Saturday, October 07, 2006

Why the Diebold problem won't be

Meteor Blades:
As my grandfather used to say, as the crow flies, we've got just one month to go - the 7th to the 7th - before election day. I don't have to guess that many of us are on pins and needles. I read about it all around the 'net and I hear it from my off-line friends every day. The chief worry: all this optimistic talk about a Democratic victory in the House and/or the Senate is going to turn to ashes just as did our hopes in '04. Karl Rove has another surprise prepared to spring on us before October is over. The polls are wrong. Democrats aren't working hard enough. They're focusing on the wrong issues. We're deluded if we think '06 will be anything like '94, or '80 or '74. On and on and on.

Along with this worry-wartism is the perspective of some that even if Democratic challengers get more votes, they won't take office because Diebold will intervene. And then there's the ultimate reason offered for not getting excited: even if the intervention fails, and Democrats manage to squeeze out a majority, this won't matter because too many Democrats aren't "really" Democrats and will vote with the Republicans anyway. Which translates into: There isn't a nickel's worth of difference between the Dems and the GOP.

Thus does despair seek to create its own empire of apathy.

I'm a Popular Front Democrat, so I'm full of criticism for the party. But, unless one's goal aligns with Rove's and Denny Hastert's, now isn't the time to complain that Democrats have no ideas, or principles, or spine. Later for that. Now is the time to kick Republican butt. Having succeeded, in January we can kick Democratic butt.

Now is also not the time to become paralyzed over what the Republicans may be cooking up in the next four weeks. Instead, however many hours you can spare, now is the time to be walking precincts, chatting up family and friends and neighbors and colleagues, working the phones or doing whatever other volunteer work a candidate near you needs you to do. Now is the time, if you can afford it, to put some money (or some more money) into a favorite campaign or two. Now is the time, if you haven't already, to get serious.

In particular, I think that the voter fraud bugaboo has been seriously over-rated. It's clear that there's been a concerted vote-suppression effort by the Republicans as part and parcel of their GOTV effort, but it's far less clear that there has been a lot of systematic voter fraud going on (although the potential for it with no-paper-trail machines is high enough for us to be very concerned). Still even if all the suspicions turn out to be true, these efforts depend on the actual votes being relatively evenly split between the parties. When that happens, when things are balanced on a fulcrum, a small number of votes suppressed or switched can throw the results one way or the other.

The problem for the Republicans is that signs are pointing rather strongly to this election not being that kind of evenly balanced affair. It seems rather than this is going to be much closer to a Democratic rout, and if that's the case (and I think it may be) then it's not going to be possible to change the results by moving a small number of votes. Instead, huge blocks of votes will have to change or be suppressed, and such activities are much, much harder to cover-up. That's why I don't think the voter fraud concern is one we need to be too concerned about, as long as the tea leaves still point in the right direction.

Now, what Rove & Company will do to counter Foley & Iraq & etc. is another concern altogether, and one we need to be prepared for.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/07/2006 11:56:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Has the Republican ship sailed?

click to enlarge
Connor Fitzgerald (2006)

And on and on and on. I could keep going, but you get the idea.

P.S. Obviously, these are data points, and don't constitute a well-reasoned argument for why the Republicans will lose in November, but they're nevertheless quite telling. Still, there's a month left to go, plenty of time for Rove & Company to come up with a counter-strategy to get the focus off Foley, Hastert and a Congressional sex scandal, but the current atmosphere in the media and the public is going to make it that much harder for them to turn things around, especially since the public's distrust of Bush on Iraq is going to make it more difficult to play the terrorism card.


  • Time: The GOP revolution is over

  • WaPo: Predatorgate a metaphor for the GOP

  • Bowers: Dem advantage in generic ballots holding

  • Billmon agrees, "Sex sells"

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/07/2006 04:53:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Sex sells

Glenn Greenwald calls the Foley scandal "the Cliffs' Notes version of a more complicated treatise on how the Bush movement operates."
Every one of their corrupt attributes is vividly on display here:

The absolute refusal ever to admit error. The desperate clinging to power above all else. The efforts to cloud what are clear matters of wrongdoing with irrelevant sideshows. And the parade of dishonest and just plainly inane demonization efforts to hide and distract from their wrongdoing: hence, the pages are manipulative sex vixens; a shadowy gay cabal is to blame; the real criminals are those who exposed the conduct, not those who engaged in it; liberals created the whole scandal; George Soros funded the whole thing; a Democratic Congressman did something wrong 23 years ago; one of the pages IM'd with Foley as a "hoax", and on and on. There has been a virtual carousel -- as there always is -- of one pathetic, desperate attempt after the next to deflect blame and demonize those who are pointing out the wrongdoing. This is what they always do, on every issue. The difference here is that everyone can see it, and so nothing is working.

