Saturday, July 31

"Real Time" with Bill Maher 7/30

Finally watched last night's show tonight. Sharing a panel with Michael Moore and Kim Campbell, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) did something I have never seen him do - break out in flopsweat. This guy is generally known as a cool item, but he was clearly showing signs of stage fright almost from the get-go. And for the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign, that's not very appealing. But it came to a head about a dozen or so minutes into the discussion.

Dreier desperately went after Moore about Fahrenheit 911 being full of lies. Moore asked if he saw the movie, and - FINALLY - in front of an entire studio audience and a live coast-to-coast TV audience - Dreier was forced to answer, "No."

Not since the days of Alan Burke, Joe Pyne or any other politically-charged TV show of the 60s has there been such a genuine blistering reaction from a studio audience. The longest sustained groan in recent TV history while Moore held his head in his hands was something to behold. And finally, the offense was rendered indefensible on a large scale - something that scares Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, to death.

Later, the discussion swayed to Bush's seven minute "My Pet Goat" episode on 9/11, and Dreier's hard stand on how Bush "did the right thing" drew scathing ire from even Maher. No small feat, considering Dreier has been one of Maher's top go-to guys since "Politically Incorrect.".

It all made Ralph Nader's cameo at the end of the show almost seem anti-climactic - although Maher and Moore getting on their knees pleading for Nader to come to his senses and end his campaign was priceless. And Maher's New Rule about convention coverage is worthy of carving in marble.

Whoa yeah...after Maher's final piece, Dreier was absent from the panel for the final handshakes. Guess he got a little overwhelmed and hightailed it out of Dodge.

We urge - no, REQUIRE you to see the replays.

PS - Applause to HBO - the show went the full 60 minutes instead of its usual 45. We hope this is the norm from now on - unless he has his pal Ann Coulter on again.

More on the "1.5 Million Jobs Since August" Boast

May I just throw another wrench into Bush/F---Yourself's favorite talking point?

Births in the United States in 1988 numbered 3,913,000. During the year 2004, all those people have now entered the workforce. Factor in 1987's 3,829,000 births.

See where we're going here? 1.5 million jobs since August - WHICH WAS AN ENTIRE YEAR AGO, we might add - doesn't even cover half the working population growth, no less the adult population which lost their jobs.

This talking point is dead, dead, dead. It's as irrelevant as the flatliners occupying the White House.

UPDATE: Sgt. Bill chimes in with some other stats to be considered...
[This] sounds right, but you aren't taking into account the fact that (on average, 2001 estimates - which can't take into account Iraq or the like - we can expect 2.4 million people to die. So those numbers tell me he's just barely keeping up, and we can ignore his claim that "this shows steady growth" (like he did here).

Of course, math is apparently a little tough for the kids in the White House. I mean, come on! $445 billion deficit? Is it just me, or wasn't America's bank account looking a little better just four short years ago?

Please, keep up the good work.
Duly noted, and thanks.

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick...

Raw Story seems to have quite the scoop on their hands - and they're just marking time until someone in the mainstream grabs the story. Bush was AWOL.
Reagan defense sec. confirms legal analysis Bush was AWOL

Lawrence J. Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics under Ronald Reagan from 1981-1985, confirmed RAW STORY's legal analysis of President Bush's Guard Service in a telephone call Friday afternoon.

The analysis, which proves that President George W. Bush was absent without leave from the Texas Air National Guard in 1972, is available here.

Given proof that Bush missed five months of Guard training sessions, he said that Bush would be considered AWOL.

"If you don't show up, you're absent without leave, by definition," Korb said.
UPDATE: at Raw Story.

Another Bush Talking Point Torpedoed

Well, here's some cheery news about the deficit (released by the White House on Friday of course so no one will pay attention)...
Despite a larger-than-expected increase in tax revenue, the federal budget deficit has grown by about $70 billion and will hit a record $445 billion this year, the White House projected Friday.

The Bush administration put the new numbers in a positive light, saying its tax cuts had strengthened the economy and resulted in a deficit significantly lower than the $521 billion it projected in February.
How strong is that economy? Here's how strong, America!
U.S. Economy's Growth Slows in Second Quarter
Output climbs at a 3% annual rate, down from 4.5%, raising concerns. July's job data may hint at whether the drop is a blip or marks a trend.

The nation's economy slowed sharply in the second quarter, the government reported Friday, renewing concerns about whether modest expansion might persist and dampen job creation.

The less-than-expected 3% annualized growth rate in gross domestic product - the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. - was the slowest in more than a year, the Commerce Department said. The relatively modest April-June performance was affected primarily by consumers closing their pocketbooks.

The increase in second-quarter GDP was down from an upwardly revised 4.5% rate in the first quarter, 4.1% in the year-earlier second quarter and the sizzling 7.4% pace of last year's third quarter.

The consensus among economists had been that growth would hit 3.7% in the latest period.

"The economy has clearly downshifted," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at, a West Chester, Pa., research firm.

Modest growth, if continued, could have significant ramifications for the presidential election.

Surveys show that many voters don't believe they have fully benefited from the economic recovery, given weak wage increases and persistent job insecurities. Democrats have attacked President Bush for a net decline of 1.1 million jobs during his term.
Bush (and Rove's fax missives to the media) love to trumpet that 1.5 million job growth since August. That's all we keep hearing. August, August, August. But the two quarters since August, August, August have been nothing more than disappointing.

So from now on, when you hear the August, August, August routine, ask them about January, January, January and April, April, April. 'nKay? 'nKay.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Each of those "Augusts" you see here links to separate instances where the claim has been repeated by Bush or Cheney since only Tuesday.

Joan - We're More Than Happy to Grant Your Wish

Deep in Jeb Bush country, one woman leaves behind her last request.

Woman's Dying Wish: Bush Defeated

A South Florida woman who died this week had an unusual last request. Instead of flower or contributions in her name to a charity, she asked those who loved her to try to make sure President George W. Bush is not re-elected.

Loved ones said that Joan Abbey was committed to her political passions, even in death.

Abbey, who was a lifelong Democrat, died Monday -- coincidentally on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Her sister, Tillie Shapiro, said, "She was just a caring person … She cared about people, and people who were disadvantaged."

Abbey was buried the day after the Democratic convention ended. Her unusual death notice in the Miami Herald said: "You can honor Joan's values by voting against George Bush and contributing to a liberal or Democratic cause."

Abbey's nephew, Martin Shapiro, said, "What she cared most about was improving circumstances in this country... getting rid of George Bush and making this a better country for all people."

Coincidentally, the presiding rabbi, Brett Goldstein, is a registered Democrat but is voting for Bush, and he questioned the timing of Abbey's message at such a sensitive time.

"My contention is that if there's any situation that's sacrosanct, it should be devoid of political ramifications," Goldstein said. "Although people have the opportunity and they can do it if they want to, it is not really appropriate at this time."
Rabbi Goldstein, with all due respect, and as one who's a member of the tribe you represent - I think that decision should rest with the one who's dying. If that's her last request, so be it.

