Friday, February 27, 2004

Gay marriage will lessen the deficit

How you ask? First, we sucker all gay couples into legally tying the knot, and then hit them with the "marriage penalty" when April 15th rolls around. This may not sway the hardened social conservatives, but likely will win over some fiscal conservatives. It all comes down to packaging the issue in a way that has resonance with the opposition. Do you have any bumper sticker ideas for selling the idea of gay marriage? Here's a few, "Tax Gays More: make 'em get married";"It's time gays and lesbians pay their fair share"; or "Close the gay and lesbian loophole-- Sock 'em with the marriage penalty!" Ideas?



This is my imitation of what the Drudge headline would look like if a Dem were President. We'll see what this really means in about 6 months.

WASHINGTON (AP) - America's economy, bolstered by brisk business spending, grew at a healthy 4.1 percent annual rate in the final quarter of 2003. That was even faster than first thought and offered new evidence that the nation's economic recovery was firmly rooted going into the new year.

The latest reading on the gross domestic product - the broadest measure of the economy's health - was slightly better than the 4 percent pace estimated a month ago for the October-to-December quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

"The capital spending rebound is in high gear," said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics.

Even though the fourth quarter's growth rate marked a slowdown from the red-hot 8.2 percent pace of the third quarter - the best in nearly two decades - it nonetheless represented a solid performance.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Remember the RNC using pictures of Bush on 9/11 to fundraise?

Well if you do, you can probably figure that if they don't want to politicize this report, they probably think it is not gonna help 'em.

Speaker wants to avoid politicizing report, aide says

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Congress appears unlikely to grant a two-month extension requested by the commission investigating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to finish its report.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert told President Bush on Wednesday he would not bring up any legislation to authorize the 60-day extension proposed by the commission and endorsed by the White House, according to Hastert spokesman John Feehery.

Feehery said the speaker, a Republican from Illinois, had two reasons.

"One, if there are recommendations that need action, we need them sooner than later," Feehery said. "Two, he does not want this to be delayed any further and become a political football in the middle of the campaign."

I think the actual priority may be the other way around.

It get's better...I mean worse.

Rice declines to testify

Earlier Wednesday, the commission said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice had declined its request to testify at a public hearing next month.

"We are disappointed by this decision," commission members said in a statement. "We believe the nation would be well served by the contribution she can make to public understanding of the intelligence and policy issues being examined by the commission."

Rice met privately with the panel February 7.

The statement also asked Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to reconsider their decision to be questioned only by the commission's chairman, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a Republican, and its vice chairman, former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat. The statement said Bush and Cheney "prefer not to meet with all members of the commission."

Well I "prefer" not to pay their damn salaries with my hard earned tax dollars, but I guess I'm just out of luck. Why do they get to decide? Safe house Dems need to make a major stink out of this one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Return of the living Bork

No, not Bjork. I'm talking about the fat guy with the wierd beard who hates privacy and mankind in general. We were so right to Bork (verb) Bork (proper noun). Not only would he have been the ugliest bastard to ever sit on the Court, he and Scalia would constantly be trying to out-extreme the other.

The Borkster got his nasty mits on the ammendment favored by the former state's rights governor.

A handful of conservatives argue that the sentence defining marriage as heterosexual should preclude any provision of marital benefits to same-sex couples, no matter what the name. A few gay legal advocates contend that future courts might interpret the amendment to block enforcement of any laws conferring benefits on same-sex couples.

"Constitutions are interpreted over time," said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, a group opposed to the amendment. "You don't write a gamble like that into the Constitution."

Robert H. Bork, the conservative former judge and former Supreme Court nominee and a leading drafter of the amendment, called that argument "preposterous." He said that the text clearly restricted only courts, not legislatures. What is more, Mr. Bork said, the public debate over the amendment would determine how any court interpreted it. If voters approving the amendment believed it meant one thing, courts would be hard pressed to say it meant another.

Defining liberalism

A few quotes on liberalism. Which do you like? What would you add?

A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future. Bernstein

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
J.K. Galbraith

Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative. J.K. Galbraith

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence; Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. William E. Gladstone

A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run.
Elbert Hubbard

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
John Stuart Mill

Liberalism is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded on this planet.
Jose Ortega y Gasset

A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.
Leo C. Rosten

A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. Unknown

A religious conservative is a fanatic about a dead radical. Unknown

A conservative is a man who does not think that anything should be done for the first time. Frank Vanderlip

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hot Dog!