That's right, and given that it's about sex and morality and personal responsibility (but mostly because it's about sex), people are paying close attention, which is why it (combined with all the other stuff going on) will bring down the Republicans.

As I've said before (in a comment to this), because the Republicans are both ideologically outrageous and fundamentally corrupt and incompetent at governance, the Foley scandal will keep on and on and combine with every other scandal and malfeasance already in the air, those in the past, and others coming down the pike (Iraq, the donut hole, Abramoff, voter fraud, Katrina, Plame, the denial of global warming, the continuing freedom of Osama bin Laden, torture, warrantless wiretapping, Social Security "reform") to create an atmosphere in which the Republicans cannot win.

But, really, without the coverup by powerful people of the creepy behavior of a man who lusted after young men, this "perfect storm" would never have coalesced. The sex angle is the catalyst, and the continuing revelations of the details of the attempted coverup and whitewash is the energy source that will keep the pot boiling. The best thing the Republicans could have done was to cut their loses and throw four or five people to the wolves -- the symbolic slaying of Hastert, Reynolds and everyone else responsible for not doing something about Foley might have quelled the furor, even if other stuff was to come out. By doing that, sacrificing some powerful people, they might have saved the party, but because they haven't done that, they're going to end up devastating it.

Update: Billmon, one of the smartest and most perceptive people I've read on the web, has another take altogether, as does my friend Roger Keeling, another very smart guy.

Update (10/8): Michael O'Hare has thoughts on why the Foley scandal is totally appropriate to the Republicans' behavior in the past 6 years.

Update (10/9): Publius has a nice post about why the Hastert/Foley scandal won't heal up any time soon, and another on why it's the chickens coming home to roost.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/07/2006 04:13:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Pathetic demonstration

The left-wing in this country is pathetic. I'm not talking about the span of liberal-to-left views which is sometimes referred to as "the left" in a kind of convenient shorthand, I mean the real live hard-core left-wing. Thursday there was a miserable little demonstration in Manhattan, down Second Avenue from the U.N. protesting the Iraq War, Bush and presumably every other silly left-wing shibboleth as well. It was billed as a "general strike" that was supposed to shut everything down, businesses and schools, but, in fact, it was a paltry couple of hundred people (at most) marching, hardly more than pass by any corner on Fifth Avenue in midtown at lunchtime. As far as I can tell the New York media ignored it completely, as well they should have, as it had no more effect on the city than a stalled bus on a crosstown street.

Such demonstrations are worthless -- in fact, worse than worthless, because they make anti-war sentitment seem small and puny, when we know that 60% of the population is opposed to the war. Here's a tip to the idiots who organize these things: when a healthy majority of the people agree with you, you don't need to demonstrate. Such pitiful marches aren't going to effect the Bush Administration in any way, and they aren't going to change anyone's minds. They're just childish acting-out organized by people who are just as ideologically-blinded to the realities of the world as Bush is, only from the other direction.


Ed Fitzgerald | 10/07/2006 03:18:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) The walls around us

176) Overhead utility lines have been part of the landscape for longer than most of us have been alive, so we tend not to notice them. This is a good example of how familiarity can make even unspeakably ugly technology invisible. If you want to appall yourself sometime, go for a walk in your neighborhood and make a point of looking closely at the utility poles and wires. If you're like me, you'll be so astonished at how intrusive and ill-conceived the system appears that you'll never feel quite the same about your neighborhood again. The poles loom up everywhere, leaning at goofy angles. Sagging wires slice the view. Otherwise graceful houses seemed weighted down by mantles of cables. Satellite-television antennas are so new that people are still capable of being horrified by the way they look, but ordinary utility poles, which are far uglier and vastly more numerous, raise little comment. We made ourselves blind to them long ago.
David Owen
The Walls Around Us (1991)

177) As bathrooms have gotten fancier, they've also gotten bigger. As they have, the size of secondary bedrooms shrank somewhat. (That extra square footage had to come from somewhere.) In the floor plans of many new houses, the children's bedrooms seem almost like an afterthought. Very often they have been trimmed, sometimes severely, to make room for the hot tub and the bidet. This trade-off - the comfort of one's children for the comfort of oneself while brushing one's teeth - might not have made sense to an earlier generation. But it is one of the unstated themes of the big bathroom revolution.
David Owen
The Walls Around Us (1991)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 836 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/07/2006 12:46:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Photography: Rocking Horse

click to enlarge

Daryl Samuel

Location: flea market, Manhattan, New York City

Previous: Hands With Softball / On Alcatraz / Cameras / Lighthouse / Photographer At Work / Patio Chairs / Greek Church / Santa Fe Mailboxes

