Saturday, October 16, 2004

Every BoSox fan hurts, sometimes 

Maybe next year

(via Big Mattress)
Update: 3-2 now. Hope I'm not being premature; wouldn't be the first time.
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Who do Voodoo? We do! 

Yes, in a desperate attempt to inhabit our younger selves, Lovely and I (plus Ratboy and the Big Event) will be attending the Voodoofest at City Park to see Sonic Youth, Pixies, Beasties and Green Day. It's certainly a brilliant day to be outdoors, even if among thousands. Little Colicky expressed interest in crowdsurfing but we thought it would be more prudent to leave her with a babysitter.

I just hope that those B-Boys introduce themselves in one of their songs... (If you like, feel free to rank the aforementioned bands-- or any others-- in importance, influence or preference.)


Afterward: For an outdoor show, Voodoofest was resplendent. Sonic Youth were professional but perfunctory (compared to last year at Tipitina's). But the Pixies, who I last saw over a decade ago, capably played an unimaginably cool set. As always, the Beastie Boys were a crowdpleaser. But I must give special props to Billie Joe and Green Day. During a rockin' set featuring their new (instant classic?) album, they played to the crowd again and again. Then-- get this-- they stopped the show and gave their instruments to some random volunteers from the audience, and showed them how to play an Operation Ivy cover. That warmed the cockles of this old pseudo-punk rocker's heart.

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Under Bush's "Culture of Life": More abortions, fewer marriages 

I had to pirate this article from Chepooka, because I found the argument so interesting. But go read her entire post. (Emphases mine.)

Pro-life? Look at the fruits
by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen

I am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis. I am consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness. For my family, "pro-life" is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby. David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing to us and to the world. I look at the fruits of political policies more than words.

I analyzed the data on abortion during the George W. Bush presidency. There is no single source for this information - federal reports go only to 2000, and many states do not report - but I found enough data to identify trends. My findings are counterintuitive and disturbing. Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4% decline during the 1990s. This was an average decrease of 1.7% per year, mostly during the latter part of the decade. (This data comes from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies). Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened. I found three states that have posted multi-year statistics through 2003, and abortion rates have risen in all three: Kentucky's increased by 3.2% from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3% from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9% from 1999 to 2002. I found 13 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and five saw a decrease (4.3% average decrease).

Under President Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction. How could this be? I see three contributing factors: First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed. Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises. Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency - with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million - abortion increases.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back. My wife and I know - as does my son David - that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, father, and child needs public and family support. What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.

Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, and the co-author of Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Christianity Today's Book of the Year in theology or ethics.
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"I do understand power, whatever else may be said about me. I know where to look for it, and how to use it." 

From the Department of Justice Website (collected by the Miami Public Pages):
On February 15, 1933, Guiseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt while the then President-elect was giving a speech in Miami, Florida.

Zangara, an Italian anarchist, had lived in New Jersey since 1924, and had only been in Miami for a couple of months. According to the papers, "he was in Miami because it was warm and he was out of work, and that he had lost $200 on the dog races." It is said that he wanted to kill kings and presidents of wealthy governments since he was 17.

By chance, Zangara heard that FDR would be in Miami to give a speech. Three days before the shooting, Zangara purchased a 38 caliber pistol at a Miami Avenue pawn shop. As Roosevelt finished a short speech at Bayside Park, Zangara fired five rounds from 25 feet. Roosevelt was completely untouched by the gunfire due to Zangara losing his footing atop an uneven chair, and a [female] bystander striking his arm. One bullet struck Chicago's Mayor Anton Cermak who was shaking hands with Roosevelt at the time. Four others were wounded, including Mrs. Joseph Gill, wife of the President of Florida Power and Light.

An example of swift justice, Zangara pled guilty five days later and was sentenced to 80 years in Raiford Prison. At his sentencing he said of [FDR], "I decide to kill him and make him suffer. I want to make it 50-50. Since my stomach hurt I want to make even with capitalists by kill the President. My stomach hurt long time."
Guiseppe might've better invested in an occasional sandwich rather than in greyhounds chasing "Lucky" the fake rabbit around a track... Anyhow:
Anton Cermak subsequently died from his wounds two weeks later, and Zangara was immediately tried for his murder. Zangara was sentenced to the electric chair and executed on March 20 at Raiford.
Even on the chair, Guiseppe was cursing rich, well-fed capitalists. He belongs on a list of ten people who attempted to assassinate U.S. Presidents (four were successful). In every case but one, a motive was proclaimed or immediately discovered (i.e. nationalism, fame, love of a movie star...etc) (Zirbel: Texas Connection, p36).

