Saturday, January 31

Newsweek Poll: The Dark Side

The Newsweek poll shows how the race has been simply turned on its head, pollwise. Kerry has blown open a lead which no one in this race has seen: the 40s. Dean has essentially lost half his numbers, and even though he's made a gain from last week, Kerry's numbers are comparatively stratospheric. As we saw in Iowa and New Hampshire, despite what people say to the pollsters, they say something completely different when the answer really counts.

Dean had turnaway crowds in Tucson and Seattle today. Will those folks still feel the same on their caucus days? If history is any teacher, we have learned that history teaches us nothing. Now that the media machine is aiming its cannons on Kerry, there's still time for something to fart up the works.

Actually, this whole post is pretty pointless, but the kids love polls, so...

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Jan. 29-30, 2004. N=467 registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic nationwide. MoE ± 5.

"Now I'm going to name seven Democrats in the race for president. After I read you their names, tell me which ONE you would most like to see nominated as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate this year."

1/29-30
Kerry: 45%
Dean: 14%
Edwards: 11%
Clark: 5%
Lieberman: 5%
Sharpton 2%
Kucinich: 1%

1/22-23
Kerry: 30%
Dean: 12%
Edwards: 13%
Clark: 12%
Lieberman: 7%
Sharpton 6%
Kucinich: 3%

1/8-9
Kerry: 11%
Dean: 24%
Edwards: 3%
Clark: 12%
Lieberman: 7%
Sharpton 5%
Kucinich: 3%

12/18-19
Kerry: 6%
Dean: 26%
Edwards: 5%
Clark: 15%
Lieberman: 7%
Sharpton 7%
Kucinich: 1%

Bush's Worst Numbers Got Worse

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Jan. 29-30, 2004. N=1,259 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve: 49%
Disapprove: 44%
Don't Know: 7%

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Damn.

AHEM. Attention, Please - All Wingnuts Who Insist Clinton Did Nothing About bin Laden

Number of attempts to get him: Clinton: 27. Bush: 3.

WASHINGTON: Taliban turned down over 30 requests to expel Osama

Afghanistan’s former Taliban rulers rebuffed more than 30 US requests to expel Osama bin Laden between 1996 and just before the Sept 11 attacks in 2001, newly declassified official documents revealed yesterday.

A long list of official contacts summarised by the declassified State Department document showed that Taliban leader Mullah Omar expressed interest in a confidential dialogue with Washington over the alQaeda mastermind.

He also suggested Osama be tried by a panel of Islamic scholars or that his movements be monitored by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference or the United Nations.

The State Department documents show most of the approaches to the Islamic militia took place under the administration of President Bill Clinton.

Only three meetings or conversations detailed in the document, obtained and released by George Washington University's National Security archive, took place after President George W. Bush's inauguration in January 2001.

Saturday Reading Room

Katha Pollitt with a great piece on Dr. Judy Dean in The Nation.

Still have your $300 tax cut? Hope so. You're gonna need it and more to pay this off.

Dean has yet to be proven wrong on this. We're not safer.

And finally: 524.

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We welcome your Photoshop mischief.

Friday, January 30

Banner Ad Bullcrap



The RNC staying on message and drilling home the lies. DNC? Anyone home?

This Blog Walks Into A Blog

We now own this. What do we do with it?

So I Did A Google News Search On Saddam And Found...

This is starting to get almost humorous. Now the drumbeat out of the White House is that Saddam is so dishonest that he would let America carmelize his own country before he'd admit he had no WMDs. And since he didn't say whether or not he had them, he kinda tricked us into the war. That rascal.

But the question I meekly asked at the start of all this: If he has these giant arsenals of ricin, nerve gas, mustard gas and so on - why are we sending our soldiers in there to face these weapons face-first? We now know why. Because they wouldn't be. Boy, they sure showed me, hah?

Saddam wouldn't tell truth

WASHINGTON - The White House conceded yesterday that maybe Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction, but said he should have told the U.S. if he wanted to avoid an invasion.

