As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Freedom of Religion

There is a choice in this election. According to the Republican Party, the choice is between the Word of God and the Auto da Fe:

The Republican Party acknowledged yesterday sending mass mailings to residents of two states warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. It said the mailings were part of its effort to mobilize religious voters for President Bush.

The mailings include images of the Bible labeled "banned" and of a gay marriage proposal labeled "allowed." A mailing to Arkansas residents warns: "This will be Arkansas if you don't vote." A similar mailing was sent to West Virginians.

They never even mentioned that liberals plan to perform public burnings of Christian heretics in the town square. Why are they holding back?

What's saddest is that this type of thing resonates. Not to any normal person, mind you, but to the kind of people that call in to C-SPAN:

PETER SLEN, HOST: Kenner, Louisiana, good morning.

CALLER (in a very airy voice): Good morning. I’m going to vote for President Bush because, after all, you know, God made us there, you know, in His image, free from any black color and all [Host looks up, surprised]. The only church that Kerry can go to is where they say the Black Mass, and that is in the Merriam-Webster Pocket Book dictionary, where it says that that is the devil worshippers. [Host looks uncomfortably off-camera, at producer?] I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry.e every effort to give you the same booth again, or very nearSo, definitely, I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry. And that isn’t the only reason. Also, in the Bible, God said … God … that, uh, also, like (unintelligible) and faggots, that he says, anybody that lays down with another man and has sex with his own sex, and any woman that lays down with another woman and has sex should be put to death and their blood upon them. It also says that about interracial marriages and everything. So that’s the reason why I’m voting for my president, Bush.

SLEN: What do you do in, uh …

CALLER: And that isn’t the only reason. They also have other reasons also. The other reason is political, because like the political terrorists, they’ve been out there for eight months, and they’ve been out on the road, and they’ve been talking about … they’ve talked against our president. They put him down in every way. And God knows that that is wrong. He’s out there doing God’s work. He’s taking care of all our children. Like when Clinton was in, he made – he tried to make whores and faggots out of our little girls – whores out of our little girls. He put the pornography in the schools. And God’s gonna condemn him for that.

SLEN: What do you do in Kenner?

CALLER (talking over question): And that’s the reason why … he even went to the hospital and everything.

SLEN: Caller, what do you do in Kenner, Louisiana?

CALLER: Pardon me?

SLEN: What do you do in Kenner? Do you have a job?

CALLER: I’m a housewife.

SLEN: A housewife? Where do you go to church?

CALLER: I go to different churches. I go to, sometimes, in New Orleans, I go to the Cathedral. And I believe in my God, and I know that God is here to protect everybody. And if Kerry comes in … God helped the whole world, because God loved … Kerry … oh, that’s another thing …

SLEN (cutting her off): Thanks, caller. I’m afraid – I’m afraid we’re out of time.

When Rumsfeld said that a partial election is better than no election at all, maybe this is what he meant; an election of the partially sane.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Iyad Allawi is Dick Cheney

I mean, have you ever seen the two of them in the same place at the same time? And they're both balding. They both have the capacity to kill (OK, I'm guessing in Cheney's case). And they both think Saddam is responsible for 9/11:

JIM LEHRER: What would you say to somebody in the United States who questions whether or not getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the cost of more than a thousand lives now and billions and billions of U.S. dollars?

PRIME MINISTER IYAD ALLAWI: Well, I assure you if Saddam was still there, terrorists will be hitting there again at Washington and New York, as they did in the murderous attack in September; they'll be hitting also on other places in Europe and the Middle East.

Maybe Allawi is the "foreign intelligence source" Cheney is getting all of his discredited information from! It certainly looks like Allawi has learned how to scare the American electorate quickly; not surprising, I guess, since he's learning from the masters.

Josh Marshall was on a roll yesterday, including this killer note regarding Cheney's defense of his evil(er?) twin:

This afternoon, after John Kerry said that Iyad Allawi was painting an overly rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, Dick Cheney said "John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished, and his words are destructive to our effort in Iraq and in the global war on terror."

In other words, democracy in America is harmful to building democracy in Iraq.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Let's Just Have the Election in Texas!

That's basically what Donald Rumsfeld said today in front of Congress, regarding Iraq. Directly contradicting Prime Minister Allawi and President Bush's rosy statements on the upcoming elections, Rumsfeld said:

"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

"Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said.

I'll bet somewhere in the Pentagon, there's a list of exactly what 3/4 or 4/5 of America the Bush Administration would want to vote. I think the Great Plains and the South would be included.

Seriously, this is democracy on the march? A 3/4 Compromise?

Meanwhile, the most respected leader in the whole country has serious doubts about holding elections:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 22 - Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the nation's most powerful Shiite leader, is growing increasingly concerned that nationwide elections could be delayed, his aides said, and has even threatened to withdraw his support for the elections unless changes are made to increase the representation of Shiites, according to one Iraqi source close to him.

According to people with knowledge of the talks, Ayatollah Sistani is concerned that the nascent democratic process here is falling under the control of a handful of the largest political parties, which cooperated with the American occupation and are comprised largely of exiles.

