Saturday, August 21, 2004

Medal count

No, not more trenchant unfutz Olympics commentary. From Democratic Undergound, a medal count of a completely different kind:


Silver Star (Verified via DD214)
Bronze Star (Should have Bronze Combat "V" Device, Verified via DD214)
Purple Heart (Should have two Gold Star devices for subsequent awards, Verified via DD214)
Combat Action Ribbon (Verified via DD214)
Presidential Unit Citation (Verified via DD215, worn above left pocket per Navy regs)
Navy Unit Commendation (Verified via DD215)
National Defense Service Medal (Verified via DD214)
Vietnam Service Medal(Verified via DD214, w/four bronze star devices verified via DD215)
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (Verified via DD215)
Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation (Verified via DD215)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (Verified via DD215)


Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (verified via photograph only)
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (verified via photograph only)

Comparing in order of precedence, The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award falls below Kerry's Navy Unit Commendation and above his National Defense Service Medal. The Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon falls between Kerry's Vietnam Service Medal and his Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.

Update (8/23): More on dKos.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/21/2004 11:53:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Why Bush and not Kerry?

As I mentioned, I've been watching a lot of NBC's Olympic coverage, and one thing that happens when you do that is that you see the same commercials over and over again. That's not a big annoyance to me, really, because in my household we're pretty rigorous about "zapping" commercials whenever possible, either by simply muting the sound so we don't have to be distracted by them, or by keeping another channel active and switching to it during the commercial breaks. (This comes in handy when NBC's coverage is being carried by two channels simultaneously, or when I'm trying to watch a Yankees or Mets game at the same time. In fact, it's a technique I perfected while watching both the Yankees and Mets at the same time.)

But, still, even with decent zapping discipline, a lot of advertisements get through, and I've noticed that the only political ones that I've seen while watching the Olympics have been for Bush -- I haven't seen a single ad for Kerry.

Now, New York is not a swing state, nor is New Jersey or Connecticut, the other two states covered by the metropolitan New York market, so it's unlikely that the Bush ads are local, originating with my local stations or my cable company. It's almost certain that they're national buys seeking the broad audience that the Olympics presumably brings in. (These ads may well being transmitted only on cable, and not via the NBC broadcast network, since I can't recall which channel I saw them on, and NBC's using 4 cable channels - Bravo, USA, MSNBC and CNBC - for their auxiliary coverage)

So my question is, other than perhaps having less money to spend on advertising, why is Kerry not advertising on the Olympics if Bush's people feel that it's worthwhile for him to do so?

(Incidentally, for all those who might be concerned about my mental health, I have been able to mute or witch away from the Bush commercials quickly enough that their memes weren't able to enter my brain and turn it to mush.

I also spent an entertaining few minutes using the pause capability of my DVR to find the places in one ad where Bush looked the silliest, and where his wife displayed a nice "I don't believe he's saying this stuff" expression. I believe the ad was the bizarre one about parents having to decide which child to pick up first on the morning of 9/11, which, along with some other bloggers, I don't understand at all.

But whatever ad it was I was fooling around with, there's a moment when Laura Bush breaks off from looking appreciatively at her husband, closes her eyes and drops her head down as if she's looking at the floor, or his crotch, or anywhere but at his mouth where the words are coming from. I'm no expert, but I believe that her inability to maintain her visual connection with Bush may well be a not-so subtle "tell" which reveals that she's aware that he's lying.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/21/2004 11:25:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


The Bitch Slap Theory

Josh Marshall unveils his Bitch Slap Theory, which is basically that the point of all the hard-hitting smears against Kerry by Bush surrogates is not only to take the luster off of Kerry's record, but also to show in a subliminal way that Kerry is weak because his response to the attacks hasn't been strong enough, and in this way reduce the perception that Kerry will be strong against terrorism.

I think there's a lot to say for that.

(Actually, I don't have much of anything to add -- I just wanted to title an entry "The Bitch Slap Theory."

Objectively speaking, looking at the evidence, there's nothing at all behind the Swift Boat smears, so I feel as inclined to debunk them as I do to prove that the earth isn't flat, evolution is true, and that the moon landings weren't filmed on a terrestrial desert. I understand, though, that politically and in terms of social psychology, it's perilous to not debunk them and leave them standing uncountered, but Marshall, Kevin Drum, Atrios, Bob Somerby, Slate and others are doing fine work on that and don't need my assistance.)

Update (8/22): Digby recommends eriposte and Daily Beast for their coverage of the Swift Boat Vets lies.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/21/2004 04:59:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Friday, August 20, 2004


I'm backdating an entry so I have a record that sometime on the 20th the weblog passed the 20,000 visitor mark.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/20/2004 10:56:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Hello, random readers!

For all of you who've stopped in for a quick look by using the "Next Blog" button on Blogger's new navbar (which sends you to a random Blogger-hosted weblog), welcome!

I'm sure for many of you unfutz just isn't your thing, but what the heck, we're here if you're interested in this stuff. Read a little and, if you'd like, leave a comment before you go.

Update (8/23): So far, no comments, but that's fine. However, I'm beginning to get a little nervous about Blogger's removal of the ads from the top of their free blogs. When they had the ads there, I understood (I thought) why this free service was offered -- because it was, I assumed, being paid for by the ads. But now the ads aren't there, so what's paying for this "free" hosting? Should I be expecting some drastic change, such as the dropping of the free hosting entirely?

As I said, it's got me worried.

Update (8/26): The answer is here. Blogger is making its ads voluntary and cutting in the blog's proprietor for a cut of the action. I don't believe I'll be taking advantage of this opportunity. [Thanks to Eliot for the cite.]

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/19/2004 11:36:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


For New Yorkers

One more thing about watching the Olympics: those of you who aren't in the NYC area at least aren't being pounded over the head during the Olympic coverage with ads that attempt to raise guilt over the question of the proposed new west side stadium in Manhattan (and what follows isn't going to make a lot of sense, or hold a lot of interest to anyone but New Yorkers). Seems if we don't build the stadium, poor Olympic athletes around the world will have nowhere to go in 2012. ("If you don't build it, they can't come.") The ads are paid for by the New Jersey Jets, who would be the primary beneficiary of the new facility.

My feeling is that the stadium would completely screw up the west side, which is already pretty screwed up as it is, because nothing whatsoever is being done to deal with the transportation issue. My memory is that the last time the city built a major new stasium (Shea Stadium in Queens, for the Mets and the Jets, built in conjunction with the 1963 World's Fair), they also upgraded the highways going into the area, and made sure to locate it near a subway line. The proposed west side stadium has no such infrastructure improvements attached to it.

Build a new west side subway at the same time, as part of the overall project, add massive parking garages in New Jersey to prevent more cars from coming into Manhattan (with a subway shuttle line bringing them to the stadium and connecting them to the system), and perhaps you've got a package that makes sense. Of course, it would be exorbitantly expensive, but at least it would make sense.

Bloomberg and the Jets want to believe that simply building the stadium will attract new jobs and new sources of income for the city, but that's pretty much wishful thinking. As far as I know, this has not been consistently the case where other new stadia have been constructed.