I am updating my vita! Now if I ever run for office I can claim to have held a manufacturing job. That should win me points with all the former holders of manufacturing jobs.

"When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?" the report asks.

"Sometimes, seemingly subtle differences can determine whether an industry is classified as manufacturing. For example, mixing water and concentrate to produce soft drinks is classified as manufacturing. However, if that activity is performed at a snack bar, it is considered a service."

Okay, I didn't last long. But it was my choice. I believed that we were obligated to make that burger look as closely like the one in the picture on the menu as possible. Truth in advertising and all. I moved on and waited tables-- where I still manufactured salads, by the way.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Head-to-head? Toe-to-toe?

One would think head-to-head would result in people being face-to-face.

Okay, Georgie. We know you're desperate for ratings, but read these words three times and keep a straight face: "head to head in separate interviews."

Feb. 21 — Democratic presidential front-runners Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John Edwards, D-N.C., will go head to head in separate interviews on the biggest issues in the presidential campaign this Sunday on ABCNEWS' This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Stephie won't win the Straightalker Award this year. He's probably just hoping to have a job after the convention, anyway.

Dean, Dean, Dean

Last Summer John Kerry was heard muttering, "Dean, Dean, Dean," in apparent exasperation over the media's focus on the Vermont Governor. Last Fall the same media told us Dean was inevitable. After it was pretty clear Dean was done after New Hampshire, he was still treated with about as much media attention as the front-runner, and more attention than the two candidates who may have had a chance to unseat Kerry from that position.

In the blogosphere we saw the Daily Kos turn into the Daily Dean. Now it is the Daily Dean Whinefest. Not Kos himself, who seems to have maturely moved on, but the endless stream of diary entries detailing the blend of paranoia and grief suffered by the most hard-core Deaniacs, who must be the whiniest followers of a candidate ever. Sure, the "I have a scream speech" got too much play. But perhaps not by much. It was the stupidest thing I've ever seen a candidate do. His primary audience was the nation, many of whom were getting their first real look at him, not just the young supporters in the room. Edwards was brilliant in his post-caucus speech. Dean was stunningly bad. Also, Dean largely received a free ride the previous twelve months. Remember, last summer Kerry was getting bashed for ordering Swiss Cheese on his Philly Cheese Sandwich and for letting folks think he was Irish.

Obviously, I'm disappointed that my candidate, Clark, did not fare better. At times I felt the press was less than "fair and balanced" in its coverage and it was as simplistic, sophomoric and wrong as it almost always is. But I also recognize that the Clark campaign made key blunders which led to its demise. Obviously, Clark talking with a group of reporters the night he entered the race was a colossal blunder that put him on the defensive much of the race. The commercials did a good job of introducing the candidate, but failed to close the deal in the closing days of key primaries. Much of the professional staff seemed more focused on self interest than loyal to Clark. I hope no candidate I ever support allows himself or herself anywhere close to Matt Bennett and, certainly, Chris Lehane. And, perhaps the most stunning blunder ever, how is a candidate not prepared for the abortion question? That episode alone should prevent Clark's key advisors from participating in Dem politics forever. Still, I tend to think Clark may have a political future. For a novice, I think he became a fairly strong candidate. At the very least, he certainly should have a key role in a Democratic administration.

Dean, on the other hand, was a lousy candidate. In fact, my second post ever on this blog indicated as much last June:

Sorry Howard Dean lovers. It’s not that I don’t understand the attraction. I kinda do. But he has a long way to go to be viewed as presidential by a majority of voters. Granted, I’m often amazed that anyone with more than a 5th grade education views Dubya as presidential so I’m not necessarily an expert. I know he is going after that John McCain magic, and is closer to it than most. But while John McCain had more candor in 2000 than most candidates, he also had far more political savvy than Dean has displayed. McCain showed unusual restraint for a man with a supposedly legendary temper.

I get the feeling Dean just wants to get back in the ring and wrestle somebody, anybody. And to beat the VRWC a candidate has to have a lot of fight. But he or she also needs sufficient restraint. Dean routinely chooses his words poorly. If he were a football coach other coaches would love the bulletin board material he provides. Russert may have had him in his sights, but he just hit him with the ammo Bush & Co. already had in their quiver. Perhaps now he can get better prepared, but I doubt he’ll come far enough, fast enough. Dean’s relative honeymoon with the media is coming to an end. From here on out it just gets tougher.

