, were his students. You need only look at the horrendous dumbing down of the second-tier "gifted" student program in the Seattle public schools (known as "Spectrum") to know that what matters above all is self-esteem and political correctness, not academic rigor.
November 05, 2004
Stranger In A Strange Land?
You're a bunch of pseudo-journo-wonks who write for Seattle's alternative, alternative, Sandinista weekly - The Stranger.
It's Election Night 2004. A Tuesday, of course, dammit. Your deadline day. A bunch of you are out on the town, "working" and drinking very heavily.
Or so the storyline goes.
And gosh, wouldn't ya just know it? Things aren't turning out quite so well. Florida, Ohio, etc.
Worse, you've got to file a staff-written piece pronto (front page teaser, "Drunkin Electoin Night Repurt"), without knowing for absolute sure just how things will turn out by Thursday, when your uber-hip, sex worker ad-laden fishwrap hits the streets.
So, you produce this piece of timeless, yet somewhat inchoate socio-cultural anthropology, sure to to forever grace the digital archives of drunken Democratic despair.
But I know you were all really sippin' herbal tea, and nibbling Fig Newmans. While channeling the imagined bar-rat angst of soused Kerry-phile losers, who - in actuality - did the real heavy lifting that ignominious evening.
Word is, several of you are actually closet Rs. And the edgy "progressive" shtik is just a marketing ploy.
You've got an image to maintain, and serve a useful function in this constipated burg. So.....I won't out The Closeted Republicans Who Run The Stranger.
Not yet, anyway.
November 03, 2004
Bush Wins, The World Reacts
C. Raja Mohan in the Indian Express, New Delhi:
Old Europe...could potentially (be) a big loser as Bush seeks to reconfigure the global balance of power. China should be regretting the decision to show its preference for Kerry during the last days of the campaign. A sullen Middle East will remain the theatre of confrontation for the forseeable future.
Channel News Asia in Singapore reports that Japan's Koizumi is coming out of the box fast, re-stating his support for the role of Bush and The U.S. in battling international terrorism. Australia's Howard, naturally, is cheered, likewise Arroyo in the Phillipines. South Korea's making appropriate noises, as well. However, here's one very special guy who's kinda cheesed:
...in Indonesia, Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is standing trial on terrorism charges, accused the United States of being "the master in this country."
The Australian's Middle East Correspondent Nicolas Rothwell observes:
Moderate Arab states, many of which have complex feelings about the Bush administration, will evaluate their prospects with care. A second-term American leader has great freedom to push his own blueprints for change, and George W. Bush's dream is for a revolutionary breakthrough to Middle East democracy.
Time's European edition offers several tidbits.
First, an egghead at The Sorbonne is worried for us - the wrath of mighty Europe may portend a mighty wind of ill for America.
The President's win "erodes the view that one must distinguish between the disliked Bush Administration and the American society we've always loved," says André Kaspi, director of the Sorbonne's North American History Center.
European disdain for America. Lordy. Pass The Prozac and Oregon Pinot Noir.
Time with more, on what Euros don't get regarding Bush's win:
Never mind that 55 million Americans voted to send Bush back to Texas. Never mind that of those who considered Iraq the country's most important issue, 74% voted for Kerry. The American conservatives — whose policies have helped push global attitudes toward the U.S. to an all-time low — have won again.Time also makes clear the U.S. and Europe have been pulling apart culturally for a while.
The plates have been slowly shifting for a long time; a U.S. that spends on defense more than twice the outlay of the E.U.'s 25 members put together, that permits the death penalty in most states, where religious fundamentalism is growing and some 35% of households own a gun, has less in common than it used to with a Europe that bans the death penalty and has grown increasingly antiwar and secular.
The grand prize for insight (seriously) goes to columnist George Kerevan of The Scotsman. This is so good I will quote it at length. However, do read the whole thing.
Here in Scotland, where the mainstream view is anti-Bush, the instant reaction will be to dismiss this other America as redneck, racist, bigoted, gun-loving and ignorant. But hold a mirror to thyself: the part of America that doggedly voted Republican on Tuesday is its ethnic Scottish-Ulster heartland. These are the descendants of the lowland yeoman folk who colonised Virginia in the 17th century, then crossed the Appalachian Mountains to open up the frontier in the 18th, joined by the refugees from the Govan slums in the 19th.
The Young And Listless
Looks like pollsters were right not to waste too much time on the cell phone-only crowd, i.e. younger voters.
"No-shows among young voters may have hurt Kerry"
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The numbers were there for John Kerry: thousands of new voters registered on his behalf, highly charged crowds at rallies, and high turnout at the polls on Election Day.
These targeted younger voters who weren't ferried to the polls, or weren't willing to wait in line for long hours, or just didn't care at all, will eventually grow older (duh!) AND learn to vote absentee. Of course, by then they'll be paying property taxes, raising children, dealing with crappy public schools, and ah, leaning Republican.
Motivation. Mmm hmm.
..as of about 11 AM EST, according to this AP story in the Seattle Times.
A few quick observations, more to come later.