I'm not automatically opposed to development, I realize that a city, especially one like New York, has to grow and change, but as far as the stadium goes, as things stand now, I'm agin' it.

And when Steinbrenner starts talking about replacing Yankee Stadium, all I can say to him is Fuhgeddabowdit!. Never happen.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/19/2004 04:45:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Lead is a lead is a lead

Thanks to Kevin Drum for confirming what I always suspected, that just because a candidate's lead in a poll falls within the poll's margin of error doesn't mean it's not significant, and doesn't mean it's not a real lead. In the example Kevin uses as an exemplar, Kerry is ahead of Bush by 2% in a poll with a margin of error of 3%. What's the significance of that?

Using formulas provided by two math professors, it turns out that there's a 75% percent chance in that instance that Kerry's lead is significant, that he really is ahead of Bush, and the lead is not due to sampling error.

Obviously, with a different lead or a different margin of error, the chance that the lead is significant changes, but Kevin provides a handy matrix (and the small Excel spreadsheet that generated it) to use to figure things out.

Update: More on this, from TruthIsAll, here.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/19/2004 01:32:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Bush wants to be your shrink?

Roger also recently brought this to my attention, and I'm not sure what to make of it. It's a piece by Jordanne Graham ("a writer and researcher in the Midwest [...] doing all she can to protect the country and the environment") published on the website of Intervention Magazine, and is accompanied by a picture of Bush that makes him look incredibly evil and Richard Nixonish:

Next month, President Bush plans to unveil a broad new mental health plan called the “New Freedom Initiative.” Never mind that it couldn’t have less to do with freedom; if you’re a thinking American, this initiative should scare the hell out of you.

The New Freedom Initiative proposes to screen every American, including you, for mental illness. To this end, the president established a New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, to study the nation’s mental health delivery service and make a report. It’s interesting to note that many on the staff appointed to the Commission have served on the advisory boards of some of the nation’s largest drug companies.

The commission reported that “despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed,” so it recommended comprehensive mental health screening for “consumers of all ages,” including preschool children because “each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders.”

Children and school personnel will be the first to be screened. The panel concluded that schools are in “key positions” to screen the 52 million students and six million adults who work at the schools. By doing this, the commission expects to flush out another six million persons not now receiving treatment. But who will decide the screening criteria? Bush and his people? The drug companies? What are their qualifications?

One recommendation of the commission was that the screening be linked with “treatment and supports,” using “specific medications for specific conditions.” It is no coincidence that the treatments recommended for specific conditions are the newest state-of-the-art treatments that will bring in the most revenues for the drug companies. One of these emerging treatments is a capsule implanted within the body that delivers doses of medication without the patient having to swallow pills or take injections. If a government wanted to exert control of its citizens, think of the implications of using this device.

Now, obviously, it's hardly unknown for governments to use the treatment of "mental illness" as a device for controlling elements of the population that are considered dangerous to the powers that be (see the work of Thomas Szasz), but this report seems on the edge of being tin-foil-hattish to me, so I literally don't know what to think about it. Perhaps some of the readers of unfutz who are mental-health professionals can read the whole thing and post their comments here?

Update (8/22): Eliot Gelwan, proprietor of the Follow Me Here weblog, "the Oliver Sacks of weblogging" (according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), unfutz reader and practicing psychiatrist has posted his thoughts. Here's his concluding paragraph:

In short, the report is a puff piece that is not likely to turn into implementable policy. To the extent that it is, I think the concerns about "Bush wanting to be your shrink" are kneejerk alarmism. Although there are a range of issues about which to be concerned in the report, they are not the ones upon which the critics have so far focused. And while, in one alarmist's turn of phrase, "your first great freedom, the power to control your own thoughts, ... (and) your secondary freedom of being able to control the approval for your own medical treatments" are indeed important frontiers of modern freedom, the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health does not represent the immediate threat to them it is made out to be. Besides, Ashcroft will not be in charge of the mental health screening, and Bush and his intiiative will be out of office in January in any case, right?

There's a lot more of substance to Eliot's thoughts, of course, so hop on over and take a look.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/18/2004 09:55:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Roger on strategy for the debates

Dear Ed,

Now we turn our attention to the presidential debates to be held in a month or two. How many will there be? Between whom? How will they be structured? Who will moderate? What will the concession stand out in the lobby be selling?

Paul Waldman of The Gadflyer posted about this the other day. Because he sets the scene quite well, let me reprint a bit of it here, and then offer a modest suggestion afterward.

It may seem early for this, but we've gotten at least one hint of the Bush-Cheney debate strategy: they'll be doing exactly what they did in 2000. [...] What [can we see based on the evidence so far]? That Bush doesn't want to debate? Hardly. Rather, it tells us that Bush wants people to think he doesn't want to debate.

Here's how the strategy works:

1. Drag out the negotiations over the terms of the debates in order to convince reporters that you're terrified you're going to lose the debates.

2. Propose fewer debates than the other side wants, in order to convince reporters that you're terrified you're going to lose the debates.

3. Start talking about what a mediocre debater your guy is.

4. In progressively ridiculous terms, talk about how great a debater your opponent is.

It worked in 2000, so why wouldn't it work again?

In order to save myself some typing, I offer this excerpt from my book about the President:

The press accepted two premises in setting expectations for the first debate, neither of which was true: 1) Bush was both inexperienced and unskilled at debating; and 2) Gore was an extraordinarily skilled debater. Bush aide Karen Hughes called Gore "the best debater in politics today," a laughable assertion but one bested only by aide Karl Rove, who called Gore "the world's most preeminent debater, a man who is more proficient at hand-to-hand debate combat than anybody the world has ever seen." Similarly, Time magazine described Gore as "one of the most effective debaters on the political scene," while the New York Times said, "Mr. Gore is a far more accomplished debater than Mr. Bush." "Gore, a seasoned debater, is widely expected to have the upper hand when he faces off with Bush, who has gained a reputation for vocabulary flubs and speech stumbles while on the campaign trail," said the UPI. In fact, Bush had participated in debates in both his gubernatorial races and the presidential primary campaign, and in not a single case did he utter a terrible gaffe or acquit himself so poorly as to indicate a lack of debating skill. Gore's performance in debates in which he had participated, on the other hand, was competent but never spectacular. Though he had bested Ross Perot in a debate on Larry King's television show, his performance in the vice-presidential debates of 1992 and 1996 was barely satisfactory, and he was nowhere near as skilled as Bill Clinton.
And here we go again. Expect to hear Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove, and the rest of the gang begin to go on and on about how John Kerry's debate skills make him a breathtaking combination of John F. Kennedy and Clarence Darrow. If reporters buy it (and I'm guessing they will), expectations for Kerry will be unusually high, and expectations for Bush will be unusually low. And after the debates are over, all reporters will care about is who did or didn't meet the largely arbitrary expectations that were set for them.