I don't see Dean becoming a much better Presidential candidate in the future. Impulsivity has apparently been a problem all his life. And contrary to some of his followers belief, he is no "Goldwater" in the sense that he is presaging a movement. What would that movement be? Goldwater was a conservative who was a counter to country club Republicanism. What are Dean's key ideological beliefs? Fiscal conservatism? Seriously, Dean tapped into a movement, he didn't create it. Is it a peace movement? No, he was against a particular war, sorta. As a serious Presidential contender, Dean is done. Maybe he can replace Jeffords. I think Dean would make an interesting contribution in the Senate representing Vermont.

Deaniacs, if any still read this site, as the title of the progessive website states, Moveon.


A reader asked if "Moveon" meant Dean supporters were not welcome here. That was not what I was trying to communicate and I regret the ambiguity that may have led to that conclusion. As Clinton has said, Democrats fall in love, but there is a time when we need to fall in line. We are rapidly approaching that time. Within a couple of weeks we'll know if Edwards' long-shot campaign still has life. If so, we'll still have a battle. If not, we need to get on the same team. I've slammed Kerry on this site. Not my first or second choice. I'm concerned about what I perceive to be his weaknesses, but I have no doubt that he is far superior to Bush. Then again, the average person on the street would be better than Bush. That's how bad it is. I'd rather take my chances picking a name out of the phone book than have the Shrub for four more years. Actually, I think Kerry would make a reasonably good President. I suspect Edwards is more electable. Either way, the nominee is my candidate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Boundless, Stunning Arrogance

Richard Perle wants someone to be accountable. Look in the mirror, you cocky, moronic bastard.

Heads should definitely roll, alright

WASHINGTON—Richard Perle, a chief proponent of last year's U.S. invasion of Iraq, yesterday called for the chiefs of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency to step down because of their faulty conclusions that Saddam Hussein possessed mass-killing weapons.

Perle, a close adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said top officials made no attempt to skew the intelligence about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he implied, top policymakers relied in good faith on the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.

"George Tenet has been at the CIA long enough to assume responsibility for its performance," Perle told reporters, referring to the director of the agency. "There's a record of failure and it should be addressed in some serious way."

"The CIA has an almost perfect record of getting it wrong in relation to the (Persian) Gulf going back to the Shah of Iran," Perle said. He called for "a shakeup" in the U.S. intelligence establishment.

"I think, of course, heads should roll," he said. "When you discover that you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you change the organization, including the people.

"I'd start with the head head," Perle said when asked which heads should roll at the CIA. Perle said the DIA " is in at least as bad shape as CIA (and) needs new management."

I have to agree-- in principle. When you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you change the people. Bush chose to listen to Cheney, Cheney chose to listen to Perle and Chalabi. Let's clean house!

Before the war, Perle had no doubt:

We know, Mr. Chairman, that Saddam lies about his program to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  We know that he has used the years during which no inspectors were in Iraq to move everything of interest, with the result that the database we once possessed, inadequate though it was, has been destroyed.  We know all of this yet I sometimes think there are those at the United Nations who treatthe issue not as a matter of life and death, but rather more like a game of pin the tail on the donkey or an Easter egg hunt on a sunny Sunday.

The bottom line is this: Saddam is better at hiding than we are at finding.  And this is not a game.  If he eludes us and continues to refine, perfect and expand his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, the danger to us, already great, will only grow.  If he achieves his holy grail and acquires one or more nuclear weapons there is no way of knowing what predatory policies he will pursue.

Let us suppose that in the end a robust inspection arrangement is put in place and after a year or two it has found nothing.  Could we conclude from the failure to unearth illegal activity that none existed?  Of course not.  All we would know is that we had failed to find what we were looking for, not that it was not there to be found.  And where would that leave us?  Would we be safer—or even more gravely imperiled?  There would be a predictable clamor to end the inspection regime and, if they were still in place, to lift the sanctions.  Saddam would claim not only that he was in compliance with the U.N. resolutions concerning inspections, but that he had been truthful all along.  There are those who would believe him.

Given what we now know about Saddam’s weaponry, his lies, his concealment, we would be fools to accept inspections, even an inspection regime far more ambition than anything the U.N. contemplates, as a substitute for disarmament.