I have a hard time figuring out why so many Jewish folks are for Bush. No matter who the president is, he or she will never revoke our pledge to Israel - that's just reality. But Bush's relentless invoking of Jesus' name in his decision-making just scares the hell out of me. And don't get me wrong - I believe in my own God. But no matter WHO is running the country, I want the decisions to be made on wisdom, evidence, logic, common sense, knowledge, justice and compassion - not strictly from what one friend refers to as "an imaginary friend who's better than YOUR imaginary friend."

A little coarse, but countries have almost destroyed themselves over such arguments. Ask Ireland.

Getting back to the subject, let's not let Joan Abbey down. Give to the DNC and get the message out.

Friday, July 30

Sorry, Karl - Your Secret is Out went and blabbed it to the world. Don't think for one second that these predators don't know this...

Study: Fear shapes voters' views

The students who thought about death were much more likely to choose the charismatic leader, they found. Only four out of about 100 chose that imaginary leader when thinking about exams, but 30 did after thinking about death.

Greenberg, Solomon and colleagues then decided to test the idea further and set up four separate studies at different universities.

"In one we asked half the people to think about the September 11 attacks, or to think about watching TV," Solomon said. "What we found was staggering."

When asked to think about television, the 100 or so volunteers did not approve of Bush or his policies in Iraq. But when asked to think about Sept. 11 first and then asked about their attitudes to Bush, another 100 volunteers had very different reactions.

"They had a very strong approval of President Bush and his policy in Iraq," Solomon said.

Solomon, a social psychologist who specializes in terrorism, said it was very rare for a person's opinions to differ so strongly depending on the situation.

Another study focused directly on Bush and his Democratic challenger, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

The volunteers were aged from 18 into their 50s and described themselves as ranging from liberal to deeply conservative. No matter what a person's political conviction, thinking about death made them tend to favor Bush, Solomon said. Otherwise, they preferred Kerry.

Scranton, Pennsylvania - Hello

HI!!! The Kerry-Edwards bus arrives...

These are Optimists? Try "Just Plain Crazy"

Wow, paranoia's running rampant in the Bush camp. Get ready to shake your head and laugh out loud. This is one of the most pathetic things we've ever seen in politics.
Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney's rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news:

Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes.

The Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory office in charge of doling out the tickets to Saturday's event was requiring the endorsement forms from people it could not verify as supporters.

State Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, speaking on behalf of the Republican Party, said Thursday that a "known Democrat operative group" was intending to try to crash Saturday's campaign rally at Rio Rancho Mid-High School. He added that some people were providing false names and addresses and added that tickets for the limited-seating event should go to loyal Bush backers. [...]

An endorsement form provided to the Journal by Random says: "I, (full name) ... do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States." It later adds that, "In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush."

A Journal reporter, who is a registered Democrat, called to inquire about a ticket Thursday afternoon. He was asked for his name, address and driver's license number but was not told over the telephone that he would need to sign any endorsement form. He got the news after arriving at the Bush-Cheney office. [...]

The John Kerry/John Edwards campaign on Thursday issued a news release that asked, "Shouldn't all New Mexicans have the right to see their VP?"
So if you're not a Republican, you can't see Cheney speak. Has anybody on that campaign ever heard of a little thing we like to call marketing? Ain't gonna be one carbon-based organism at this rally that Cheney can charm over to his side that isn't there already. They're not crazy. Just achingly stupid.

CNN's Idiotic Decision

By now, you know about CNN's idea that backfired. They decided to add another dimension to the DNC coverage and mike Don Mischer as he directed the post-speech hoopla. Well, in a classic Spinal Tap Stonehenge moment, 90% the balloons got stuck in the rafters and Don did what any of us would do - drop several hundred F-bombs. Live. On CNN. The Most Trusted Name in News®.

Our question of course, is: Why? What was the purpose of this? It's a horrible insult to the audience. We certainly know it's staged. Why not let the viewers enjoy the moment and see it as if they were there? Nope - CNN has to to something clever! It's an event that happens once every four years, so let's make it special!

Wow. Did they ever. Note to CNN: The XFL tried this with the coaches' communicators. How're THEY doing these days?

The Continuing Retardation of the Fox News Audience

I know you hear this all the time, but I swear to God it's true: "I was walking past a TV which happened to be tuned to Fox News..."

...and the painfully untelegenic John Gibson was telling Ken Mehlman (regarding Bush's poll numbers), "You'd think that with a successful war, the capture of Saddam and the elimination of the Taliban that Bush would have a better cushion."

Hand over my heart. 15 seconds of Fox News viewing, and I get two lies for my efforts. I fully expected more than just two. Jeeze, John.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Good News from Toontown

Ain't gonna happen to Mallard Fillmore. From Animation Magazine (subscription only):
Cartoon Network Down with The Boondocks

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cartoon Network is in the process of acquiring a half-hour animated series based on the syndicated comic strip, The Boondocks, created by Aaron McGruder and partner Reggie Hudlin. Sony developed the project for Fox, but the net ultimately passed on the left-leaning, politically charged comedy.

The toon is expected to land a spot in Cartoon Network's hugely popular Adult Swim late-night block.

The Guy with the Worst Job in the World

The one who has to find great R&B and rock 'n' roll to play during the down times at the upcoming Republican Convention that hasn't been recorded or written by Kerry supporters.

"No He Won't!"

That's the categorical talking point on right wing radio today on Kerry's speech last night.

Wow. It doesn't get much weaker than that.

We're Certain This Will End the Berger Talk on Wingnut Radio!

Sarcasm off. The news is on.
Clinton Adviser Berger Cleared of Document Theft

President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger -- who'd been accused of stealing classified material from the National Archives -- has been cleared of all wrongdoing.

The National Archives and the Justice Department have concluded nothing is missing and nothing in the Clinton administration's record was withheld from the 9-11 Commission.

Ladies and Gentlemen - Your Optimists

Here. Save this on your desktop until November 2nd. Four years of this darkness should be enough to test anyone's bravery.

Whistle-Ass is Speaking

Bush is kicking off his "Heart and Soul of America" tour (really) in Missouri - it's on C-SPAN right now (it might be on CNN, but I don't want to hear the director yelling "GO, APPLAUSE. WHERE'S THE APPLAUSE? F---ING APPLAUSE...").

Man, after seeing the last four nights, this guy is stature-challenged. He's pushing the "extreme makeover" meme which probably won't get much traction. Check it out.

UPDATE: Here's his version of "Hope is on the way": "Results Matter!"

He's kidding, right?

ANOTHER UPDATE: OH, NO! He's re-pushing the line of leaving the era of "if it feels good, do it and blame someone else" and entering the era of being responsible for our decisions. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

FINALE: He ended stating that he promised to restore dignity to the White House. If you give hime four more years, he will continue to do that. Or more precisely, START to do that.