I think the Times spelled "exiles" wrong. It should go "puppets." Pronounced the same, however.


Something in the Air

What is going on today?  What's in the water of the press corps?

Judy Woodruff just asked Marc Racicot, in reference to the ridiculous "windsurfing" ad, "Bush has flip-flopped on gay marriage, on the 9/11 Commission, on the creation of a National Intelligence Director.  Isn't Bush as much of a flip-flopper as Kerry?"

I'll bet that was the first time ANYONE has asked ANY member of the Bush campaign that one.  And it showed, because Racicot was flustered, then stammered something out about how there are a lot of aspects to a vote (sounding far more weaselly than Kerry operatives ever have).

Guess Judy has been reading the Center for American Progress press releases.  Or this website.

The worm is turning.  We're winning.



Still within the MOE, but we're up by 2 in Iowa.

Andy and Jana Heiting-Doane, both 22, were at the doors of the Polk County election office when it opened at 8 a.m. They filled out two absentee ballots, later telling reporters they had voted for Kerry, as part of an event carefully choreographed by the Iowa Democratic Party.

Absentee ballots are incredibly important this election year, especially given the outright suppression of the overseas vote. After lots of pressure, the Pentagon lifted the blocks to accessing a site designed to help overseas voters vote.

The agency said the changes were made in response to concerns that some U.S. citizens living abroad and trying to access the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Web site were blocked by security measures to deter hackers.

Overseas voter advocates said people in at least two dozen countries had been blocked from the site.

The Pentagon said the changes would make the site accessible to most users, but would not automatically guarantee 100 percent access, adding that protective measures were necessary to protect the Defense Department network.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program site offers U.S. military personnel and American civilians living abroad information about voting by absentee ballot in the Nov. 2 election, with links to state election sites.

So if you need one, get your absentee ballots NOW. I hear that Overseas Voter is good for those abroad, Just Vote for those stateside.


Full Court Press

The President just had his first press conference in a long while, with Prime Minister Allawi at his side. It didn't help him. The press was relentless, and Bush looked completely out of touch.

An NBC reporter asked more than once "Do you understand why Americans don't believe you when you say Iraq is doing well?" Bush's answer was basically "No." It was hilarious.

John King of CNN asked why Bush said the recent NIE was "just guessing" about the situation on the ground in Iraq. Bush just admitted that he used "an unfortunate word" when he said guessing.

CBS News called him on saying that "just a handful" of insurgrents want to kill people in Iraq.

The press has found its backbone.

Update [2004-9-23 12:48:35 by dday]: Terry Moran just asked "You are speaking for the Iraqi people, but polls show that they are dissatisfied with the occupation. How can you speak for these people?" Bush just inexplicably admitted that the right track/wrong track numbers in Iraq are BETTER than in America. This one is unbelievable. I think you'll be hearing about it until November 2.

Update [2004-9-23 12:53:46 by dday]: He also repeated the lie that 10 million Afghans are registered to vote (when there are only 9.8 eligible Afghan voters).

Then, "I hoped we could resolve it (Iraq) diplomatically." -gwb

This would be fun if it wasn't so sad.

Now he's peddling the talking point about how the terrorists want to affect the elections.

Update [2004-9-23 13:2:14 by dday]: Rahm Emanuel is hammering the presser. "If you don't think you have a problem, then you won't be able to come up with a situation. Doing the same thing and expecting different results means you do not have a handle on what is going on in Iraq." Ileana Ross-Lehtinen is toeing the party line: "Can't send a mixed signal... stay the course... support the troops..."


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Fighting the Real Enemy

Cat Stevens is being deported.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former pop singer Cat Stevens, a Muslim, will be deported to Britain because his activities could be "linked to terrorism," a U.S. official says.

A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said the United States had information that Islam, who visited the United States in May, had donated money to the militant Islamic group Hamas.

Islam was denied entry to Israel in 2000 after the authorities there accused him of supporting Hamas. The former pop star denied the charges and said his charitable donations were for humanitarian causes.

"Yusuf Islam is perhaps one of the most widely known and respected personalities in the Muslim world. He has a long history of promoting peace and reconciliation and condemning terrorism," said Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR.

Islam was the second high-profile Muslim in recent months to be barred entry to the United States. Swiss-based Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan was prevented from taking up a lecturing post at Notre Dame University in Indiana in August after the U.S. authorities revoked his visa with no explanation.

CAIR said treating mainstream and moderate Muslims as terrorists sent the wrong message. "This does not help the war on terrorism, it just makes it harder," Awad told a news conference.

Well, it's a good thing that we're not specifically targeting Muslims in this War on Terror, or else this kind of thing might look suspect. Seriously, you wonder why we're having trouble winning hearts and minds in the Islamic world...


Kerry sounds awful... literally speaking

Just heard a speech in Florida. He's lost his voice completely. Better button that up before the debates.