That is why, Mr. Chairman, the President is right to demand that the United Nations promptly resolve that Saddam comply with the full range of United Nations resolutions concerning Iraq or face an American led enforcement action.

I have returned last night from Europe where the issues before you are being widely discussed.  Perhaps the most frequently asked question put to me by various Europeans is, “why now?”  What is it about the current situation that has made action to deal with Saddam urgent?  My answer is that we are already perilously late. We should have acted long ago—and we should certainly have acted when Saddam expelled the inspectors in 1998.  Our myopic forbearance has given him four years to expand his arsenal without interference, four years to hide things and make them mobile, four years to render the international community feckless and its principal institution, the United Nations, irrelevant.

We can, of course, choose to defer action, to wait—and hope for the best.  That is what Tony Blair’s predecessors did in the 1930’s. That is what we did with respect to Osama Bin Laden.  We waited.  We watched.  We knew about the training camps, the fanatical incitement, and the history of acts of terror.  We knew about the Cole and the embassies in Africa.  We waited too long and 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered. If we wait, if we play hide-and-seek with Saddam Hussein, there is every reason to expect that he will expand his arsenal further, that he will cross the nucleardivide and become a nuclear power. 

I urge this committee, Mr. Chairman, to support the President’s determination to act before it is too late.

I urge the American people, to send these sorry bastards packing before it is too late.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A few thoughts on the primaries

Some of my better predictions:

After just one week of Kerrymania, I don't think he is wearing well in South Carolina.
Edwards will take South Carolina fairly comfortably. One poll shows Clark within striking distance of second. I would like to believe it. In any event, reaching the 15% threshold in South Carolina would be a minor victory in that state at this point.

Kerry faded, Clark faded, Edwards surged. Of course, he should have. It was his home state.

Clark will win Oklahoma by 3-5 points, scoring in the low to mid 30s. Kerry's support here is largely manufactured momentum and he may be surpassed by Edwards. All three get delegates and no one else does. (Sorry Joementum, you even sang the state song on camera!)

Make that low, low thirties. Kerry did fade, Edwards did surge, and I'm crediting Barry Switzer's robo-call on his behalf.

My "upset special" did not materialize, but it looks like Clark will be able to claim one win and three second place finishes. Not horrible, although it won't be a big momentum builder. I wish Clark had come out and said, "Two candidates came into Oklahoma with media buzz and momentum. Well, it was a tough fight, but we went toe-to-toe with those candidates and came out on top."

The Dean implosion I anticipated even before Iowa continued. He will launch a few grenades at Kerry and hope one explodes close enough to do real damage.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the DNC Chair, an extended primary is beneficial. It not only makes the eventual nominee better, IMHO, it also keeps the media focus on the Dems who are bashing Dubya. It is no mystery that AWOL's numbers have steadily dropped since Iowa. He failed to even get a STOTU bump. Let's at least go through March 10th. Kerry is a seasoned poll and probably won't make a major misstep (provided he wasn't already caught in a Botox lie), although his wife may be a different matter. Don't get me wrong, I kinda like her, but you can be assured the media will love her-- and not in the way they fawned over Barbara Bush and even made her look "sweet"-- which is almost as tough as making AWOL look like a strong leader.

Clark focuses on TN, VA and maybe Maine, although he didn't mention it tonight. Less than two weeks ago he was endorsed by 30 Maine legislators. If they're holding on, it is worth a trip and some commercials. I expect TN and VA to be close races a la OK. For Clark or Edwards to break through, Kerry must stumble. One month before Super Tuesday it is his to lose. One month ago it was Dean's to lose. He has done so in a colossal fashion. Further into the 1992 race than this, it was Paul Tsongas' to lose. You remember President Tsongas. Another MA pol foisted on us by NH.

Monday, February 02, 2004


With polls all over the map, predicting results tomorrow is a somewhat risky business-- especially considering my strong biases which may impact my normally exceptional objectivity. What the hell, here goes...

Clark will win Oklahoma by 3-5 points, scoring in the low to mid 30s. Kerry's support here is largely manufactured momentum and he may be surpassed by Edwards. All three get delegates and no one else does. (Sorry Joementum, you even sang the state song on camera!)

