So many heads, so few pikes.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bush Has Lost PA 

We drove today from our home just outside of Pittsburgh to Indiana, PA, 40-50 miles away to the northwest. Once we got onto PA state route 286, we decided to take a totally unscientific survey of presidential road signs from Monroeville (where we got onto 286) until Ellen's parents' house in Indiana. This is a pretty rural area. Lots of hunting and fishing to be done. This is some of the area that James Carville was referring to when he described Pennsylvania as "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and Alabama in between." This is, in short, Bush Country.

We counted multiple signs in one yard (or in one immediate area, such as a patch of public road near a country intersection) as one sign -- one person or family's approval of a given candidate.

Total signs: 31.
Bush/Cheney: 7 (22.5%)
Kerry/Edwards: 24 (77.5%)

And no, no Kerry - Specter signs, by the way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The earpiece thing 

So here's my feeling about the earpiece thing. I genuinely don't care if the President has an audio prompter into his ear during public speeches. Maybe Bush is dyslexic and can't read and speak well simultaneously. Maybe he's got weak eyesight but doesn't want to be seen with glasses or contacts. Whatever. It really doesn't bother me in the slightest -- the stuff is assistive technology in that case.

But in a debate? No. This is cheating. Even if it were explicitly allowed-for in the debate rules, it's cheating. We want to see the candidate, not the candidate plus the secret whispers of his advisers. We're voting for the guy, not his hidden staff.

Even if, I dunno, I guess we're getting his advisers and secret staff if we elect the candidate. I still don't like it.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Shocked, shocked 

I haven't seen anyone else comment on the fact that the FBI obviously buried the Franklin story by revealing it after 6pm on a Friday night. Sure, the liblog-o-sphere is running with it, and there're good articles on msnbc.com and in the Washington Monthly, but is the Real Media going to run anywhere with it? It won't have any legs, because the FBI kicked the legs out from under it with its choice of release date. Mmmm, politicized espionage investigations. Lovely.

Friday, July 23, 2004





Tuesday, July 13, 2004

And Another Thing God Dammit 

So I had a choice to make: Either take the word of a madman, or defend America. Given that choice, I will defend America every time.

I call bullshit. That wasn't your choice, George. Your choice was to allow America's intelligence agencies to interpret data they'd received fairly and honestly, or push them to reach impossible conclusions based on decisions you'd already made. I don't know if your base would have tolerated it if you'd said "So I had a choice to make: Either stand firm with the decision I'd made before receiving any intelligence from anyone, in January of 2001 when I took office, or allow a madman to remain in office." They might have. The rest of us wouldn't have, of course. We shouldn't tolerate this either.

Abu Ghraib 

From the NYT, I think:

Among the more shocking exchanges revealed in the Taguba classified annexes are a series of E-mails sent by Maj. David Dinenna of the 320th MP Battalion. The E-mails, sent in October and November to Maj. William Green of the 800th MP Brigade and copied to the higher chain of command, show a frantic attempt to simply get the detainees at Abu Ghraib edible food. Dinenna pressed repeatedly for food that wouldn't make prisoners vomit. He criticized the private food contractor for shorting the facility on hundreds of meals a day and for providing food containing bugs, rats, and dirt. "As each day goes by, tension within the prison population increases," Dinenna wrote. " . . . Simple fixes, food, would help tremendously." Instead of getting help, Major Green scolded him. "Who is making the charges that there is dirt, bugs, or whatever in the food?" Major Green replied in an E-mail. "If it is the prisoners, I would take that with a grain of salt." Dinenna shot back: "Our MP s, medics, and field surgeon can easily identify bugs, rats, and dirt, and they did."

I'll be honest here. I can understand the skepticism on the part of Maj. Green (unless he was working at AG himself). But I would really like to know what company was the private food contractor. And have those people strung up.

Monday, July 12, 2004


New logging rules. Great.

So, it goes like this: The Forestry Service now says that it's up to governors, not the feds, as to whether or not a particular patch of virgin federal forest can be logged, roads built in it, oil and gas mined from it, etc. But let's remember: once you've built a road into a stretch of forest, you can't un-build it. Once you've logged and/or strip mined the motherfucker, it's gone. You can't undo that.

Now the feds know that if they said "go get 'em, boys," and just cut loose federal forests across the country, the Goddamned Hippies would be up in arms, and they'd take a lot of abuse for it, and they might even lose some of the outdoorsmen who see the GOP as a better home than the Democratic Party (and who like their wilderness relatively unspoiled, for hunting and fishing, hiking, camping, etc).

But most federal forest land is out in the west -- 12 states that tend to lean pretty well (small-L) libertarian Republican. By turning over the decisions on foresting and energy prospecting to governors of the affected states, the GOP can say "well we didn't do anything to harm those forests, we turned control of that decision over to the local authorities." And governors out there tend to be pretty well in tune with natural-resource-industry concerns, so they'll scratch the back that got 'em there, and turn over the forests to the energy and timber industries.

And even if the governors don't do it right away, well hey, they've got time. Remember our thesis: You can't un-build a road. So even if only one governor a year turns over his state's virgin forests to the timber and energy industries, it isn't as though subsequent governors are going to turn back on that. It may take a few years, patchwork, but the GOP has just successfully turned over the nation's federal forests to the energy and timber industries.

Thanks, George! Thanks, Dick!

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