*The "youth vote" strategy tanked for Kerry. No improvement over 2000. Guess all those indy rock bands, and "Bowl Against Bush" nights didn't do the trick. The GOP ground game, in contrast, was brilliant.
*The GOP has captured the mood of the country. Last night, overall, was a kick-butt night for Republicans. They picked up seats in Congress and displaced Sen. Dem. Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Governorships are also falling the GOP's way after last night (more details later), with WA in serious play for Rs for the first time since 1980 (see story below).
*The Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party is dead. Hate and ridicule don't sell.
*Values DO sell. Agree with it or not, but 11 states passed gay marriage bans. The point for Ds is not to hyperventilate over that, but to understand the concept that morality is not a dirty word. They'll need to embrace values other than abortion; diversity; Nanny-statism; provisional ballot-casting; and blaming America first, last and always.
*Bush's personna trumped Kerry's: real, steady and determined over manufactured and opportunistic.
It's a great day in America.
Long Haul for Final Gov. Count (UPDATED)
SEE ONGOING UPDATES BELOW FOR LATEST
Mama Mia! Republican Dino Rossi is pulling ahead (for good?) in the WA Gov. race, 915,212 votes to Democrat Christine Gregoire's 914,351. 99 percent of precincts reporting. This via the Seattle Times site, with numbers from AP. Hoo baby! If Rossi's lead holds, this would be a significant victory because: 1) Kerry bested Bush in WA 52% to 46%; and 2) a Republican hasn't won for Gov. here since 1980.
UPDATE 1, 8:23 AM, PST. The Times is still posting the same numbers evident at 3:30 AM, showing Rossi ahead 915,212 to Gregoire's 914,351. Here's the link, with the count certain to alter over the next fews days. A Times story this AM has Gregoire ahead by 2,000 (apparently based on older information than what's here, from elsewhere on their web site.) However, the story notes there are several hundred thousand absentee ballots left to count and many are in the Gregoire stronghold of King County, so this may bode ill for Dino. Nailbiter, for sure.
UPDATE 2, 10:34 AM, PST. Brace yourself for 4 p.m., when, according to Dino Rossi (R) For Governor policy and communications director Mary Lane (to whom I just spoke), King County will release the tally of 100,000 absentee or otherwise uncounted ballots. Lane says King County will ALSO have another 250,000 uncounted ballots to tote up after that, which could take another day or two (I'm guessing). Though Christine Gregoire (D) has been carrying (and will carry) King County strongly over Rossi, Lane says all Rossi needs is to come out at 41 percent in King County to hold his slim lead overall.
I hope I'm wrong, but with the two candidates in a virtual dead heat, and King County going so heavily for Gregoire, I'd have to think another 350K uncounted ballots from King could swing it to her. If so, everyone better remember to heap abuse on the Libertarian candidate Ruth Bennett (or more precisely, her party) whose feel-good exercise in civics and utterly fruitless brand-building (along with their two percent of the vote) will have cost the GOP the Governor's mansion.
There are OTHER uncounted ballots from counties outside King, reportedly 350K to 650K, by some estimates.
UPDATE 3, 1:06 PM, PST: In an e-mail responding to this post, Lane comments:
Right now we're happy with the way things are going in King (Dino's doing well in non-Seattle King County), and we're expecting good things from other counties across the state. Remember, Dino's poll numbers started going up late last week and through the weekend, so we expect the later absentee counts to trend Dino's way.
Good to hear from you Mary, thanks.
UPDATE 4, 5:07 PM, PST. 100K King County absentees stirred into the mix have yielded a 15,496 vote lead for Gregoire at the moment, out of more than 1.93 million counted so far. Hundreds of thousands more to come, many from climes less hospitable for Gregoire than King County, which she carried strongly.
Here's the vote tally link.
Talk about too close to call! FYI, an automatic recount is triggered if the final victory margin is less than half a percentage point. We could be headed that way.
A New Day....
...dawns in Seattle with Bush one electoral vote away from re-election. Look to New Mexico, Nevada and perhaps Iowa. He just needs one. Via the WaPo (free reg. req.) here's what we've got:
New Mexico: Bush 52-47, with 97% of precincts counted. NBC is just reporting they won't call it for Bush yet because his lead is about 30K votes, while there are anywhere from 100K to 200K votes left to count there.
Nevada: Bush 50-48, with 83 percent of precincts in. UPDATE: ABC just called NV for Bush, but they're mulishly not calling OH for him. Meanwhile NBC isn't calling NV for Bush, so NOBODY is putting him over quite yet.
Iowa: Bush 50-49, with 99 % of precincts reporting.
In the WA Gov. race, although D-Christine Gregoire has a narrow, narrow lead over R-Dino Rossi of less than one point this second, it's not looking great. All counties except sparsely-populated Asotin are are posting results that look to be unofficial finals. She could have it in the bag, barring a recount. Unless, somehow, there are caches of uncounted absentees that'll swing it Dino's way. Hope so. If Gregoire does nail it, blame it on supporters of Libertarian Gov. candidate Ruth Bennett. Her two percent would have otherwise gone mostly to Rossi and likely clinched it for him.