Waldman goes on to cite, approvingly, a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly by James Fallows, in which Fallows notes that he was surprised -- after viewing videos of old Kerry debates -- to realize that he was "sorry when they were finished, because it was a treat to see this man perform." (About how I've long felt about listening to Bill Clinton take on an issue during informal interviews). Fallows says that Bush is impressive for sticking like glue to his main points, but it's boring to watch. But, "Kerry under pressure was engrossing in a way that reminded me of climatic scene in a Scott Turow novel, in which a skillful prosecutor eventually traps an evasive witness. You could see him maneuvering, thinking, adjusting, attacking, applying both knowledge and logic, and generally coming out ahead." He added, "Kerry was usually effective without being ugly or unfair. Kerry's lightness of touch, compared with Bush's relentless plodding, is a surprise considering what we all know about their backgrounds."

Now this is very interesting, and it gives rise in my mind to an interesting tactic that Senator Kerry and his campaign people might like to adopt. The fun thing about this is that it ought to work even if the Bush people happened to ALSO read this blog, and recognized that the Kerry team was doing it. They'd have almost no defense.

First, let's look at the obvious defenses the Kerry campaign might mount in this "war of expectations." On one hand, his campaign people could start putting out the word that Bush is really a far better debater than he's frequently given credit for. Two gubernatorial campaigns, and the 2000 primaries and general campaign, all featured him in debates, and he held his own without gaffes or straying off message. This is absolutely true, and if widely discussed could raise expectations for Bush: "If he just holds his own, he's not really rising to the challenge of this unique situation where he's about to be defeated and removed from the White House." There's nothing wrong, and possibly much right, with this tactic, and the Kerry people should be doing it.

The other side of the coin would be to try to minimize expectations about Kerry's debate skills. But that, I think, is a hopeless cause. No one would believe it, and Fallows' own words are a perfect example. The record of Kerry-as-excellent-debater already exists -- it's true, he IS a good debater. So trying to reduce expectations for Kerry in the debates is probably not only unlikely to work, it could actually backfire precisely because it's so obviously untrue.

That's why Kerry's campaign should instead adopt a tactic of jujitso, of using an opponent's own strengths against him. In this case, the Bush Campaign's well-oiled system for putting their preferred view out into the mainstream media. Since you're not going to stop that meme from popping up everywhere, embrace it. In ways big and small, make it well known that -- indeed -- Kerry IS an incredible debater.

For one thing, this is sure to unnerve Bush and Rove. They know that Kerry knows what their strategy is. If he suddenly seems to be helping them in their strategy ... well, they're going to wonder what the hell is up.

But, of course, there will be something more going on. Even as Kerry surrogates spread the word about their guy's incredible debating skills, they need to spread another meme as well: some terrible fault that Kery has as a debater, something that if he can't control will hurt him bad. In truth, it has to be something that he can easily avoid ... and which, on cue, every Democratic advocate will start pointing at the instant each debate is over. Fallows gives us a clue what one such thing might be: Kerry is, he says, "usually effective without being ugly." Okay, fine, so the story that goes out is that Kerry is a former prosecutor and was trained -- TRAINED -- to be ruthless, to humiliate his opponent, to tear him down, to be "ugly" at times. But this isn't who Kerry is as a man, and so he's really working hard to restrain himself, to see if he can get through this debate without going nuclear. And, of course, he WILL get through the debates without being "ugly." Thus will he exceed expectations in his own way.

Now maybe this "being mean in debates" handle isn't the best one to use. Even as I'm writing this, I'm having doubts about it. But if the handle isn't right, the overall tactic may well still be. Find something that Kerry can use as a sign to observers that he's "in control," and "performing better than anyone who's watched him over the years would have expected." It's not that this is the most desirable situation, but -- again -- there's no way that Kerry is going to go into these debates viewed as any kind of verbal underdog.

(Or, maybe Kerry can figure out a way to use Bush's tenacious single-mindedness about staying "on message" against him. That won't be easy, unfortunately, since Bush's strategy is effective in great part because dimwitted single-mindedness really DOES resonate with millions of citizens as being, somehow, a good quality.)

Of course, there is one other thing Kerry can do: go into the debates and pulverize Bush. Just mop the floor with him! Make W look like a sissy and brain-dead dimwit. Perform, in short, way beyond expectations ... and decimate Bush so thoroughly that no one can doubt who won the debate.

-- Roger

[I have mixed feelings about the whole debate thing. I was aware that the GOP had lowered expectations for Bush in 2000, so that by just not gibbering like an idiot Bush was credited with a win, but I was relatively unaware that they were also behind the whole "Gore is a great debater" meme, and I accepted that as given, as did, I think, most of my liberal e-mail correspondants. But even without that, based on Bush's obvious problems in communicating anything more complicated than the contents of the back of a book of matches, I fully expected Gore to clean Bush's clock, but it didn't turn out that way.

Gore was obviously much more knowledgeable and on top of the issues, but his demeanor was pretty annoying and I think one had to be already committed to him in order to accept inviting this guy into one's house for four years of speeches, press conferences and soundbytes. I scored the debates as wins for Gore, but, especially in retrospect, I can see where scoring them for Bush made sense on a level having nothing to do with communicating ideas and policy.

I think things are different this time. I don't think that the GOP is going to be able to dumb down expectations for Bush, because everyone pretty much knows by now exactly what (very low) level of discourse he's capable of, and they either accept that in him, or they don't. I'm also not sure that they can simultaneously pump up Kerry's debating skills and keep the "flip-flopper" meme going as well, as they seem in many ways antithetical to each other. (In fact, the whole Bush campaign against Kerry seems scattershot and not integrated, the equivalent of throwing a lot of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks.)

The idea of political jujitsu is great, using Bush's assumed strengths against him, but (as you say) it difficult to know what the best affordance is to accomplish that. Kerry's advantage is that he's as conversant with the issues as Gore was (and Bush has probably not became any better than he was), but he's less obviously wonkish than Gore, and therefore (despite his well-known personality deficits) has something of an advantage in that respect, at least in relation to Gore's disadvantage. Whether that's enough to blow Bush away, I'm not sure, but I'm heartened when I hear from those who've lived through Kerry's campaigns in Massachusetts how good he really is at debating, and how, in general, strong he is at closing the campaign.

We also have to take into account the differences between the message Bush was "staying on" 4 years ago, and the message he's "staying on" now. Back then, he was the "compassionate conservative" advocating a "humble foreign policy" and promising to return our money (i.e. federal tax dollars) to us. He can hardly cloak himself in those ideas now, and has to go with "we've turned the corner" and "let's stay the course" which are inherently less appealing to most people, because they don't promise change, just a continuation of the status quo. Even people who support Bush's policies can't be entirely thrilled about that, since the status quo (war in Iraq, isolation from the world, economy not doing all that well, constant fear of terrorist attacks) just isn't all that great.

Knowing what we know about Bush now, we can see that his message in 2000 was a variation on the Big Lie, and I think he and Rove will be inclined to do that again, but the Big Lie is harder to accomplish when people have lived through what you're trying to deny.