Man, oh, man. Absolutely nothing new here. You can hear the wheels spinning in the mud. This might fly in front of his freeper base, but if this is any indication of what he plans to say in front of Kerry in the debates, he should make his next campaign stop at a Mayflower and get an estimate on the January 20th move-out. Toast.

Y'know, Scaring the Crap Out of the Country Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

What does it say when the guy who's in charge of homeland security can't make a living wage?
Ridge Tells Colleagues He May Retire

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is considering stepping down after the November election, telling colleagues he is worn out from the massive reorganization of government and needs to earn money in the private sector to put his teenage children through college, officials said.

Ridge will not make a final decision until he talks to President Bush later this year and is focused on thwarting the terror attacks that officials fear al-Qaida will attempt before November, Assistant Homeland Secretary Susan Neely said.

The former Pennsylvania governor, who agreed to serve as the department's inaugural secretary, also has expressed to colleagues frustration over the continuing challenges of reorganizing the 22 disparate agencies that formed the Homeland Security Department, officials said.
He hopes to open a telemarketing firm to scare the crap out of Americans one-on-one. We wish him the best.

Zogby Poll During the Convention

Kerry was up five DURING the festivities. The "bounce" isn't even included...
While the Democratic Party rallies in Boston at the Democratic National Convention, the presidential ticket of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and North Carolina Senator John Edwards holds a five point lead over President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney (48%-43%), according to a new Zogby America poll. The telephone poll of 1001 likely voters was conducted from Monday through Thursday (July 26-29, 2004). Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.2.

Thursday, July 29

The Balloon Drop Needs Work...

But Kerry lit the rocket nicely. He hit all the targets right in the bullseye. His challenge to Bush about the tone of the campaign was outstanding, and the issues were finally there for America to see. And finally - FINALLY - clarifying that voting for/against the war record for the masses who just got their news from the Rove News Service. Did he hit the veteran thing a lot? Yes. Too much? No, not as far as we're concerned. That experience is the biggest difference between him and Bush - it's the reason for his entire career. Check that. His whole being. And since Bush never saw how war destroys firsthand, Kerry took him to school.

Great seeing all the former opponents in the primaries up there with him at the end. Unity, my friends. We have it. We're riding it into November.

That said...stuff the bank. Contribute before midnight ET by clicking the banner above. Let's do this thing.

UPDATE: The Kerry site is getting HAMMERED, no small thanks to Kerry's plug. But keep trying if you're having trouble getting in.

Here...savor the night.


Blog atcha after he speaks. Watch or listen. If you're stuck in front of a computer, watch C-SPAN.

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

Joe Lieberman

Joe-mentum replaced momentum at the DNC as the guy who played the dad on Alf took the stage and set the teeming throng into cries of "Where's the snack bar?"

Man, what a buzzkill THAT was. When he invoked Clinton's name as an ally builder, you could hear the hum of the air conditioners. Blessedly short, painfully strained and really really beyond description (read that as "flatlining"). I never knew my TV had airbags until they deployed when he started speaking.

Ah...the future Speaker of the House is on. Go get 'em, Nancy - and bring 'em back into the convention.

Think of These As You Watch the Convention

What we're running against...

Wesley Clark

Great lines about which party is stronger on defense (anyone who says their party is stronger on the military than the other party is committing overwhelming fraud), the flag, and his support of Kerry's fighting for war and fighting for peace during Vietnam. More incredible and positive fire from the good soldier.

Quote THIS

"It's only 'leadership' if someone follows - and no one is following."

- Sen. Joe Biden on George W. Bush at the Democratic Convention

Air America Kicks Portland's Ass!

From the Portland (OR) Radio Guide - a post by Todd Tolces:
All I know is what I know...sorry I don't have all the numbers, but KPOJ has blown everyone away. Franken #1 25-54 Ed Schultz #1 25-54 (M-F 10-3) Randi Rhodes #1 25-54 (M-F 3-7) Marty Kaplan (7-8p) and Janene Garofolo & Sam Seder #2 25-54 (M-F 8-11). KEX derailed KPOJ from running the table by going #1 25-54 7-12 mid. Overall KPOJ #3 25-54 M-Sun 6a-12mid.

KPOJ's numbers basically bounced from a .2 to a 6.4, blowing away the big FM music stations.
This is kind of vague data, and we'll have something more concrete later today. But these look tremendous, to say the least.

UPDATE 4:30pm PT: Radio and Records has the Mon-Sun ages 12+ ratings (percentage of persons responding to the survey). KPOJ has this one year quarterly trend (since last Spring):
1.0 to 0.9 to 0.9 to 0.4 - and now has a 3.7. Wow. Nice. In three months, KPOJ went from nothing to 1/10th of a percentage point away from the top ten stations in the 24th largest market in America.

Jackson Beck, Forever 92

I'll shoot you over to Don at for the story on the passing of one of radio's all-time legends. Everyone knows who he is, if not by name.

Thanks for the dedication, Don...

Waaah Waaah Waaah

Hang on, Mike...we have Sigmund calling in on line two - ya there, Doc?
Michael Reagan bashes brother's stem-cell speech

BOSTON -- Conservative radio host Michael Reagan went on TV to criticize his brother's speech here Tuesday and bitterly complain that Nancy Reagan loves him best.

"He is her favorite," Michael Reagan said on Fox News. "Ron can do no wrong. I mean, basically that's it, Ron can do no wrong."

Ron Reagan's stem cell research speech to the Democrats -- and Nancy Reagan's dis of an invite to the GOP convention -- sent the Republicans into a tizzy.

Michael Reagan led the attacks.

"He is being used by the Democrats," Michael Reagan said. "He is the typical liberal: He hates George Bush."

Michael, Ronald Reagan's adopted son with first wife Jane Wyman, has long competed with Ron Reagan for the affection of Nancy Reagan. In his 1988 book, "On The Outside Looking In," he wrote that the Reagans never loved him.

A Good Seat, Al Franken and a Cup of Dunkin Donuts Coffee

Life doesn't get any better than this...

Page One, Above the Fold

Well, the L.A. Times is doing its job. This morning's paper features the real reason behind Kerry's vote on the war and subsequent disapproval of it. Whether anyone will read it or not remains to be seen. Bold-faced passages by us:
Why a Conflicted Kerry Voted Yes -- and Later No -- on Iraq

...In early September, Bush announced he would seek congressional approval to "do whatever is necessary to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime." He also took his case to the United Nations, while emphasizing that the U.S. was prepared to act with or without U.N. sanction.

Kerry decried what he described as a rush to war, and expressed skepticism about the administration's commitment to working through the U.N. "We don't want to see this initiative turned into a charade, where it is merely a pro forma step on a road to an already determined decision," he said.

In mid-September, the White House asked Congress for broad, open-ended authority to use force against Iraq if Bush decided it was necessary. Lawmakers of both parties, including Kerry, balked. [...]

Just a week before the Senate vote, Kerry and other lawmakers got their best chance to review intelligence data when the CIA belatedly sent to Congress a detailed assessment of Iraq's weapons programs. The conclusions at the top of the 93-page report were unambiguous.