However, the attack has sharpened in direct proportion with how the voice has weakened, particularly on Iraq. Given that, I don't think there's any need to even address Bush campign commercials, as Mike McCurry and others did today. I agree with Jeffrey Dubner on this one; it makes you look like a whiner, and it distracts from the debate. So what if they're using footage of Kerry windsurfing in some commercial? If anything, it reflects badly on the GOP for making jokes while thousands die in Iraq. When Kerry said "people are being beheaded" yesterday at his excellent press conference, that marked a turning point. It said to America, "This is serious business, folks. We need serious leadership."

I'm all for lampooning the other side, but at this stage of the game it almost comes off like laughing during a funeral. So why even address it? Let it die on the vine.


Listen to Me

I'm busy as hell at work this week (in fact, expect light posting), but I wanted to mention that an interview I recorded back in July is being rerun today at 3:00pm ET (12:00pm PT) in Internet radio (oh yeah, I've hit the big time). The show is called "The Process," and you can find it at I talk about the writing process, stand-up comedy (which I write and perform), and the blog.



Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Naturally Stoned

Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative, has been tagged by the DNC as a possible source of the allegedly forged Bush/TANG documents. Stone refused to deny the story in today's New York Post. Here's a link to the full story.

According to this DNC press release, GOP talking heads have cancelled a bunch of press appearances.

In the last several hours, the Bush campaign has also cancelled scheduled appearances by Dan Bartlett on cable networks this evening. These cancellations came as the Bush operatives refused to appear live alongside Kerry campaign official Joe Lockhart.

That's quite a counter-attack. They must know Lockhart would bring it up. At least the DNC is sinking their teeth in and won't let go, muddying the waters, a classic RNC technique.

Add this to what's already known, that the White House said to CBS they would not challenge the authenticity of the documents, prompting CBS to stop their attempts to authenticate. It's Dirty Tricks 101, you have to admit that. Who knows if we'll ever know the story. One thing we have learned is this: don't go to air with photocopies. That's just dumb.


They were just guessing

According to the President, having all the information on the ground and making a detailed study of the probable outcomes is called guessing.

Bush, in a subsequent meeting with Allawi, all but dismissed a CIA report leaked last week that offered a gloomy outlook in Iraq with the worst scenario a civil war.

"The CIA laid out several scenarios. It said that life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like," he said. "The Iraq citizens are defying the pessimistic predictions."

Was the CIA "guessing" when they outlined where the WMD were in Iraq?... oh yeah, I suppose they were. Talk about picking and choosing. The 2002 and 2003 NIE was solid, but this year's version is simply "guessing."


Monday, September 20, 2004

Monday in brief

I wasn't able to post all day... too busy with other projects. But here were the big stories of the day, as I saw it:

1) John Kerry's speech on Iraq at NYU: in the same site where Al Gore ripped into the Bush Administration for their prosecution of the war in Iraq, John Kerry was slightly more muted, but no less impassioned, as he took apart the failures and tragedies that have befallen us since we invaded Baghdad in March of 2003. I was emailed a transcript of the speech by the Kerry campaign (which I thought was a nice touch, and they've never done that before, so obviously they've decided on this as the major theme of the last 40-odd days). His three-sentence defense of his vote on the Iraq War Resolution is the most succinct I've ever heard:

Two years ago, Congress was right to give the president the authority to use force to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. This president, any president, would have needed that threat of force to act effectively. This president misused that authority.

And he outlines exactly why Bush misused the authority. We all know the arguments, but it was great to see them lined up in a row. The speech kicked quite a bit o' ass. You can go read it right here.

After that, Kerry appeared on Letterman (which hasn't aired yet here on the West Coast), then took in a bushel full of money at a fund-raiser. Not a bad day.

2) Bush's response to Kerry's tough talk on Iraq is comical, as Atrios notes: Bush says Kerry's plan is the same as his, AND Kerry wants to retreat. So George, are you saying YOU want to cut and run in Iraq? Well, that's what Bob Novak says you're saying, in private.

3) CBS mea culpa: I almost feel like I put my credibility on the line in defending CBS over the allegedly forged TANG documents used in their story about Bush's service. They were, incidentally, not central to the story. If the story was an interview with Ben Barnes, we're not having this discussion. If they would have had Col. Killian's secretary, Marianne Knox, on the record in that first story, we're not having this discussion. And the story would have been unquestioned. (Well, it would have been labeled "partisan,' but that doesn't address the facts.) But the documents were in there, and now CBS has admitted that they can't prove their authenticity. Far be it from me to disrupt the gloating party over at Instapundit and Free Republic, but before so go on to ask for Dan Rather to be fired, tell me who's firing you sought in the scandal over forged documents from Niger being the basis of a faulty sentence in the 2003 State of the Union address. The hypocrisy is stunning.

4) The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on the confirmation of Porter Goss as CIA Director tomorrow. John Edwards is on that committee, and I think the campaign could have gotten some mileage out of his questioning of Goss. Doesn't look like that'll happen.

5) The debates have been confirmed, and there will be three of them. Boy, George Bush is just going to kick his ass, right? Kerry might as well not even show up! He can't even string two words together! What a slaughter...

There, you're up to date.