(Incidentally, the Commission on Presidential Debates website has more info on what the outstanding debate proposals are: formats, sites, dates and moderators.) -- Ed]

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/18/2004 08:56:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



Whether I get caught up in watching the Olympics tends to be a hit or miss thing, depending on what I'm doing, and whether I have other preoccupations, but I've found myself watching a fair amount of coverage this time out (usually as background, while I'm working on something else).

I'm sure that NBC really has litle or no interest in my opinion about their coverage, but here it is anyway:

  • Show more sports, less of everything else.

  • I don't care what athletes think about what they've just done. What they have to say is almost always completely uninteresting and totally cliched. The very rare times that someone's response is compelling or evokes emotion from this viewer, does not justify the time this stuff takes up. I go along with showing a certain number of medal ceremonies, and that should be enough. Stop the after-event interviews, they're a waste of time.

  • Even worse are the up-close and personal profiles, but it seems to me that there are less of them then I remember, and (perhaps) they are not quite as cloying and oversentimental as they once were. Nevertheless, bag them altogether, unless they actually tell us something that we need to know to enjoy the competition.

  • Same goes for almost every other "human interest" story. The human interest of the Olympics is that someone wins, and someone loses, your country wins, your country loses. The other stuff is unnecessary and boring.

Nothing particularly earth-shattering about those complaints, I guess. Some may be surprised that one standard complaint is missing -- the one about how the US television coverage focuses too exclusively on American athletes, but I find that to be a utterly ridiculous complaint.

Addenda: So far, nothing has attracted my attention the way that curling did in the winter games, I've been happy enough watching the mishmash of events that NBC is presenting (although finding them when they're spread out over 5 English-langauge channels -- NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA -- is sometimes annoying). I do suspect, though, that my wife may be of the opinion that I watch the beach volleyball matches a little too closely.

Another thing -- who is responsible for the terrible version of "The Star Spangled Banner" being used for medal ceremonies? (It's the same one every time, so I assume the U.S. Olympic Committee made the choice.) Our national anthem is perhaps not the best one in the world, or the easiest song to sing (because of the range of notes it requires), but it can be quite dynamic and exciting, and moving as well, but the recording being used is flat and boring and its only dynamic is to suddenly get quiet and sentimental in the middle (I think it's around "And the rockets red glare"), which saps all the energy out of it.

I understand the desire in the context of the Olympics not to use an overly martial arrangement, even though I think the cymbal crashes are the best part of most versions, but surely they could have come up with something that was more exciting (and moving than they cruddy one they're using now. Ten demerits for the USOC (and two more for having lousy websites).

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/18/2004 04:01:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Cook updates -- sort of

[Sorry about the lack of posting lately - I've been busy with some work and family matters.

I posted this as an update to the latest Electoral College survey, but thought I'd put it up as a separate post as well. -- Ed]

Charlie Cook finally updated his Electoral College status (his new report is dated 8/16), so I've added it into the survey.

Well, it's actually not much of an update, really. He's moved Vermont from "likely Kerry" to "strong Kerry" and Delaware and Washington from "lean Kerry" to "likely Kerry." Across the aisle, Georgia moved from "likely Bush" to "solid Bush", and Arizona moved from "likely Bush" to "lean Bush" (the only of these moves that indicated softening of position). None of the ten toss-up states (FL, IA, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, OH, PA, WI) moved, and no state moved from one candidate to the other. Therefore, Cook's considered opinion is that the race right now is pretty much in exactly the same shape that it was in on July 6th.

Josh Marshall credits Cook, as a "veteran politics watcher", with the ability to "see through [the] smoke" and judge which polls are valid and which are not, and places "a lot of stock" in Cook's opinion, but what I see is someone who is tied into the whole inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom establishment, and who's therefore extremely (and perhaps unecessarily) conservative about assigning states. That can prevent him from jumping off half-cocked and declaring bandwagons and landslides where they don't exist, but it can also mean that he's just well behind the curve and not seeing a new reality emerging. (In a way, that's good, because when we see Cook start moving states, we'll know that the CW brigade will be right with him.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/18/2004 02:49:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Take the tenth step

Here's some plain speaking, from Matthew Yglesias:

The job of the president of the United States is not to love his wife; it’s to manage a wide range of complicated issues. That requires character, yes, but not the kind of character measured by private virtues like fidelity to spouse and frequency of quotations from Scripture. Yet it also requires intelligence. It requires intellectual curiosity, an ability to familiarize oneself with a broad range of views, the capacity -- yes -- to grasp nuances, to foresee the potential ramifications of one’s decisions, and, simply, to think things through. Four years ago, these were not considered necessary pieces of presidential equipment. Today, they have to be.


[T]o state what should be obvious, the president is not your father, your husband, your drinking buddy, or your minister. These are important roles, but they are not the president’s. He has a job to do, and it’s a difficult one, involving a wide array of complicated issues. His responsibility to manage these issues is a public one, and the capacity to do so in a competent and moral manner is fundamentally unrelated to the private virtues of family, friendship, fidelity, charity, compassion, and all the rest.

Right. And we're here to say that we're not holding it against you folks who voted for Bush, somehow deluding yourselves into thinking that the President of the United States can effectively make good decisions by picking them from a menu provided by his staff and advisors, without himself having much of an idea what it all means.

Don't feel embarrassed, we've all done stuff we'd like to forget, but also don't think that you're locked into position on this thing just because you made a mistake four years ago. Look around -- there are plenty of people who did the same thing as you did and who have now recognized their error and mustered the will to make the big change. You can do it too, we'll help you get through it.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/17/2004 01:29:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Monday, August 16, 2004

Is it that simple?

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Froomkin posted what he referred to as "a simple-minded way to think about the election":

There must be something wrong with it, but I can’t see what it is.

The last election was a statistical tie electorally, and Gore’s on the popular vote by a substantial margin. Many key states were very close.

Today’s electorate can be divided into three groups:
1. People who voted for Gore in 2000.
2. People who voted for Bush in 2000.
3. People who didn’t vote in 2000.

Unless they are dead, all of Gore’s voters will vote for Kerry. The counter-argument would be that some marginal Gore voters will ‘rally round the flag’ and ‘vote for the Commander in Chief’. An alternate version says that “security moms” (aka soccer moms worried about terror) will vote for Bush because it makes them feel safer. I don’t buy either of these arguments.

I think it’s also clear that Bush has held most but by no means all of his vote.

Zogby’s latest suggests that new (young) voters are breaking for Kerry. (“among young voters – 18-29 year olds – a group Al Gore only won by 2 points in 2000, Kerry is winning in a landslide, 53% to 33%.”)

Of course turnout and regional factors matter. Some pervious voters in the first two groups may stay home. But is it credible to think that the GOP will manage turnout sufficiently well to overcome what seems a real deficit? Won’t more Republicans than Democrats stay home if they are unenthused with their party’s candidate?

So, barring the October Surprise, it’s Kerry by a landslide.

Like I say, it can’t be that simple, can it?