"We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction programs," the executive summary said.

But the rest of the report was more complicated and nuanced. Sprinkled in its pages were dissents from agencies questioning some of the more sweeping conclusions. For example, the State Department said the evidence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program was "inadequate."

Kerry did not read the report, his aides say, because he had been briefed on its contents by Tenet.

A congressional aide who asked not to be named said Kerry was hardly alone in not reading the full report, which was available for lawmakers to review only in a few secure locations. [...]

Less than two days before the Senate vote Oct. 11, Kerry said his gut told him to vote for the resolution. But his speech on the Senate floor was riddled with reservations and caveats.

Despite the doubts he had expressed about the administration's commitment to diplomacy, Kerry said he would back the resolution on the strength of assurances from Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that they would not go to war unilaterally or without exhausting diplomatic options.

"Let there be no doubt or confusion," Kerry said. "I will support a multilateral effort to disarm [Hussein] by force, if we ever exhaust those other options as the president has promised. But I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible."

There was nothing in the resolution that guaranteed those conditions would be met. Nonetheless, he was one of 29 Democrats to vote for the resolution, which passed 77 to 23.

In his Senate speech, Kerry had said, "I will be among the first to speak out" if Bush failed to seek international support and go to war as a last resort.
He did - and was labeled a flip-flopper for it by the Repubs and many Dems who never bother to check this backstory. At least now you know the truth.

Unfortunately, later in the story, they tell only half of this episode:
In the fall of 2003, his criticism of Bush's polices led to his vote against the $87-billion bill financing continued operations in Iraq. Only 12 senators voted against the financing measure, and only three — besides Kerry — voted for the war and against the second measure. Among them was Kerry's eventual running mate, John Edwards.

Kerry said he voted against the bill because Bush had gone to war recklessly and without a plan for postwar Iraq. He called it a "principled" vote designed to pressure the administration to change its policies.
What they left out was Kerry's initial support of the bill - because the funding was going to come from money originally earmarked for tax cuts for the wealthy. When it was revealed the funding was going to be tacked on to the deficit (and the tax cuts would still be enacted), Kerry voted against it.

Even clarifications need clarifying these days...

Contribution Roll Call

Thanks to: David $15, Alice $10, Scott $25, Tim $100, Dennis $50, Lisa $10...

Keep 'em coming - ANY amount you want. When Kerry makes his acceptance speech Thursday night, we can't raise any more public money for the team. Click the banner below. We need all the FU money we can raise. Thanks.

Click and Contribute to Kerry/Edwards

Wednesday, July 28

From the Pen of: Steve Benson

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

What were we saying about the networks marginalizing convention coverage...?

From the Pen of: Pat Oliphant


I always seem to be occupied when the big speeches happen - the perils of living in L.A.

We watched the replay on C-SPAN of John Edwards' fantastic message of hope. Simply, it's the kind of speech that Bush, Cheney, or Ashcroft would look utterly preposterous delivering. It was the first time, to be absolutely sure, much of the country has heard the "Two Americas" speech, and it definitely advanced the difference between the tone of the DNC and the dark negging-out of the GOP.

The runners have loaded the bases. I'm looking forward to seeing Kerry put it away tomorrow night.

Whoops, Howdy

Even the Repubs have gotten used to this whole "President Kerry" idea.
Healey's anti-Kerry missive misfires

Whose side is Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey on, anyway?

The Republican Healey was laying out the party line on-soon-to-be Democratic nominee John Kerry, criticizing his shifting stance on the Iraq war, when whoops, there it was:

"President Kerry has done those things," she said, immediately realizing that she had elected the wrong man. "President Kerry -- oh, my goodness . . . uh, Senator Kerry has done those things, and so I think we know what President Bush stands for, and the American people are so very confused about what Senator Kerry stands for, because he's told us too many sides of the story."

Healey looked clearly nervous after making the misstatement, which occured during an interview on New England Cable News. Healey is attempting to fill the role as GOP attack dog, since Governor Mitt Romney has insisted that he will be a host, not a partisan, during convention week.

Thanks, Mark


Yeah, I didn't know what to expect from Reverend Al. Now I know.

The button-down white guys who have never set foot into a black church or a gospel service who run the GOP and right-wing radio will interpret it as a lot of yelling by a madman. Or they'll say that they love the guy - in an amusing way, much like a kid loves Mickey Mouse.

But for the rest of us, this was pure unbridled unapologetic passion. If anyone was looking for a seat at the Fleet Center, there were a lot of empty ones. The occupants weren't using 'em. Every one was standing in awe and inspiration.

Poor Bob Graham had to follow that. Now he knows what the comic who follows Robin Williams on spotlight night feels like.

Ladies and Gentlemen - Mike Malloy

Coming to Air America Radio August 2nd (time slot unknown). Here's his website at AAR. Go get 'em, Mike.

Click the logo for AAR's new website. Ooooo.

Tiny Post

The Official DNC Blog links to us. Yay.


Once John Kerry accepts the nomination tomorrow, public contributions must end. Let's stuff the coffers and win this thing. We must do it NOW.

Click and Contribute to Kerry/Edwards

Heh Heh Heh Heh...

For those of you who believe Capitol Hill Blue before you'd believe anything Drudge pulls out of his ass, here's a gift.
Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior
Editor, Capitol Hill Blue

President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President's mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.

"It's a double-edged sword," says one aide. "We can't have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally."

Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

We're talking about the GOP War Room, which is shooting nothing but blanks - mostly at Michael Moore. It's laughably pathetic.

Flash: Rev. Moon Also Bought the AP?

Via Blah3...

So, former presidential hopefuls at the convention are "losers"?
And unity among the ex-candidates is now a "loser's chorus"?

This just ranks among the worst kind of news reporting we've ever seen. What's gotten into the AP lately?
Losers fall in line behind party's choice

Loser by loser, the candidates who wanted to be where John Kerry is now paraded across the stage for the last rites of defeat.

Brief rites - six or seven minutes to speak at the Democratic National Convention, and to call for party unity behind the man who beat them all for the presidential nomination. [...]

Four years ago, Sen. John McCain was the defeated rival who pledged fealty to the campaign of George W. Bush at the Republican convention, and Bill Bradley played that role as the Democrats nominated Al Gore. Their acts were solos. Now it is a losers' chorus.

And when it ends, the record will show Kerry the nominee by acclamation.
Apparently, the democratic process just produces losers and is rendered irrelevant by the likes of Walter Mears.

I gotta shower.


Don't let the door hit you in the...well, that would be your entire being, wouldn't it...
USA Today Drops Ann Coulter

USA Today has dropped plans to have conservative author Ann Coulter write a daily column from the Democratic convention. The newspaper dropped Coulter in a dispute over the first column she had written about the Democrats.

"It was just differences over editing of a fairly ordinary kind," USA Today Editorial Page Editor Brian Gallagher told Editor & Publisher. "We had some different conceptions of what the column should be, we tried to work them out and when we couldn't, we decided the best course of action was for us to go our own ways."