"Saddam Hussein had every opportunity to help us understand his WMD programs, and if he had destroyed anything, to tell the world that he had destroyed them," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Instead, he remained secretive. He allowed the world to continue to wonder if he was sitting there with botulinum toxin and anthrax," she said.
Oh, by the way, I couldn't find Saddam's current status in my search.

Somewhere In A Dirt Pile, al Qaeda Is Giggling

But America is SAFER now that we have Saddam, right? (What's the deal with Saddam anyway? Anyone know?) Just tack this on to our kid's bill, thanks.
The Bush administration will ask Congress to boost spending on missile defense by $1.2 billion next year and nearly double funding to modernize the Army in the $401.7 billion U.S. military budget for 2005, according to Pentagon documents released on Friday.

The defense plan is part of a proposed $2.3 trillion federal budget President Bush will send to lawmakers on Monday. It includes a 7 percent increase in defense spending over the current level of $375 billion.

From the Pen of: Tom Toles


Thursday, January 29

Kos Points A Finger

I can't recall Markos being this accusatory. File under Things That Make You Go Hmm.

The Delegate Count

It's not being shouted from the rooftops, but...

Dean currently leads the Democratic delegate count with 113. Kerry, the front-runner in the race with his strong victories in New Hampshire and Iowa, has 94 delegates. To win the Democratic nomination, a candidate must have at least 2,161 delegates.

Rove Opens His Kerry File And Wingnuts Get A New Attack Motto

Kerry in the crosshairs

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie delivers another broadside against John Kerry today at the RNC winter meeting in Washington. We can summarize it in a single tried and true phrase: "soft on defense."
See, this underscores what we've been talking about. The RNC is the de facto unifying mouthpiece of the White House and the right wing militia. Their messages are clear and united.

The DNC's Terry McAuliffe just sits on the sidelines and waves a donkey flag while 319 different agendas flail wildly among the Dem candidates. The time for this simp to grow some balls and set the table has long passed. I urge whoever the nominee is to make his first move the removal of this useless slug from the DNC.

Memo To AARP

From: The Taxpayers
Re: The Medicare Reform Bill You Endorsed
Message: Thanks a pantload.

Worst Flavor Of The Month

The decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy Taiwan street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours, local newspapers said. The 56-foot dead whale had been on a truck headed for an autopsy at a university earlier this week, when gases from internal decay caused its entrails to explode in the southern city of Tainan.

The whale had died after it was beached on the southwestern coast of the island.

Here's A Friggin' Surprise

Washington expects to nab Osama 'in the next year'
Draw your own conclusion.

ABC News: Finally Getting The Dean Yawp Right

Sometimes, it has to be S-P-E-L-L-E-D O-U-T...even if it is almost two weeks too late. Video

(The funny part is Diane Sawyer saying, "I noticed he was holding a handheld microphone." Now THAT'S investigative journalism, you freak.)

I...Love...New Hampshire.


(replaces defunct video clip)


As I said many times, I respect John Kerry and admire his courage for speaking out against the Vietnam War after his return from duty. But DAMN, I still don't hear the fire in his speaking. I'm still trying to buy the package, but it's difficult, especially after hearing this - Kerry's version of a rally speech. I can't help but think that drone is going to wear very poorly as the year drags on.

I've been rehashing the last couple of weeks in my mind and in my heart. I'm really trying to like all these guys, but I'm just not seeing America being wooed by button-down college professor types going against the perceived Texas folksiness of the spoiled brat from Connecticut.

I went with Dean because he's the first guy since Clinton '92 who pulled me into the process after years of disappointment. He has a track record, a clear vision (read it - don't depend on sound bites, you're not going to get them), and is by all accounts a good guy. My father, rest his soul, would have had a word about the fallout over Dean's Iowa speech: Horseshit. Now, don't blame me. That's my dad talking. He was a car dealership owner for decades and he could spot horseshit three towns away. Dean delivers the least amount of it. Sadly, he's caught in a nation that yearns for it.