Barring an October Surprise, massive voter fraud, reprogrammed electronic voting machines, phony terror alerts, calling off the election due to another attack, and other speculated Bushian mischief-making, maybe it is just as simple as that, but I'd be a damned sight more comfortable with an insurmountable Kerry lead in the state and national polls and, especially, in the Electoral College projections.

But I guess I have to settle for being glad that there's fairly good circumstantial evidence that Osama bin Laden is already dead, and can't be pulled out of Bush's hat whenever Karl Rove deems it necessary.

(Besides, projecting from the evidence of Pollkatz' incomparable graph, the hypothetical bounce that Bush would get from capturing OBL would be small and short-lived, which means that a Capturing Osama October Surprise would have to be a very late October Surprise, almost, in fact, an eve-of-the-election November Surprise in order to guarantee a Bush victory, and the overwhelming stink of that would be too much, I think, for even the most dimwitted and credulous of undecided voters to accept.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/16/2004 12:27:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, August 15, 2004

What it is they do

Roger Ailes (the good one), takes a close look at a piece on Peggy Noonan. What struck me is the quaint notion of the writer (Michael Duffy of Time) that by getting out of speechwriting to be a full-time pundit, Noonan had "quit politics."

Just what does Duffy think the function of pundits -- especially those of the right -- is?

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 11:11:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Why we don't feel like things are getting better

Jacob Hacker has a radical idea about why voters don't seem to be getting on board the S.S. We've Turned A Corner:

Voters say the economy isn't getting better because, as far as they're concerned, it's not. And perhaps the best explanation for this perception is that Americans are facing rising economic insecurity even as basic economic statistics improve. In March, for example, unemployment and inflation were both low. But roughly half of Americans agreed that "America no longer has the same economic security it has had in the past," while another fifth thought the statement could be true in the future. By contrast, just 27 percent believed the poor conditions of recent years represent merely the normal downside of the business cycle.

This pervasive public anxiety is the main reason that usually sunny Americans are cloudy about their families' economic futures. It may also explain why voters have proved increasingly skeptical of good economic numbers--not just in this election, but also in 1992 and 1994, when, on paper, the economy was not nearly as bad as voters thought it was. Put simply, the statistics pundits love to cite don't capture what most Americans feel: an increasing financial pinch that is putting them at ever greater economic risk.

Hacker's new book is about economic insecurity, so this is obviously something he's researched and thought a lot about. The rest of the article (on New Republic Online) looks at how to measure economic insecurity, and what policies are necessary to minimize it. Kerry should take notice and hit on this issue hard.

[Via The Decembrist]

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 10:35:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


More from the Chronicles of Living in Bush's America

From Sea and Sky and Land - GRRR! (via Eliot Gelwan's Follow Me Here), comes another episode of mistaken ideas about what is really necessary to achieve security from terrorist threats, this one from my own neck of the woods, New York City:

Last night, on a whim, I looked up the NJ and NY phone numbers for the ACLU and put them in my phone.

This morning, they're doing bag searches again to get on the ferry. And the guy doing the searches pulls me aside and says, "Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book."

I pause and say, in that tone of voice that most people would recognize as meaning, "have you lost your grip completely, chuckles?": "You need to confiscate... a book."

"Yes. I feel it's inappropriate for the other people on the ferry to be exposed to it."

Now, I had the book IN MY BAG. It was not open. And while the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile is displayed as improbably proportioned, well, this is not, as far as I know, illegal to have. I mean, there was a guy carrying a copy of Maxim, and some of the women in THAT are improbably proportion. (All right, I admit: they're not wielding a huge sword and dressed in a bustier studded with human finger bones. But really.)

My response: "Well, let me call the ACLU and have them come down here, and see what they think about your attempt to confiscate a book that was not in the plain sight of others due to your feeling it's not appropriate." And I pull out my cell and start scrolling down the list - ACLU-NJ is at the top, actually, before 'Amanda' and 'ardaniel' since it sorts alphabetically.

He gets all pissy at me and says, "Don't you understand this is for your safety?"

"Confiscating someone's gun or bomb is for my safety. PErhaps confiscating someone's pocketknife or nailfile may be for my safety. What's so damn dangerous about my book?"


"That's NOT YOUR DECISION! I could be carrying a copy of Hustler in here, and it's STILL not your decision! You're looking for bombs and knifes and guns and things that hurt people, and a book that is IN MY BAG is not going to leap out of its own damn accord and HIT SOMEONE!"

The rest of the people waiting for the ferry are watching our exchange. He realizes that they're all looking at him, and that I'm winning this one in their eyes.

He lets me go on the boat.

I'm pretty sure he made notes about me, and I'll probably get more hassling later, and if I run into him again he'll probably be more of an asshole.

But I don't care. I won this one. I'll win the next one if I have to fight it.

Today I print out the Fourth Amendment and keep a copy of it in my bag.

As Eliot writes, New Yorkers should "expect the ridiculousness, outrage and offense quotient to rise at least until after the Republican convention."

Gee, I can't wait.

(Followup on the ferry incident here.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 10:09:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



RonK has condensed some of Bush's major speeches to create "a fast-forward thematic tour of a non-performing presidency."

Here's the last SOTU address:

... fellow citizens: ... great responsibilities ... war on terror ... terrorist threats ... tax relief ... compassion ... terrorists ... tragedy, and trial, and war ... terrorists ... renew the PATRIOT Act ... terrorists ... terrorists ... Afghanistan ... Iraq ... a hole ... thugs ... Iraqi Governing Council ... Libya ... North Korea ... defeating our enemies ... from the deck of a carrier in the Pacific to a mess hall in Baghdad ... terrorists ... weapons of mass destruction-related program activities ... coalition ... greater Middle East ... hateful propaganda ... no ambitions of empire ... this economy is strong ... lowered taxes ... growth ... people are using their money ... technology ... testing every child ... Testing ... shuffling children ... Jobs for the 21st Century ... pro-growth ... the tax cuts you passed should be permanent ... personal retirement account ... cut wasteful spending ... new temporary worker program ... rising costs of medical care ... prescription drug benefit ... discount card ... drug coverage ... drug coverage ... health savings accounts ... preserve the system of private medicine ... families, and schools, and religious congregations ... healthy, responsible children ... Drug testing ... steroids ... abstinence ... marriage ... marriage ... faith-based charities ... newly released prisoners ... tests we did not ask for ... toughness ... troops ... freedom ... God bless the United States States of America. Thank you.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 09:52:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Watching it

Sometimes the political conventional wisdom seems to move as slowly as the continents creeping around on the earth's crust, but move they all do, however slowly, and lately there's been a fair amount of evidence that the political CW is coming to be that Bush is losing this election. (Of course, we pretty much know that's true from the clear evidence available to us, and have suspected it for a while, but there's a great deal of inertia inherent in the CW, and clear evidence is not always sufficient to overcome it, or the best way to do so.)

With David Broder, Charlie Cook, Keith Olbermann, John Zogby, Larry Sabato and others now onboard with this idea, you can be sure that it's just the tip of the iceberg, and (barring any significant event which changes the dynamic considerably) it'll soon start to seep into the attitudes and commentary of the news anchors and commentators who mediate the news.