UPDATE, 2:00 AM. D-Gregoire up by 32 votes(!) over R-Rossi for WA Gov., with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Recount, anyone? And, should there be bi-partisan review of provisional ballots in Gregoire's stronghold of Seattle/King County? Methinks...The Seattle Times link, via AP, seems the most up-to-date for the vote count in this race.
WA ballot initiatives, results and textlinks to full descriptions of the measures, here. Highlights: state law passed last spring for charters schools is overturned (an egregious mistake by Soviet Of WA voters); a sales tax hike to flush more money down the public school toilet is defeated (smart); the modified open primary is approved (Bravo!); Indian reservations get to keep their legislated monopoly on slot machines (bad move).
November 02, 2004
The Fat Lady is Singing
SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE EVENING.
QUICK UPDATE UP TOP***10:02 PM, PST. BUSH TAKES FL, OH...He's sewing it up!***Seattle monorail recall, I-83, tanking....). OhYeah!
4:54 PM, PST. Let's start off tonight with a few places you may want to check in, for updated election results.
Washington State Sec. of State elections site, results posted after 8 p.m. PST.
My colleague Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics will be live blogging at that site tonight, from the Washington State GOP election night HQ in Bellevue.
King County elections site (Seattle and some suburbs).
Seattle Times, "The Booth" politics page, with updated news and links to election result sites.
Right now (it's just before 5 pm PST as I type this) RCP is reporting Bush has taken Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia; Kerry wins Vermont. No big surprises there. Very early. No huge outcry yet over diffculties for voters. Long lines in Ohio, no major cries of "foul" yet in Florida. We'll hold our breath on that count.
UPDATE 1: 5:28 PM, PST: The P-I is reporting that so far Bush has won seven states with 57 electoral votes, and Kerry nine states with 43 EVs.
UPDATE 2: 5:41, PST. Of course, the Bush-Kerry numbers are already changing. Bush still slightly ahead in EVs. Early, early early. No swing states decided yet. Long night coming. Absentees could be crucial in Florida, automatic recount if margin 1 % or less.
UPDATE 3: 5:47 PM, PST. NBC: 102-77 Bush lead in EVs. Still no swing states called.
UPDATE 4: 5:53 PM, PST. NBC: Florida, 56-43% Bush with 35% of the vote in.
UPDATE 5: 6:38 PM, PST. NBC: Bush 53%, Kerry 46% in FL, 55% of the vote in there. 171-112 lead in EVs for Bush, still fairly meaningless, as no swing states called yet. Now NBC says 53-47 Bush in FL, with 65 percent counted (6:46 PM, PST).
UPDATE 8, 8:53 PM, PST. CNN link to live results from Ohio: Bush 52-48, 64% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 9, State of WA election results site, Governor's race results page: Dino Rossi (R) in lead for WA Gov, 51-48 over Christine Gregoire (D). Doesn't say what percentage of precincts counted. Some 618,000 votes tallied in this race so far. Still relatively early.
UPDATE 10, 9:14 PM, PST: THINGS CHANGING FAST, trending Gregoire (D) for WA Gov. over Rossi (R). Now, with 873,000 votes counted, she's up 50-47. Patty Murray (D) creaming George Nethercutt (R) in WA U.S. Senate race. 51-46 for (R) Dave Reichert over (D) Dave Ross, U.S. House, Dist 8 (Jennifer Dunn-R, retiring). Good chunk of votes in, they're not saying what percentage, but trending Reichert (R).
UPDATE 12, 10:02 PM, PST. WA GOV. race tighter now, Gregoire 49.6, Rossi 48.3. Bush takes OH, has 269 EVs, it's all but done.
UPDATE 13, 11:21 PST. Put a fork in I-83, the Seattle Monorail recall initiative. It's being rejected by 63% of the voters, with 89% of precincts reporting. Seattle liberals are good for something, after all. Viva The Seattle Monorail. Coming Soon: Regional Monorail...? YeahBaby. Tax me, tax me.
November 01, 2004
Election Eve Nuggets
In Osama's latest videotape, he seems to be specifically threatening states that go for Bush. More from World Magazine's blog. Let's see what MSM dares do with this Tuesday. It's news and oughta be front page all over, but it'll get shuffled to the bottom of the deck most places because it could seriously help Bush capture some swing states. Us Amurikins just don't cotton to that Jihadist Gangsta sh**.
Dave Pell at Electablog forecasts a decisive Kerry victory.
If Kerry does win "reasonably fair" and "reasonably square," Bob Hayes at the Bush-friendly blog, Let's Try Freedom, says he'll take it like a man. That means accepting that the victor is our nation's legitimate leader; your president and mine. Disagree on policy and politics, yes. Issue partisan gibes even. But don't, Hayes says, lapse into the mindset of the Clinton-haters and the Bush-haters who attacked the right of the President to hold office. That's good advice for angry Ds who'll badly need to turn over a new leaf should Bush win re-election. Or even if he doesn't.
Speaking of angry Ds........
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