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/06/2006 06:31:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

(3089/898) So it goes

171) Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.
Saying (c. 1970)

172) One day at the battalion aid station at Hue a Marine with minor shrapnel wounds in his legs was waiting to get on a helicopter, a long wait with all of the dead and badly wounded going out first, and a couple of sniper rounds snapped across the airstrip, forcing us to move behind some sandbagging. "I hate this movie," he said [...]
Michael Herr
Dispatches (1978)

173) There was a joke going around that went like this: "What's the difference between the Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts?" "The Boy Scouts have adult leadership." Dig it! the grunts would say, digging it just as long as they didn't have to hear it from outsiders, from "non-essential personnel" like the Army or the Air Force. For them it was only good as a joke when it also had that touch of fraternal mystery. And what a fraternity! [...] (There was a week in the war, one week, when the Army lost more men killed, proportionately, than the Marines, and Army spokesmen had a rough time hiding their pride, their absolute glee.) And in the face of some new variation on old Marine disasters, it didn't much matter that you knew dozens of fine, fine officers. Something always went wrong somewhere, somehow. It was always something vague, unexplainable, tasting of bad fate, and the results were always the brought down to their most basic element - the dead Marine. The belief that one Marine was better than ten Slopes saw Marine squads fed in against known NVA platoons, platoons against companies, and on and on, until whole battalions found themselves pinned down and cut off. That belief was undying, but the grunt was not, and the Corps came to be called by many the finest instrument ever devised for the killing of young Americans.
Michael Herr
Dispatches (1978)

174) So it goes.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Slaughterhouse 5 (1969)

175) And so on.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Breakfast of Champions (1973)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 839 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/04/2006 03:26:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) The original Dick

167) As Abraham Lincoln said 'No one is above the law.'
Richard M. Nixon
campaign speech (1968)

168) When the President does it, that means than it is not illegal.
Richard M. Nixon
in an interview to David Frost (5/19/77) [B16]

169) I'm not a crook.
Richard M. Nixon
press conference (11/11/73) [B16]

170) You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore...
Richard M. Nixon
press conference (11/7/62) [B16]


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 839 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/04/2006 12:01:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

(3089/898) Second act

Their moon was cardboard, fragile,
It was very apt to fray,
And what was last night scenic
May seem cynic by today.

The play's not done,
Oh no, not quite
For life never ends in the moonlit night;
And despite what pretty poets say,
The night is only half the day.

So we would like to truly finish
What was foolishly begun,
For the story is not ended
And the play is never done,
Until we've all of us been burned a bit
And burnished by
The sun!
Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
The Fantasticks (play, 1960)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 840 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/03/2006 11:54:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Monday, October 02, 2006

(3089/898) Fall

165) Sic semper tyrannis [Thus always to tyrants].
Saying [B15]


[B15] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 15th edition (1980)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 841 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/02/2006 10:59:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



I've been busy, and will continue to be until near the end of the week, but I have to comment at least on the firestorm now consuming the Republican leadership in the House, and what, as simply the most recent scandal to plague that benighted party, it means.

Back in January, I wrote:
I'd like to see some real progress in this year's mid-term elections to be certain, and there's plenty of ground that still needs to be recovered, but it really does feel as if we've already seen the high-water mark of the fundamentalist / ultra-conservative / anti-rationalist / neo-con resurgence.

Now more than ever, I believe this to be true. The 2006 mid-terms will break the back of the right and deal a near-death blow to the Republican Party as now constituted. I don't think it will shatter entirely, there may be (barely) enough moderates hanging on to by their fingernails who will be emboldened and will take back the party, but, at least for the time being, the right's control of the Republican party and, through it, their hegemony over the Federal government will be just a very, very bad memory. Bush/Cheney will still be in power, and still dangerous, but the tide will have turned and they will no longer be able to rule in the same way.

The press smells blood in the water, and they will feed.

I think we can look forward to a very successful mid-term election, in which we'll have taken the first steps towards restoring democracy to the world's oldest democratic country, and putting things to right again.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/02/2006 10:59:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

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03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
06/01/2008 - 06/08/2008
09/21/2008 - 09/28/2008

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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*
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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.

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