All of which means that now is the time to really guard against any iota of complacency entering into our mindset. It may well be that things stay this way, or get better for us, but we cannot behave as if that's the case. We have to continue to act as if Kerry is a 20-point underdog, fighting against a strong and powerful incumbent president with considerable weapons at his disposal, because even if Kerry eventually does becomes the widely-acknowledged favorite to win, he will still be fighting against a guy who does in fact have considerable weapons at his disposal, and no particular scruples about which to use and how to wield them.

A frightened animal is always dangerous, even when caged.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 05:27:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Kerry's stance on Iraq

For some reason I don't quote Kevin Drum very often -- perhaps because he's generally eminently sensible, or his writing isn't as flashy as that of some other bloggers -- but I read him every day, and, in fact, Political Animal is generally the first blog I read every day. (This shows that I hold no animus against him for preventing me from starting to blog sooner than I actually did by writing pretty much everything I was thinking. Nor do I hold it against him for making the whole blogging thing look so damn easy.)

Anyway, if you haven't already, read this post, which, with help from Bob Somerby, makes Kerry's stance on Iraq perfectly understandable. (And, I happen to think, reasonable as well.) Josh Marshall (my second read every day) adds his take here.

The executive summary, in Somerby's words:

Kerry says Bush should have had the authority to go to war, but then went to war prematurely.

Simple, straightforward, reasonable.

(I think it would have been better to have put some conditions on Bush's war-making power, like requiring him to get the approval of the U.N., but that didn't happen, and probably had no practical chance of happening.)

Update (8/17): A couple of days later, and Daily Howler's Bob Somerby simplifies Kerry stance even further, into something that will fit on a bumper sticker and should be easily understandable by anyone:

KERRY’S POSITION: I voted to give President Bush the authority. Then President Bush f*cked it up.

Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 03:49:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Electoral College survey (8/15)

[2006 Election Projections Survey]

[New survey posted on 10/30]

[New survey posted on 10/27]

[New survey posted on 10/24]

[New survey posted on 10/21]

[New survey posted on 10/18]

[New survey posted on 10/11]

[New survey posted on 10/04]

[New survey posted on 9/27]

[New survey posted on 9/19]

[New survey posted on 9/13]

[New survey posted on 9/6]

[New survey posted on 8/29]

[New survey posted on 8/22]

It's been a little over a week since my last survey of Electoral College tracking / prediction / projection / forecast / scoreboard / map sites, so it's time to once again take a look and see where we stand.


[Note: From each of these websites I've taken the most comprehensive set of numbers offered, if possible without a "toss-up" category or other caveats, just Kerry versus Bush. Many of them differentiate between "solid" or "strong", "slightly" or "weak", and "leaning" or "barely" states, but I've combined them all together in order to present numbers which are as comparable as possible. I encourage everyone to use the links and check each site for the specifics of that site's methodology and presentation. -- Ed]

J. Daniel Behun (8/2 - not updated since last survey):
Kerry 284 - Bush 254
(not updated)

Chris Bowers (8/14):
Kerry 327 - Bush 211
(was: 312-226)

Chuck Buckley (8/13):
Kerry 321 - Bush 217
(was: 301-237)

Coldhearted Truth (8/8):
Kerry 316 - Bush 222
(was: 311-227)

Charlie Cook (8/16 - reinstated):
Kerry 207 - Bush 211 - ?? 120
(no change from 7/16)

Dales' EC Breakdown (8/13):
Kerry 316 - Bush 206 - ?? 16 (MO, NV)
(was: 296-206-36)

DC Political Report (8/14):
Kerry 264 - Bush 140 - ?? 134
(was: 260-175-103)

dc2 electoral (8/13):
Kerry 301 - Bush 237
(no change)

Election Projection (8/10):
Kerry 296 - Bush 242
(was: 327-211) (8/14):
Kerry 327 - Bush 211
(was: 307-231)

Fagan: Electline (8/8 - new):
Kerry 238 - Bush 300
(noted, but not included in last survey)

(Update: Link changed to point to Fagan's e-mail to me, which should be publicly accessible. Please let me know of any problems getting to it. More: That didn't work, so I've tried again and reposted it elsewhere. The link has been altered.)

Ed Fitzgerald (8/14):
Kerry 296 - Bush 242
(no change)

(Update (8/19): Since it's my blog, I'll take advantage and note that I've updated my numbers to Kerry 316 - Bush 222. But I'll resist including the new numbers in the survey stats until the next iteration, probably this weekend or early next week.)

Federal Review (8/10):
Kerry 301 - Bush 237
(was: 296-242)

hR's (8/12)
Kerry 243 - Bush 196 - ?? 99
(no change)

LA Times (8/14):
Kerry 172 - Bush 147 - ?? 219
(was: 165-147-226)

Leip Atlas (1040 user predictions compiled) (8/14):
Kerry 264 - Bush 274
(no change)

(Note: Leip also includes the median of electoral vote totals -- as opposed to the state-by-state numbers given above:
Kerry 289 - Bush 249.)

mattb25 (8/15 - new):
Kerry 332 - Bush 206
(new to survey)

MyDD (8/14 - new)
Kerry 327 - Bush 211
(noted, but not included in last survey; was 307-231 on 8/10)

Our Campaigns (8/14 - new):
Kerry 264 - Bush 274
(noted, but not included in last survey; no change)

Pollbooth (8/13)
Kerry 281 - Bush 211 - ?? 46 (MO, OH, WI, WV)
(was: 264-231-43)

Pollkatz (8/13):
Kerry 347 - Bush 191
(was: 314-224)

President Elect 2004 (7/29 - not updated since last survey)
Kerry 264 - Bush 274
(not updated)

Kenneth Quinnell (8/8 - new):
Kerry 303 - Bush 207 - ?? 28 (unpolled states)
(new to survey)

Race2004 (8/13):
Kerry 274 - Bush 176 - ?? 88
(was: 318-207-13)

Rasmussen (8/5 - not updated since last survey):
Kerry 232 - Bush 197 - ?? 109
(not updated)

Running the Numbers (8/15):
Kerry 312 - Bush 226
(no change)

Larry Sabato (8/8 - reinstated):
Kerry 290 - Bush 248
(not included in last survey; was 274-264 in June)

(Note: Although Sabato hasn't updated his site since June, this article in the Mobile Register quotes him as giving the figures listed here.)

Samboni's State-by-State (8/12):
Kerry 327 - Bush 211
(was: 307-231)

Benjamin Schak (8/13):
Kerry 322 - Bush 216
(was: 289-249)

Robert Silvey (8/12):
Kerry 301 - Bush 237
(was: 274-264)

Tradesports/intrade (8/15):
Kerry 264 - Bush 247 - ?? 27 (FL)
(was: 264-274)

(Note: To do this conversion I've assigned any state in which the value of the Bush-wins contract is over 50 to Bush, and any state under 50 to Kerry. For alternatives see this comment thread. Also, Bruce D. Kothmann has more on the subject here.