If Zangara's assassination attempt had succeeded, Vice President-elect "Cactus Jack" Garner from South Texas would have assumed the presidency.
From the Wikipedia (my emph):
In 1940 [current Veep!] Garner ran against Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination but was defeated. Garner, always the character, once described the office of the vice presidency as being "not worth a bucket of warm piss" (at the time reported with the bowdlerization "spit") and that his decision to take it in the first place was "the worst damn fool mistake I ever made."
Garner's campaign chairman was Sam Rayburn. The same Sam Rayburn who accompanied Lyndon Johnson to the hotel room where the two blackmailed John Kennedy into making LBJ vice president. It's naive to think that Senator Johnson was then unaware of the relative powerlessness of the Vice Presidency, as well as the fragility of Presidential Security and the ramifications thereof.

The title quote is his.

Now, some fun factoids about FDR and Cactus Jack's predecessor. (You already know about the net job loss thing):

When Herbert Hoover invited the black wife of a congressman to the White House for tea, he was officially denounced by the state legislature of Texas.

Charles Curtis, Hoover's vice president, was the only nonwhite person to be elected vice president of the U.S. He was one eighth Kaw Indian (and one-eigth French, too!).

When the Hoovers wanted to speak privately while in the presence of White House guests, they spoke Chinese.

His son had 2 pet alligators that would sometimes wander around the White House.

A common sign held up by hitchhikers during the fall of 1932 read: "If you don't give me a ride, I'll vote for Hoover."
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Award him the Medal of Freedom Today 

Tape or Watch CNN's Crossfire if you possibly can. John Stewart is the guest and confronts Tucker and Begala in an awkwardly direct way, for helping ruin any semblance of real political discourse in America. He ambushes them and totally takes over their show, calling it "bad" "partisan" and "hurting America". Then he simply tells them to "Stop. Please stop."

A wonderfully direct attempt to inject honest debate into the American politic.

Great TV, too.


Update: Transcript here, and everywhere else. For bivalves who check this site every quarter minute, they were rewarded with one of the earliest posts on this episode.
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Debate Subtext 

Carville: No enemies to the right? Well, let's remind the religious intolerants about the Veep's lesbian daughter. See how that energizes your base...

Rove: Fine. You're playing to moderate women? Then we'll recast that political maneuver as an attack on Cheney's daughter...

There's more than one pawn in this game of political chess. My money is on the Cajun grandmaster.
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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Who's looking out for boobs? 

It's a tough call, but I suppose this is my favorite page.

Great use of the loofa mitt, sir, but you lost points for not keeping it pithy. And "modus operandi"?!... yeah, that's the language of seduction. If you need a wingwoman, let me know.

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Where have all the cowboys gone? 

During my senior year of high school my family hosted Pepe, an affable chap from Granada, Spain. One day he mentioned a saying from his country that "both the best and worst people come from Spain"-- unfortunately, ole Pepe never got to test that adage by visiting Texas...

Now seems like an appropriate time to revisit one of the most fraudulent elections in American history, the 1948 Texas Senate race between Lyndon Johnson and the profoundly honorable Coke Stevenson. In Means of Ascent, historian Robert Caro chronicles the lies and fraud Johnson employed to literally steal the election, in one of the most brazen cases of ballot box stuffing you'll ever read about. It makes today's shenanigans look quaint and wholesome.

First a bit about Coke Stevenson. Robert Caro's profile describes him as almost supernaturally noble. (The following is a summary of Chpt 8 from Means of Ascent.) He grew up poor in the harsh Texas Hill Country, going to work at age ten building fences and digging ditches. He started running solo freightlines at sixteen, driving six horse teams twenty miles a day over nearly trailless frontier country, bringing goods to small towns. When the horses got mired in mud, there was only Coke to get them out. When an axle broke, he had to repair the wagon. Sometimes he could be stuck in the wilderness for 10 days at a time. This was unbelievably brutal work, but he excelled at it. Most impressively, he would make time to read books and learn new skills at night by the firelight. He taught himself bookkeeping, and then law. At nineteen he teamed with legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer to catch cattle rustlers. Coke was successful at everything he tried, and Texans recognized this and asked him to do more and more, nearly demanding that he take higher and higher public offices as county attorney and then judge. The Hill Country needed roads, so he taught himself engineering and was put in charge of building roads between San Antonio and El Paso. He became an immensely successful attorney, being asked to try more lawsuits than anyone else in the state. Soon his work in the court was being studied by law students at prestigious schools. Additionally, he grew many profitable businesses: harware stores, Ford dealerships, small banks.... Stevenson got married and his wife designed a house to be built on their ranch. In order to construct it, Stevenson taught himself architecture... and on... and on.