In my upset special I'm picking Clark to win either New Mexico or Arizona- or both. There are no good New Mexico polls, and Arizona polls vary greatly, although all show Kerry ahead. Still, I think Clark has momentum in both states and believe that a few negative stories in recent days may have given potential Kerry voters just enough pause to make a difference. Clark had built a strong base here before Iowa and his voters may be coming back. Early voting, according to my calculation, began around January 19th in Arizona and January 12th in New Mexico. For those voting right away, Iowa may not have had a great impact yet in Arizona, and no impact in New Mexico, and Kerry's momentum didn't fully take shape until after New Hampshire, which was only a few days before early voting ended. If early voting had began in January 12 in Arizona, Clark would have been the beneficiary, given that he was at about 39% at that time. In any event, it stands to reason that early voting benefited Clark far more than Kerry. It is unlcear how this may be factored into polling. I am also hoping that Native American endorsements will have more of an effect than the polling is picking up.

Also, hearing that Kerry has a large lead may actually depress his less enthusiastic supporters, and I still have trouble believing that the guy who had to mortgage his house a few weeks ago to pay the bills in Iowa has truly engendered die-hard support. Clearly, my bias may be impacting my view of this and I realize it remains a long-shot, but I won't be shocked to see Clark close very strong in both states. If he doesn't win, I still think he closes within 5%. It is worth noting that while Zogby's last New Hampshire numbers were largely accurate, the most glaring shortcoming was that he underestimated Clark's performance by over 25%. Maybe that was due to ground game or the sheer enthusiasm of Clark's voters and volunteers, but almost all New Hampshire polls showed Clark trending two or more points behind Edwards and yet it did not happen.

After just one week of Kerrymania, I don't think he is wearing well in South Carolina. Actually, one of my biggest fears with a Kerry candidacy is that he won't wear well on the general electorate. In fact, I believe that if the primaries were two weeks after New Hampshire, Kerry would be in real trouble in various states.

Clark was far more of a natural for North Dakota, but Kerry's appearance yesterday may make the difference. If Clark had had time for one more push, I think he would take it. Still, the voting there seems a bit challenging and only the most dedicated voters may bother to find a polling place. (I know they call it a caucus, but it is not an Iowa style caucus.)

Although I agree with the Southwest focus, I'm disappointed the Clark campaign did not at least run minimal advertising in Missouri and Delaware. The press is already spinning Missouri as some kind of general election test and Kerry's strong showing there will be given far too much attention. Again, given the time, Clark was more natural for Missouri than Kerry. Kerry will win, but Edwards and Sharpton may surprise. A minimal effort by Clark would have rendered delegates as it would have in Delaware. As it is, Clark seems unlikely to crack the 15% threshold in those two states.

Edwards will take South Carolina fairly comfortably. One poll shows Clark within striking distance of second. I would like to believe it. In any event, reaching the 15% threshold in South Carolina would be a minor victory in that state at this point.

Okay, let the fun begin...

Kerry: Son of a ...

As I've said before, Kerry has done a masterful job of taking every other candidate's best themes and lines-- a plagiarizer extradornaire who would make Joe Biden blush. Loserman, of course, had no good lines or themes to steal, at least not for a Democratic primary. I check the Kerry website from time-to-time, expecting to find his bio modified to read, "John Kerry was the son of a millworker who won a coveted appointment to West Point."

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Who is this new guy on the campaign trail?

Kerry accuses Bush of caving on prescription drugs

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — John Kerry on Sunday accused the Bush administration an "incredible cave-in" to drug companies at taxpayers' expense, citing the dramatically higher cost estimate for the new Medicare overhaul.

The administration now puts the 10-year cost of the prescription drug benefit at $534 billion. That is one-third higher than the $395 billion figure from the Congressional Budget Office that administration officials and congressional GOP leaders cited as they pushed the legislation through Congress in November.

Kerry promises to "stand up" to these special interests if elected President. Well, he should be well rested enought to do it, since he's never stood up to them before. He forgot to mention to the crowd that he failed to show up to vote against this legislation. Of course, the media gives him a pass, which is exactly why this race needs to keep going through at least March 10th.

Who needs highways?

We have a moon to (re)conquer.

Deficit Puts Brakes on Highway Spending

Multibillion-dollar legislation authorizing new highway construction in hundreds of communities has become unexpectedly bogged down in Congress by differences between GOP fiscal conservatives and Republicans willing to spend more to create jobs.