Jonah Goldberg, a conservative who writes for the National Review, will replace Coulter.
So much for your claim about representing mainstream America, Olive.

Tuesday, July 27

Meanwhile, in our 51st State, Bushylvania...

The carnage continues...
Car Bomb Explodes North of Baghdad; 13 Reported Dead

A car bomb exploded on Wednesday outside a police station in the restive town of Baquba, just north of Baghdad, killing at least 13 people and wounding scores, witnesses and a doctor said.

Ahmed Fouad, a doctor at a Baquba hospital, 40 miles north of the capital, said at least 13 people were killed in the explosion, but the full picture was not yet clear.

Hospital officials said as many as 80 people may have been wounded in the blast, which went off almost directly outside the police station at mid-morning, when the streets would have been crowded. The police station is in the center of town.
The death toll in an Iraq suicide bombing has risen to 68 people.The blast outside a police station in Baquoba left another 40 injured. Most of the casualties appear to be Iraqi civilians. It's the deadliest bombing in Iraq since the US transferred power to an interim government.

Okay...One More

Doesn't the Fox News booth at the convention remind you of the oafish neighbor who puts up the biggest gaudiest loudest Christmas decorations on the trailer in front of his house in the middle of October? If the lights dim at Fleet Center, you know who to blame.

MSNBC Night Two

Aagh. Someone got to Joe Scarborough, and he's back to his strident old puffed-up self tonight. Too bad. sooner do I write this than Katrina Vanden Heuvel of the Nation turned a conversation about celebs calling Bush a thug and murderer (and wingnuts accusing Clinton of murder) right back in Scarborough's face! Joe momentarily turned white and REAL defensive. TiVo time...lemme try to transcribe this.
SCARBOROUGH: George W. Bush was called a killer, a thug - on stage.

REAGAN: So was Hillary.

VANDEN HEUVEL: So was Bill Clinton by high-level governmental Republicans.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, there's a big difference. No, you said so was Bill Clinton.

VANDEN HEUVEL: There was a big difference.

SCARBOROUGH: The difference was that Bob Dole didn't come up on the stage...

VANDEN HEUVEL: It was by people like you.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? That's offensive that you would say that and I'll tell you why that's offensive.

REAGAN: What did you say? I didn't hear it.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I said people like you...

SCARBOROUGH: She said it was people like me.

VANDEN HEUVEL: ...not you. Congressmen.
That was a little tense.

So then they have Mathew Gross and Karl Frisch representing the bloggers at the convention. Gross I've heard of, but "Carl with a K" Frisch's last post was Saturday, explaining that he won his way into the convention by raising bucks for the DCCC. Guess he just forgot his notebook.

UPDATE: Ah. Apparently Frisch and panelist Trippi are pals. I thought WE were buds, Joe...sending me the free book and all. *sigh*

Holy crap, I'm growing whiskers and claws here. I better lick my fur and hit the sack.

UPDATE: Ha! Karl responds! Check the comments. And thanks for being a great sport, Karl - which is something I always say to feebly absolve the fact that I was terribly rude to someone.

Teresa Heinz Kerry

Missed it live - watching her now on C-SPAN's replay-a-thon. Man, how refreshing is it to see a First Lady-to-be in public without a painted-on pumpkin-pie-fed smile - but instead with conviction, thought and strength. It's now obvious what John sees in her...and it ain't the money, honey.

Speech Videos

See them here at the C-SPAN site. Reagan and Dean are posted, and Obama should be up there any second.

Don't read 'em. Watch 'em. And see the replays on C-SPAN later.

By the way, I went crazy trying to find out how to launch RealPlayer from Netscape or Firefox. After Googling my ass off, I finally found the solution myself. So if you're having trouble launching anything with the RSTP protocol in Windows, do this:
Launch RealPlayer from the Start button
Click Tools
Click Preferences
Click Content/Media Types
Click Advanced
Scroll down to Other Media
Check the box next to "Real-Time Streaming Protocol"
OK your way back to homebase and you're ready.

Ilana Wexler

Barack Obama's watching this somewhere saying, "Dammmnnn..."

If you missed it, Ilana's the Kids for Kerry kid who said that Cheney should get a time-out for what he said to Sen. Patrick Leahy. The best part was the crowd chanting "Time Out" after her speech. Lovin' it.

We're Watching a Star in the Making

Like many, this is my first time seeing and hearing Barack Obama, the three-time (in this year alone) uncontested US Senate candidate from Illinois.

He is blowing the roof off the Fleet Center. Bill Clinton's watching this somewhere saying, "Dammmnnn..."

7:00pm PT: That was one of the most upbeat, positive, optimistic things I have ever seen in politics. The GOP War Room has got to be beside themselves tonight. Obama was nothing short of electrifying. This guy has a blindingly bright career ahead of him.

Bravo. Bravo.

NOTE: C-SPAN is not only doing a sensational job in its no-blink coverage, but their website is doing a sensational job in posting the speeches in streaming video. NOT easy. We'll let you know as soon as they post the Obama speech.

you have the power

Yeah, he was pretty subdued. Howard Dean sure got an incredible reception by the crowd, and his speech was short and low-key, compared to what we're used to from him. But again, this isn't his party - it's Kerry's. But man, how effective would it have been, under the low-key directive, if Dean just looked into the camera and solemnly said, "I've said this repeatedly on the campaign trail. Now I say it one last time. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise. YOU. HAVE. THE POWER."

YEAAAGGHHHH! Okay. No YEAAAGGHHHH. Goodnight, Howard. You done good. Bring on Barack.

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They Walk Among Us. They Vote.

I just got into a heated discussion with an acquaintance who engaged me into a political discussion. We were innocently talking about the convention in general when she said she's sick of the convention and she still doesn't know anything about Kerry. I asked if she actually paid attention to the convention or the talking heads. Her reply was that she only knows that Kerry has flip-flopped.

That's all I needed to hear, and the roaring fest was on. "You got THAT from the convention?" "No, I got that from the news."

I swear to God, I was talking to Karl Rove's fax machine. I mean she was just barfing out every cliche talking point imagined.

"At least Bush and Cheney are decisive."
(Yes, but being decisive and being stupid is a horrible combination.)

"What would a Democrat have done in response to 9/11?"
(We sure as hell would have gone after the guy who did it.)

"All you liberals wanted to do 20 years ago was cut funding to the FBI and CIA."
(And all Cheney wanted to do until 9/11 was to slash the military.)

And the coup de grace:

"Why should we attack Afghanistan? What's in Afghanistan?"

That's kinda where I ended the conversation by laughing/screaming, "OSAMA BIN FREAKING LADEN! You mean it was good to attack Iraq because they HAD STUFF?"



My jaw is still dropped. I had to drag it behind me to get to the computer. Please tell me this is not a majority. PLEASE. Because my jaw's killing me.

On Behalf of Those in Iron Lungs, Thanks!