In this iteration, Florida's contract was at exactly 50.0. Other interesting values: PA - 29.9, NH - 42.9, WI - 44.0, WV 52.9, MO - 55, OH 58.8, NV 59.9

Update:There's a map, brought to my attention by a commenter on Daily Kos, which displays the Tradesports status, based on a somewhat different default criteria than mine -- contracts valued at 45-55 are considered toss-ups (however, these limits are adjustable by the user to customize the map). Using this standard, they get:
Kerry 264 - Bush 231 - ?? 43 [FL, MO, WV])

Tripias (8/14):
Kerry 316 - Bush 222
(was: 296-242)

TruthIsAll (8/15 - new):
Kerry 337 - Bush 201
(new to survey; was 334-204 on 8/13)

Sam Wang (8/13 - corrected):
Kerry 318 - Bush 220
(was: 307-231)

Wayne in Missouri (8/13):
Kerry 311 - Bush 227
(was: 296-242)

David Wissing (8/14 - updated):
Kerry 316 - Bush 222
(was: 296-242)

Young Conservatives (8/15 - new and updated):
Kerry 188 - Bush 237 - ?? 113
(noted, but not included in last survey; was 190-278-70 on 7/23)

Zogby/WSJ (8/2 - not updated since last survey):
Kerry 318 - Bush 220
(not updated) (8/14):
Kerry 321 - Bush 211 - ?? 6 (AR)
(was: 301-231-6)


(was: 30 - 7 sites added, 2 reinstated)

Kerry winning: 28 (was: 22)
Kerry ahead: 5 (was: 5)

Bush winning: 5 (was: 3)
Bush ahead: 1 (was: 0)

Kerry gained: 21 (was: 16)
Kerry lost: 3 (was: 4)
Kerry no change: 8

Bush gained: 1 (was: 4)
Bush lost: 22 (was: 16)
Bush no change: 9

?? gained: 5 (was: 0)
?? lost: 2 (was: 7)
?? no change: 3

Site no change: 7 (was: 3)
Site not updated: 4 (was: 1)
New: 7 (was: 4)
Reinstated: 2
Temporarily dropped: 1

MEAN: Kerry 291 - Bush 222 (remainder: 26)
(was: 287-230-21)

MEDIAN: Kerry 301 - Bush 220 (remainder: 17)
(was: 296-231-11)

MODE: Kerry 264 - Bush 211 (remainder: 63)
(was: 296-231-11)

MEAN: Kerry 306 - Bush 232
(was: 297-241)

MEDIAN: Kerry 316 - Bush 222
(was: 298.5-239.5)

MODE: Kerry 327 - Bush 211
(was: 296-242)


Another week of consolidation for Kerry, but somewhat less so than last week. He went up pretty much across the board, except for the mode of all sites, reflecting that there's less agreement on the actual count than there was last week. Because of that, it's somewhat harder to categorize numerically the collective wisdom of the electoral vote trackers than it was last week, when 296-242 seemed reasonable, but it's pretty safe to say that Kerry's at, if not a little over, 300 votes.

As always, if anyone has links for any other sites that regularly track Electoral College status, please feel free to send them my way and I'll be glad to add them to the list. I'm also more than happy to hear from the proprietors of any of the sites surveyed here, should they have any complaints, comments, or suggestions for improvements.


Sites not included in survey:

National Journal (7/30):
Kerry 261 - Bush 195 - ?? 82
(awaiting access to site)


  • (8/15) David Wissing updated his figures in between my starting and finishing writing up the survey, so I've corrected them here and updated the averages.

  • (8/15) A correspondant pointed me to a posting on Democratic Underground by TruthIsAll in which (in my correspondant's words) "He calculates Kerry win probabilities using 15 national polls in a vote prediction model and also for a state poll model (to determine an EV win probability using Monte Carlo electoral vote simulations of 1000 trials)." TruthIsAll forecasts 334 electoral votes for Kerry. Even though he doesn't have a website, I've added his analysis to the survey, just as I added Thomas Fagan's. I may have to remove them in the future if I cannot track down updates, but they deserve to be noted now. Update to the update: TruthIsAll has posted his analysis to a web address, and updated it as well.

  • (8/15) In his dKos diary, mattb25 does an analysis of 19 swing states based on an average of all the polling since the selection of Edwards. Buried in the text is an electoral college projection, which I've added to the survey.

  • (8/15) Perhaps in response to an e-mail I sent, Young Conservatives has updated their prediction, and I've updated the survey and averages to reflect it. Please note that the website shows 90 toss up votes, but the votes of the states listed actually add up to 113, which is the figure I've used.

  • (8/15) As the result of an e-mail from him, I corrected Sam Wang's prediction to the 50% one, as opposed to the one on his map.

  • (8/17) Charlie Cook finally updated his Electoral College status (his new report is dated 8/16), so I've added it into the survey.

    Well, it's actually not much of an update, really. He's moved Vermont from "likely Kerry" to "strong Kerry" and Delaware and Washington from "lean Kerry" to "likely Kerry." Across the aisle, Georgia moved from "likely Bush" to "solid Bush", and Arizona moved from "likely Bush" to "lean Bush" (the only of these moves that indicated softening of position). None of the ten toss-up states (FL, IA, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, OH, PA, WI) moved, and no state moved from one candidate to the other. Therefore, Cook's considered opinion is that the race right now is pretty much in exactly the same shape that it was in on July 6th.

    Josh Marshall credits Cook, as a "veteran politics watcher", with the ability to "see through [the] smoke" and judge which polls are valid and which are not, and places "a lot of stock" in Cook's opinion, but what I see is someone who is tied into the whole inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom establishment, and who's therefore extremely (and perhaps unecessarily) conservative about assigning states. That can prevent him from jumping off half-cocked and declaring bandwagons and landslides where they don't exist, but it can also mean that he's just well behind the curve and not seeing a new reality emerging. (In a way, that's good, because when we see Cook start moving states, we'll know that the CW brigade will be right with him.)

  • (8/18) I did some minor re-formatting -- no adds or data changes.


Ed Fitzgerald | 8/15/2004 02:04:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am...
site feed
2008 rules of thumb
Progressive populism!
Economic insecurity is key
Restore the balance
Cast the candidate
Persona is important
Iraq, not "national security"
Prefer governors over senators
recent posts
bush countdown
oblique strategies
recent comments
some links
storm watch
(click for larger image,
refresh page to update)

a progressive slogan
Fairness, progress and prosperity, because we're all in this together.

"I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking."
(Alex Gregory - The New Yorker)
new york city
another progressive slogan
The greatest good for the greatest number, with dignity for all.
reference & fact check
write me
evolution v. creationism
humanism, skepticism
& progressive religiosity
more links
election prediction
Democrats 230 (+27) - Republicans 205

Democrats 233 (+30) - Republicans 201 - TBD 1 [FL-13]

Democrats 50 (+5) - Republicans 50

Democrats 51 (+6) - Republicans 49

netroots candidates
awards and nominations
Never a bridesmaid...