Coke Stevenson loved the principles behind the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and hated the rampant waste and corruption he saw everywhere in Texas government. So, he ran for state rep and won. Soon he became Speaker. Tall, strong, and even-tempered, Coke wasted few words but helped pass legislation addressing needs such as teacher retirement funds and workers compensation. Though a staunch small-government conservative, he initially supported the New Deal until after a few years he felt it became overextended. He was utterly incorruptible, and wouldn't entertain lobbyists or backroom dealmaking. His stony stare would stop someone in mid-pitch.

Everyone seemed to beg him to seek higher office, so he ran for Lietenant Governor. While campaigning he had no platform and made no promises. He would simply drive unannounced from town to town in a signless car (often alone), and would stop and strike up conversations with people on the street. "Say, can I get acquainted? I'm Coke Stevenson, and I'm running for Lieutenant Governor". Then he'd listen to voters' concerns and talk about the principles of government he held so dear: Jeffersonian democracy combined with frontier individualism. He spoke to the voters intellect, not their prejudices. He had a sincere, quiet dignity that deeply impressed nearly everyone he spoke to-- one imagines something beyond even John Wayne's or Clint Eastwood's signature western characters.

Stevenson became Governor in 1941 after then-Gov. Pappy O'Daniel moved to the Senate by "outstealing" young Lyndon Johnson in a very close, and typically fraudulent Texas election. Though Coke Stevenson's new administration wasn't faultless, the state went from deficit to surplus, and dramatically improved its social welfare services via (horrors!) meaningful tax increases. Put differently: the biggest tax bill in the state's history was supported by Stevenson, perhaps Texas' most purely conservative Governor.

Since Texas was a one party state (Democratic), the main contest was the Dem primary. Coke ran for reelection against eight primary opponents by driving around Texas and making conversation with folks he'd meet. Rarely did he make a formal speech, or talk on the radio. And he wouldn't stoop to reply to negative attacks from the other campaigns. The result of this personal, positive approach? In the primary of 1944 Coke Stevenson would receive 85% of the primary vote while the other candidates combined for 15%. He carried all 254 Texas counties. I repeat, he carried 254 counties in a 9 person race! Then in '46, the electorate practically insisted that he run for an unprecedented third term as Governor. The entire state adored him and he was called "Mr Texas" and the "Abraham Lincoln of Texas".

Since his wife had died from cancer, wildly popular Coke Stevenson was persuaded to run for the U.S. Senate in 1948. Lyndon Johnson (funded by the ultra-conservative Brown brothers of Brown and Root) was his main opponent.

Mr. Texas

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

(Too easy-- insert your own) 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Looking beyond Election Day, first lady Laura Bush said Tuesday that if her husband is elected to a second term she would like to help juvenile delinquents with substance abuse problems....
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I love the smell of voter fraud in the morning, it smells like... 

From Kos:

[Former Republican governor Bill Janklow] says the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat. He says his ire is directed at the Republican Party's Victory operation, which helps register people and get them to the polls.

Janklow says his problem with the organization goes back to 2002 when he was a candidate for the US House.

From Josh:

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.


The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at Democrats. The focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

We've seen how the Bush campaign believes a "good message" discourages urban and Democratic turnout. It appears that message hasn't resonated to the GOP's satisfaction, so they're taking matters into their own hands.

All recent registrees should check their status, and become alert to voter fraud and suppression anywhere by anyone. Also, may I humbly request that we electorally demolish these filthy, contemptuous hardc-nts in three weeks?

The Angry Bear is also (rightfully) pissed.
Update: Did we mention Oregon, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arizona? No?

And what about Ohio?

Normally, I love Wisconsin, but...

(I owe the Poor Man a Leinenkugel's for the Badger state tip.)
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Get creative! 

I like the homemade ones

Of course there are always risks.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Do chimpanzees dream of oblivious goats? 

Bless Molly Ivins. Last week's column highlighted a rarely-cited Bush line from the first debate:

We all had our debate moments, but the one that stunned me was, "It's (Iraq is) hard work. I see it on the TV screens."

Watching it on TV, boy that is tough work all right. And what was the "hard work" thing about? Did Rove poll and find out people think the president vacations too much?

I also came to a full stop after the one about sending troops to die. "I never -- when I was running -- when we had the debate in 2000, never dreamt I'd be doing that." He never dreamt it? It never occurred to him? Was this man prepared for the job? Help!