More major lameness from the desperate GOP:
Republicans have distributed a photo of Democratic candidate John Kerry wearing a head-to-toe protective suit in comparison to a famously unflattering photograph of Michael Dukakis in a tank that helped sink his presidential bid in 1988.

Late-night comedians made fun of the picture and President George W. Bush's re-election campaign e-mailed it under the caption "Earth to Kerry." "Bubble Boy," read the headline on the front page of the Boston Herald, a newspaper that has not been a supporter of Kerry.
Oh, jeeze. Do we really have to do this? Fine.

Still wanna spread pictures? Here you go.

Ratings News

Any wonder why the ratings are the way they are? The networks have marginalized this year's conventions to the point where the public thinks it's not relevant.
CBS Takes Monday; Convention Not a Big Draw

As usual, CBS took the ratings title Monday night, although neither it nor its big three brethren got much of an audience for coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

CBS averaged a 5.6 rating/10 share in primetime to win by a comfortable margin. FOX took second with a 3.7/6, just beating NBC's 3.6/6. ABC was fourth at 3.2/5. The WB came in at 2.0/3 and UPN at 1.6/3.

All three networks covered the Democratic convention live at 10 p.m. (West Coast viewers saw local programming). CBS, benefiting from the best lead-in, led with a 4.2/7. NBC averaged 3.3/6 and ABC 2.8/5.

RED HOT DUSTUP! WOO WOO! Developing...

Find your own way to Drudge to see his 48-point type headline about what Fedora Boy considers a "showdown" and a "redhot interview" between Bill O'Reilly and Michael Moore. Then read the transcript. Seems kinda lame, actually, with O'Reilly being his usual dismissive self. Next.

Behavior Unbecoming of an Executive

So far, their "War Room" is producing the same success as their Iraq War Room. I find these stories by accident, and it's a testament to their effectiveness.
GOP 'war room:' primer in convention combat

Welcome to the "war room," the office space of Republican operatives working to reelect President Bush. Inside, they listen to speeches that no one else bothers to record and take copious notes, seeking contradictions, discrepancies, and vulnerabilities at every turn of phrase. They use e-mail, satellite feeds, and surrogates to drive any message that they see as viable and valuable.

Now that it's convention time in Boston, some 30 of them have relocated from their Arlington, Va., headquarters to a satellite bunker only blocks from the FleetCenter, this week's epicenter of American politics. They are helping launch an offensive, the "Extreme Makeover" of John Kerry. Their mission: to expose 19 years of Kerry's Senate record. The group is holding press briefings in the mornings to counter any Democrat buzz, and is hosting a variety of Republican speakers, including former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in their makeshift television studio.

"We don't know what they'll say [at the convention], but we'll have a lot of people setting the record straight," says Steve Schmidt, deputy communications director of Bush-Cheney '04.

Whatever its tone, this is not just a Republican game. In fact, it was President Clinton in 1992 who branded the term "war room" in his campaign against the first President Bush. But technology has advanced, and these "soldiers" have more information to monitor.
Here's the difference: Clinton was the challenger. Bush is the freakin' president. They have to keep busy playing gotcha with us because they have (all together now) NOTHING.

"War Room." More like "Bore Room."

Howard Dean, 9pm ET / 6pm PT

Tonight, America will finally see what the fuss was all about.

The way Gore and the Clintons spoke in their respective self-deprecating manner last night, it wouldn't surprise us one bit if we get a staged "YEEEAAAHH" out of Howard Dean. But if tonight's speech is anything like the speeches he gave while he was campaigning, it'll mark the first time for many that they see the man soloing and doing what he did best - give the party base its backbone.

For that alone, Howard Dean should get a standing O when he takes the stage.

And it'll be just a part of what looks like a stellar night which includes Barack Obama, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Ron Reagan.

If last night is any indication, it's all coming together better than we imagined.

Monday, July 26

The MSNBC Pundits Fall Under the Spell...

Joe Scarborough, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Pat Buchanan - all seemed to be tonight.

MSNBC's "Convention After Hours" is actually (and surprisingly) a very fun show to watch. The panel is remarkably well-balanced, but even more shocking is Scarborough declaring he'd rather see Kerry in the White House than Bush. Luntz called the speeches "smart," "very effective," "masterful," and has hardly spoken a single negative word. Buchanan's being Buchanan post-2001.

Ron Reagan's co-hosting with Scarborough. The guest panelists included Jon Stewart, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert earlier, with Joe Trippi, Dee Dee Myers and a cross-section of newspaper columnists on now. As the hour gets later, they all get punchier. Guess they close the party at 2am ET.

It's bearable network fare. High praise indeed.

Holy Crap

Do a search of "teresa heinz shove it" at the CNN site, and you get our slamming CNN on the Teresa Heinz Kerry "shove it" story. I think this sort of thing makes the universe implode, but I could be wrong.

Click Here Now

If you haven't seen the Big Dog's speech tonight, just go. See it. Now. Go. Go, go, go.

Amazing what he learned in just 16 years. CSPAN will also replay it at 12:30am ET.

So She Lost the Slim Fast Account...

Her name lives on adorning other fine products.

Found this morning at a car wash in Hermosa Beach, CA

It Still Strikes Me Odd...

...that the rich, the powerful and the corporate resent when Democrats offer to provide services like healthcare, education and help for poor families, because it's money out of their pockets.

And yet they'll shovel hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Republican campaign which will assure them that those services will be scaled back or eliminated. Of course, that money will go back to them in the form of tax cuts which they'll hang on to.

After all, that's how they remain rich.

For the rest of us, these are the last days. Contribute to the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

Contribute to Kerry/Edwards
Now is the time. Click to contribute.

Wasn't Iraq A "Humanitarian" War?

Of course that was reason #42 Bush gave for that ongoing fustercluck. 5,000 Iraqis died under Saddam. Okay, 25,000 less than Bush originally told us. So now that 30,000 have perished in Sudan, where's Bush's sense of humanity now? On vacation in Crawford, of course. Precocious little bastard.
The European Union has joined the push for U-N sanctions against Sudan if it doesn't end a humanitarian crisis in its Darfur region.

The conflict began 17 months ago when two groups from African tribes rebelled over land and resources. Arab militias then began a brutal campaign to drive out black villagers. Thirty-thousand people have died.

E-U officials say they may freeze the assets of both the Sudanese government and rebel leaders. The U-N Security Council would make the final decision, though some members appear reluctant. The State Department says the U-S does not plan to send troops.

Homey Ain't Playing That Game

Nah, I'm not going to real-time blog the convention - just gonna make my usual broad sweeping rants at what I do see.

But isn't it great that there's an HDTV video screen big enough to broadcast a hockey game with just one stationary camera? Man, I'd love that in my...multipurpose sports facility.

Uh-oh. Glenn Close is gonna take one for the team as the latest Hollywood elitist who'll get thrown into the GOP wood chipper. Go, Glenn.

Al Gore

"You win some, you lose some, and then there's that little known third category."