...and never a bride, either!!

what I've been reading
Martin van Creveld - The Transformation of War

Jay Feldman - When the Mississippi Ran Backwards

Martin van Creveld - The Rise and Decline of the State

Alfred W. Crosby - America's Forgotten Pandemic (1989)
bush & company are...
class warriors
con artists
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
not candid
not "reality-based"
not trustworthy
out of control
without integrity

Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
recently seen
Island in the Sky (1952)

Robot Chicken

The Family Guy

House M.D. (2004-7)
i've got a little list...
Elliott Abrams
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
David Addington
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
John Ashcroft
Bob Bennett
William Bennett
Joe Biden
John Bolton
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Pat Buchanan
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Saxby Chambliss
Bruce Chapman (DI)
Dick Cheney
Lynne Cheney
Richard Cohen
The Coors Family
Ann Coulter
Michael Crichton
Lanny Davis
Tom DeLay
William A. Dembski
James Dobson
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
Dinesh D’Souza
Gregg Easterbrook
Jerry Falwell
Douglas Feith
Arthur Finkelstein
Bill Frist
George Gilder
Newt Gingrich
John Gibson (FNC)
Alberto Gonzalez
Rudolph Giuliani
Sean Hannity
Katherine Harris
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
Christopher Hitchens
David Horowitz
Don Imus
James F. Inhofe
Jesse Jackson
Philip E. Johnson
Daryn Kagan
Joe Klein
Phil Kline
Ron Klink
William Kristol
Ken Lay
Joe Lieberman
Rush Limbaugh
Trent Lott
Frank Luntz

"American Fundamentalists"
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)

Chris Matthews
Mitch McConnell
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Zell Miller
Tom Monaghan
Sun Myung Moon
Roy Moore
Dick Morris
Rupert Murdoch
Ralph Nader
John Negroponte
Grover Norquist
Robert Novak
Ted Olson
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Bill O'Reilly
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Perle
Ramesh Ponnuru
Ralph Reed
Pat Robertson
Karl Rove
Tim Russert
Rick Santorum
Richard Mellon Scaife
Antonin Scalia
Joe Scarborough
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
Bill Schneider
Al Sharpton
Ron Silver
John Solomon (WaPo)
Margaret Spellings
Kenneth Starr
Randall Terry
Clarence Thomas
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Donald Trump
Richard Viguere
Donald Wildmon
Paul Wolfowitz
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
John Yoo
All the fine sites I've
guest-blogged for:

Be sure to visit them all!!
recent listening
Smash Mouth - Summer Girl

Poulenc - Piano Music

Pop Ambient 2007
John Adams
Laurie Anderson
Aphex Twin
Isaac Asimov
Fred Astaire
J.G. Ballard
The Beatles
Busby Berkeley
John Cage
Raymond Chandler
Arthur C. Clarke
Elvis Costello
Richard Dawkins
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Kevin Drum
Brian Eno
Firesign Theatre
Eliot Gelwan
William Gibson
Philip Glass
David Gordon
Stephen Jay Gould
Dashiell Hammett
"The Harder They Come"
Robert Heinlein
Joseph Heller
Frank Herbert
Douglas Hofstadter
Bill James
Gene Kelly
Stanley Kubrick
Jefferson Airplane
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
John McPhee
Harry Partch
Michael C. Penta
Monty Python
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Prisoner"
"The Red Shoes"
Steve Reich
Terry Riley
Oliver Sacks
Erik Satie
"Singin' in the Rain"
Stephen Sondheim
The Specials
Morton Subotnick
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Tangerine Dream
Hunter S. Thompson
J.R.R. Tolkien
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
Kurt Vonnegut
08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003
09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003
09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003
09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003
09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003
10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003
10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003
10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003
11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003
11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003
11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003
12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003
12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003
01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004
01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004
01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004
02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004
02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004
02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004
03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004
03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004
03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004
03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004
04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004
04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004
04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004
05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004
05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004
05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004
05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004
05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004
06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004
06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004
06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004
06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004
07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004
07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004
07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004
08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004
08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004
08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004
08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004
09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004
09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004
09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004
10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004
10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004
10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004
11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004
11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004
11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004
12/05/2004 - 12/12/2004
12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004
12/19/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/26/2004 - 01/02/2005
01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005
01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005
01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005
01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005
01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005
02/06/2005 - 02/13/2005
02/13/2005 - 02/20/2005
02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005
02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005
03/06/2005 - 03/13/2005
03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005
03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005
03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005
04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005
04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005
04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005
04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005
05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005
05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005
05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005
05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005
06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005
06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005
06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005
06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005
07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005
07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005
07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005
07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005
08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005
08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005
08/21/2005 - 08/28/2005
08/28/2005 - 09/04/2005
09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005
09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005
09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005
09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005
10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005
10/09/2005 - 10/16/2005
10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005
10/23/2005 - 10/30/2005
10/30/2005 - 11/06/2005
11/06/2005 - 11/13/2005
11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005
11/20/2005 - 11/27/2005
11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005
12/04/2005 - 12/11/2005
12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005
12/18/2005 - 12/25/2005
12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006
01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006
01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006
01/22/2006 - 01/29/2006
01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006
02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006
02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006
02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006
03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006
03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006
04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006
05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006
05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006
07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006
07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006
07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006
07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006
08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006
09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006
09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006
10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006
10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006
10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006
11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007
08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
08/26/2007 - 09/02/2007
09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007
09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007
09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007
09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007
10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007
11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007
11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007
11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008
01/06/2008 - 01/13/2008
01/13/2008 - 01/20/2008
01/20/2008 - 01/27/2008
01/27/2008 - 02/03/2008
02/03/2008 - 02/10/2008
02/10/2008 - 02/17/2008
02/17/2008 - 02/24/2008
02/24/2008 - 03/02/2008
03/09/2008 - 03/16/2008
03/16/2008 - 03/23/2008
03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
06/01/2008 - 06/08/2008
09/21/2008 - 09/28/2008

search websearch unfutz

Bullshit, trolling, unthinking knee-jerk dogmatism and the drivel of idiots will be ruthlessly deleted and the posters banned.

Entertaining, interesting, intelligent, informed and informative comments will always be welcome, even when I disagree with them.

I am the sole judge of which of these qualities pertains.

All e-mail received is subject to being published on unfutz without identifying names or addresses.

I correct typos and other simple errors of grammar, syntax, style and presentation in my posts after the fact without necessarily posting notification of the change.

Substantive textual changes, especially reversals or major corrections, will be noted in an "Update" or a footnote.

Also, illustrations may be added to entries after their initial publication.
the story so far
unfutz: toiling in almost complete obscurity for almost 1500 days
2005 koufax awards


Carpetbagger Report
*Crooks and Liars*
Progressive Blog Digest


Daou Report
Media Matters
Political Animal
*Talking Points Memo*
Think Progress
James Wolcott

2004 koufax winners
2003 koufax award
"best blog" nominees
the proud unfutz guarantee
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.

If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.

(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)

Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.

original content
© 2003-2008
Ed Fitzgerald


take all you want
but credit all you take.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Buzzflash Bushisms Democratic Underground Impeach Bush Coalition