That quote is simultaneously mind-blowing and bowel-evacuating.
Seriously, I want to know:

What president HASN'T committed troops during his term?

And what the hell DOES this simian mouthbreather dream about?


Also, Michael asks WWJD? He still may prefer walking, but if not, Ian displays an option.
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Some Kind of Wonderful 

Entrepreneurial New Orleans Women, consider this business plan:

Ms. Frenkel was not on a date with Mr. Blumberg, in pursuit of a kinky threesome; she was on the clock. A 29-year-old graduate student, she is one of a dozen women who work for a New York-based Web site called, earning up to $30 an hour to accompany single men to bars and help them chat up other women. The Web site's founder, Shane Forbes, a computer programmer, started it in December after realizing he had more success with women when he went to clubs with female friends. "Every time I was with them, I would meet women," he said.

Before dumb luck brought Lovely and me together, I used to be a shy, loner geeky "nice guy" who often returned home alone. (No, really!) Many times a wingwoman could've lessened the odd vibe I so naturally kindle in social settings. 'Course, I probly would've screwed up the dynamic by requesting a punky Watts-type instead of the more conventionally beautiful Amanda.

But what if the wingwoman is really your soulmate?

Choose wisely

Thanks to Ogged from Unfogged.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Trail of Queers? 

"You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?"

--Oklahoma Senatorial candidate Tom Coburn, 8/31/04

(h/t Atrios)
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Embedded Patriots at the CIA 

Shannon at blacksundae has the link.

(Here's a related article from the summer that restored my faith.)
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"You know, I get a migraine headache if I don't get a strange piece of ass every day." 

It's a pity that John F. Kennedy had large personal weaknesses to go along with his immense talents, and that his family and friends felt obligated to enable his headache-relieving "treatments".

One outsider who wouldn't play along was the ambitious Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson. At the 1960 Democratic convention, LBJ blackmailed John Kennedy about his extra-marital dalliances, threatening to "make trouble" if he wasn't put on the ticket. Despite his previous agreement with Stuart Symington of Missouri, JFK was forced to select Johnson as Vice President. Afterwards Kennedy appeared stunned at the turn of events. His loyal brother Robert disliked Johnson and was crushed by the selection. He called it "the worst day of his life".

Talking to a reporter moments after "accepting" the Veep slot, LBJ justified his loss of power (after literally controlling the Senate) by saying:

I have now learned that one out of four Presidents dies in office... and I am a gambling man!

It's difficult to summarize just why JFK was (and is) so appealing. Surprisingly, William F. Buckley (of all people) encapsulated part of it rather nicely last year:
[The] legacy of John F. Kennedy is his sheer... beauty. I have visited yurts in Mongolia, adobe huts in Mexico and rural redoubts in Turkey and seen framed pictures of John F. Kennedy. He was all-American, splendid to look at, his expression of confident joy in life and work transfiguring. Add to this that he was slaughtered, almost always a mythogenic act, and what we came to know about the awful physical afflictions he suffered, making his appearances as a whole, vigorous man the equivalent of seeing FDR rise from his wheelchair and play touch football.

Like many of his generation, my father was directly inspired by President Kennedy's call to service. In 1963 he was working with the Peace Corps in Tunisia when he received word of the assassination.

The Dark Side of Camelot, Seymour Hersh; Chapter 9. Title quote pg 389.
The Texas Connection, Craig Zirbel; page 148.
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Sunday, October 10, 2004

"The reality right now is that the most dangerous opinion in the world is the opinion of a U.S. serviceman" 

A Must Read From the WaPo frontpage (via pacified at Kos)

In a dozen interviews, Marines from a platoon known as the "81s" expressed in blunt terms their frustrations with the way the war is being conducted and, in some cases, doubts about why it is being waged....

The Marines' opinions have been shaped by their participation in hundreds of hours of operations over the past two months. Their assessments differ sharply from those of the interim Iraqi government and the Bush administration, which have said that Iraq is on a certain -- if bumpy -- course toward peaceful democracy.

"I feel we're going to be here for years and years and years," said Lance Cpl. Edward Elston, 22, of Hackettstown, N.J. "I don't think anything is going to get better; I think it's going to get a lot worse. It's going to be like a Palestinian-type deal. We're going to stop being a policing presence and then start being an occupying presence. . . We're always going to be here. We're never going to leave."


Lance Cpl. Alexander Jones, 20, of Ball Ground, Ga., agreed: "We're basically proving out that the government is wrong," he said. "We're catching them in a lie."

Title quote cited in article from Lance Cpl. Devin Kelly, 20, of Fairbanks, Alaska.
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