He's nuts! He's a madman! And the entire arena exploded in an ovation of genuine love when he was brought on. He is raising his voice to an occasional growl which will be (PREDICTABLY) replayed to death tomorrow on the wingnut radio circuit. But I'm lovin' the words, tinged with self-deprecation. He rules - except in the way we elected him to.

Yeah, they'll scream and cry and whine about the Democrats promising not to Bush-bash, then trot out out-of-context clips of Gore's speech. We know how this works. But if you didn't see the entire speech, see the replay on C-SPAN or read the transcript when it's posted. The whole message is just great.

Convention Notes

From the floor in front of the TV...

FLASH ANIMATION GONE WRONG: That's the DNC Interactive Map of the Convention. Click on anything if you have the guts. Go on! We DARE ya!

TERRY MCAULIFFE: YES, THE HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE IS SPEAKING. HEH. HE PUNCTUATES EVERYTHING WITH A "HEH." HEH. AND EVERYTHING IS AT THIS LEVEL. HEH. SO WHEN HE GETS TO THE CRESCENDO ABOUT DON'T STOP AND DON'T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN - IT SOUNDS THE SAME AS WHEN HE SAID "HELLO." HEH. Okay. It's time to let all future speakers in on the secret. Sound engineers can "ride" volume on a microphone. Being in an arena doesn't mean you need to yell. We now have these things called "Sound Systems," see? This is my biggest fear about Kerry's speech. You need peaks and valleys in your speeches. All peaks gets real old real fast, as evidenced by the delegates squirming four minutes into McAuliffe's yelling.

UNANCHORED AND FREE: Yeah, I'm watching C-SPAN as promised. Their unblinking coverage is enormously welcome for anyone who doesn't need everything spelled out by a network nitwit. They're doing a SENSATIONAL job. They have it all, including crane and robot cameras. Just a pleasure.

BILL RICHARDSON: NOW HE'S TALKING TO OPEN THE CONVENTION TO PRIMETIME! AND HE'S DOING IT REALLY LOUD! Stop yelling! All of you! Take a cue from BeBe Winans. You don't need to shriek. Please. SOMEONE tell this to everyone. Sound engineers live for this. Let them handle the volume. Please.


From Our Correspondent in Washington...

Michael O'Brien has returned from Russia in time for all this democracy we're experiencing this week. He's got some great photos at his site, including this mating of cultures. Mmmmm...6" Sweet Onion Sturgeon Teriyaki...

Quote This Too, While You're At It

"Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston..."

- Opening line of Ann Coulter's column which USA Today spiked. The rest of the column goes downhill from there.

Quote THIS

"We're gonna give you convention coverage that you just won't get from the mainstream media."

- Sean Hannity on his show today on the ABC RADIO NETWORK


(taking a breath)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Gremlin brought this to our attention from Fedora Boy:

USA Today editors have spiked a daily convention column they commissioned from conservative controversialist Ann Coulter, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Coulter filed her first report from Boston Sunday night, only to be told hours later that editors found it "unusable" and "not funny."

"Apparently no one at USA TODAY had ever read Ann Coulter before!" Coulter, who has sold nearly a million copies of her various works and his written a syndicated column for five years, said from Boston.


Meanwhile Leftwing controversialist and Bush hater Michael Moore has free reign on the floor of the Dem convention hall -- and has been hired to write for USA TODAY at the Republican convention!

"Coulter has been hired for Boston, Moore has been hired for NY," a USA TODAY source explained, unaware of the fallout with Coulter in Boston.

You forgot something, Matty. Moore is a successful $100,000,000 filmmaker. Coulter is a painfully unentertaining bore.

Where was I? Oh. Right. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Want Convention TV Coverage?

Got one word for ya. C-SPAN.

Quick Quiz

NAUGHTY LANGUAGE ALERT. You've been warned.

Which offends you more?
1) "Shove it."
2) "Go fuck yourself."


Apparently,'s overly cute and painfully unclever Morning Grind can't see the difference.
Just when we feared this week could be dull, along comes Teresa Heinz "Shove It" Kerry. While her husband's aides work hard to deny us news, she makes sure the Grind is well fed.

We're referring to reports this morning that Heinz Kerry, apparently overworked and exhausted like the rest of us, told a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editor, on camera, to "shove it." That's right. On camera. Even Dick Cheney dodged the mic when he dropped the F-bomb last month.
And while everyone was eager to report what pushed poor old Mr. Cheney into making such a remark, CNN - in both their site and their fine network - is hardly noting the source Heinz-Kerry's ire - which by the way, was her responding to hammering by the right-wing Tribune-Review's Colin McNickle.

Thankfully - as they did with the outrage over Whoopi Goldberg - the Dems are not apologizing.
Democrats Defend Heinz Kerry's 'Shove It'

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry doesn't have a problem with his wife telling an insistent journalist to "shove it" when urged to explain her plea for more civility in politics. Neither does Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I think my wife speaks her mind appropriately," Kerry told reporters Monday when asked about the exchange between his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Asked about the response on CNN's "American Morning," Clinton said Monday, "A lot of Americans are going to say, 'Good for you, you go, girl,' and that's certainly how I feel about it."
If the GOP wants to make a big deal out of this, fine. It's their version of fair play. Ours is to continuously hammer them with the truth and with Bush's horrifying presidency.

Today, all the GOP has is "Shove it." Fine with us.


Gotta love this - the CNN headline at the Netscape home page has this:
Dems Hit Boston Under 'Credible' Qaeda Threat
So you follow the link, and here's what you find (italics mine).
On Friday, law enforcement sources warned members of the media to prepare for a possible disruption by domestic anarchist groups.

The warning said a "credible" threat indicates that media vans could be targets.

In addition, a senior CIA official told CNN that a specific piece of information, not chatter, indicates that al Qaeda wants to attack the United States.
The disconnected al Qaeda threat mixed in with the domestic terror threat = just another day under Bush's rule. *sigh*

Incidentally, does it really take a leap of intelligence to figure out that al Qaeda wants to attack us again? It's kind of a "given..."

Sunday, July 25

Hoffmania Rocks the Vote

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From the Pen of: Jack Ohman

Costco - The Official Enormous Warehouse Store of Hoffmania!

When we want that 20-lb bag of tortilla chips, the six-pack of garden gnomes or an oil drum full of potato salad, there's only gonna be one place we go to from now on. Here's why.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and owner of Sam's Club warehouse stores, gives more money to Republican candidates than any other company. Its top three managers, including Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott, donated the individual maximum $2,000 to President George W. Bush, and Jay Allen, vice president for corporate affairs, raised at least $100,000 to re-elect the president, earning him the Bush campaign's designation of "Pioneer."

Wal-Mart -- two-thirds of whose 3,580 stores are in the "red states" that voted for Bush in 2000 -- is backing White House policies on everything from trade to limiting overtime pay.

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, 68, is a Democrat who says Bush's $1.7 trillion in tax cuts unfairly benefit the wealthy. He opposed the Iraq war and supports Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts for president. And he's the only chief executive of a company in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to donate money to independent political groups formed to oust Bush, Internal Revenue Service records show.

"Wal-Mart is extremely strong in Republican strongholds; they are a red-state retailer," said Amy Bonkoski, an investment adviser at Cleveland-based National City Corp.'s private-client group, which manages about $26 billion, including Wal-Mart and Costco shares. "Costco is stronger in Democratic states. Costco is a friend to labor. Unions hate Wal-Mart."

Misplaced Blame - by One of Our Own

Rick Perlstein writes this morning's front-page piece in the L.A. Times' Opinion section - and here we go again with someone on our side too lazy - or too naive - to check out the facts and instead, give the GOP props. We'll explain. First, Perlstein (our emphasized sentences are germane to the argument)...
Political observers recently got to watch Republican wedge politics go down, in textbook fashion. At a fundraiser in New York for Sen. John Kerry, Whoopi Goldberg said something naughty about President Bush. Ken Mehlman of the Bush campaign called the formerly obscure event a "star-studded hate fest" and demanded the Kerry campaign release it on video - implying even naughtier tidbits to come. Fox News, then the rest of the media, granted Goldberg's attack legitimacy as an "issue." The mighty GOP ax had fallen again, predictably, right at the point where two key constituencies of the Democratic coalition are joined. [...]


One chunk of voters falls to the right side of the hatchet, angry at Hollywood's insult to their piety. Another falls to the left, ready to cancel their checks to Kerry if he insults free speech. Pundits pile on, interpreting the flap as something Democrats foisted upon us.

"Why is it that the Hollywood folks, who are very bright people, don't get that this campaign is about middle America, not the left and the right coasts?" asked Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

The next part was predictable too. As the story spent another week in the news, Democrats howled with outrage. "The Republicans have gotten away with it again!"

I'm not howling - at least not at Republicans. Instead, I'd like to howl at my fellow Democrats convening now in Boston. In the Case of the Star-Studded Hate Fest, I'd like to congratulate Republicans on a nice play. The only thing that frustrates me is that Democrats never try the same thing.
Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, RICK. Leave the Democratic party. Now. Go. Beat it. You have no business representing us on the pages of a big newspaper. Pack your things. GET OUT.

The rest of you will know why I threw Rick Perlman out.

First of all, he didn't even BEGIN to look for a Democratic response. If he had, he would have seen this searing response from Mary Beth Cahill of the Kerry campaign on 7/13, which for all intents and purposes shut down the discussion from Ken Mehlman. This time, we're posting all the requests made by Cahill so it'll sink in.
...we find your outrage over and paparazzi-like obsession with a fund-raising event to be misplaced. The fact is that the nation has a greater interest in seeing several documents made public relating to the President's performance in office and personal veracity that the White House has steadfastly refused to release. As such, we will not consider your request until the Bush campaign and White House make public the documents/materials listed below:

Military records: Any copies of the President's military records that would actually prove he fulfilled the terms of his military service. For that matter, it would be comforting to the American people if the campaign or the White House could produce more than just a single person to verify that the President was in Alabama when said he was there. Many Americans find it odd that only one person out of an entire squadron can recall seeing Mr. Bush.

Halliburton: All correspondence between the Defense Department and the White House regarding the no-bid contracts that have gone to the Vice-President's former company. Some material has already been made public. Why not take a campaign issue off the table by making all of these materials public so the voters can see how Halliburton has benefited from Mr. Cheney serving as Vice-President?

The Cheney Energy Task Force: For an Administration that claims to hate lawsuits, it's ironic that the Bush White House is taking up the Courts' time to keep the fact that Ken Lay and Enron wrote its energy policy in secret behind closed doors. Please release the documents so that the country can learn what lobbyists and special interests wrote the White House energy policy.

Medicare Bill: Please release all White House correspondence between the pharmaceutical industry and the Administration regarding the Medicare Bill, which gave billions to some of the President's biggest donors. In addition, please provide all written materials that directed the Medicare actuary to withhold information from Congress about the actual cost of the bill.

Prison Abuse Documents: A few weeks ago, the White House released a selected number of documents regarding the White House's involvement in laying the legal foundation for the interrogation methods that were used in Iraq. Please release the remaining documents.
Miraculously, after this was posted at the Kerry site and e-mailed to the Kerry database, Mehlman quietly crawled back into his hole to find the next non-issue to cry to the media about.

See? If you did your freakin' homework, you would have seen that the Kerry camp fought back with some real fists and some real issues. But it somehow got past your infallable radar, eh, Rick?

Which brings us to the second part of our outrage. Rick Perlman missed a golden - nay, platinum opportunity to do what the media refused to do when Cahill made her challenge: LET THE PUBLIC KNOW ABOUT IT. Instead, he ignores it, falling in lockstep with a press who just reads the GOP press releases and takes them at face value.

Perlman could have used his platform and newspaper space to spank the media for completely shutting out the response to Ken Mehlman's childlike stampy-feet demands. And he would have shown that there are teeth on the Democratic side which the mainstream media simply refuse to acknowledge.

Instead, he is merely one of them. Generalizing. Stereotyping. Not researching. Taking everything at face value rather than breaking a drop of sweat to see if the IS another side to the Republican farce. And worst of all, giving the GOP credit for something they were smacked down for - just not as publicly as we had hoped.

But if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to report it - or of the GOP doesn't dispatch a fax about it - it never happens. Right, Rick?

Wait - before you leave, read the e-mails Hoffmania readers will send to the LA Times. Okay. NOW leave.

Saturday, July 24

Nour Mehanamania is Runnin' Wild!

Nour Mehana is the singer whose band was on Northwest 327 which got Women's Wall Street writer Annie Jacobsen's shorts in a knot. From of all places, the National Review.
And then I noticed something that was truly terrifying, something linking Nour Mehana to a figure of such repulsive evil that I felt a rush of prickly fear not unlike Jacobsen's: Just one week later, the same company that arranged Mehana's performance, also booked Carrot Top!

I talked to James Cullen of Anthem Artists who confirms that Nour Mehana's large band did arrive on Northwest Flight 327. Some of them came in from Detroit, and some from Lebanon. Cullen says they never said anything about a disturbance on the flight to him, even though "I stayed in the same hotel, they were nice, they stayed right above me." He said that they were fine musicians, put on a great show, and he would work with them again in the future.


Bill O'Reilly's radio extravaganza will be live in Boston all this coming week. But unlike his broadcasting cohorts who will be doing their shows at the Fleet Center, ol' Bill will be broadcasting his show live...from a Boston radio station.

Why? According to Bill, he can give his point of view without being under the shadow of the Democratic "spin" which will be prevalent at the convention.

That's like ESPN covering next year's Super Bowl in Jacksonville from Walt Disney World because it'll allow them to bring you fair and balanced coverage without all that Super Bowl spin.

Let's keep an eye on where he covers the GOP convention, shall we?