None of the other candidates have done anything to really excite me yet. The Dean camp is shaken, stirred but not deterred. The message is still there. He needs to answer more questions about his plans and policies - he's INCREDIBLE at that. And he needs to stop answering to people who just want to talk about the horseshit.

I want Bush out. That's no secret. And I want one of these guys to do it. But none of them will do it by being polite. America IS angry. Deal with it. Embrace it. And use it to get the message out.

Chris Bowers, commenting on how the polls have followed the positive-press arc, has a sobering post at Daily Kos which draws this conclusion:

Democrats are Dittoheads who will do whatever the Political Opinion Complex tells them to do.
We're better than this. We've got to get our act together or face the consequences for another four dark depressing years.

We simply cannot afford to wait for Hillary in 2008. We need more people with passion. We need them with guts. We need them as big as life to draw in the disappointed and the disenfranchised. We need more people like Dean. And we need them now.

Aim For Your Foot And You Stop Running

My dilemma here was wondering which paragraphs to repro here - it's that good. Robert Reich:

The dismal fifth-place showing by Senator Joseph Lieberman in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday serves as both reminder and motivator to the other Democratic presidential candidates on what it will take to win in November. The real fight is between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement — one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics.

...the Democratic Party has had no analogous movement to animate it. Instead, every four years party loyalists throw themselves behind a presidential candidate who they believe will deliver them from the rising conservative tide. After the election, they go back to whatever they were doing before. Issues rise and fall, depending on which interests are threatened and when. They can even divide Democrats, as each advocacy group scrambles after the same set of liberal donors and competes for the limited attention of the news media.

As a result, Democrats have been undisciplined, intimidated or just plain silent. One hears few liberal Democratic phrases that are repeated with any regularity. In addition, there is no consistent Democratic world view or ideology. Most Congressional Democrats raise their own money, do their own polls and vote every which way. Democrats have little or no clear identity except by reference to what conservatives say about them.

Self-styled Democratic centrists, like those who inhabit the Democratic Leadership Council, attribute the party's difficulties to a failure to respond to an electorate grown more conservative, upscale and suburban. This is nonsense. The biggest losses for Democrats since 1980 have not been among suburban voters but among America's giant middle and working classes — especially white workers without four-year college degrees, once part of the old Democratic base. Not incidentally, these are the same people who have lost the most economic ground over the last quarter-century.

Thanks, Readers

This week, we've been averaging over 550 unique visitors a day - about 525 more than I thought I'd ever garner - as we close in on the magic 100,000 mark. And best of all, these are mostly folks who come in on their own - repeat customers if you will - checking in because they've bookmarked us. About 1 in 20 are linked from other sites.

To all of you, no matter how you got here - thanks. Feel free to join the conversation. You're in good company.

Wednesday, January 28

CNN Hosts Gone Wild

Sometimes you think you post something to your blog and you never did. I hate when that happens.

The venerable American Stranger rattled my cage to let me know about the crapstorm brewing between Bob Novak and New Hampshire resident Brad Carr after Novak shoved the guy after Tuesday's episode of Crossfire. Seems Novak took exception to Carr's calling him a traitor as a result of Novak's outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Carr's pressing assault charges.

Of course shoving a guy to the ground isn't nearly as retched, mean and hateful as yelling "YEAH" to a room full of supporters...especially if the guy who does the shoving is a right wing nut. Get the scoop here.

Viewer Mail: Changes In The Dean Machine

With the departure of Joe Trippi from the Dean campaign (Note to folks who read this post before this updated introduction: "SSHHH"), it's worth taking a moment to wonder why Dean took a fall from the high ride he had just days before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. The simple answer is his perceived anger which was "proven" by his Iowa rally cry (a much-belated humorous apology is here)...but obviously the wheels fell off going into Iowa. There's something bigger at play here.

A good friend of this site (I'll keep him anonymous so he can stay flame-free!) sends along this observation. It's interesting to say the least, but definitely worth considering. I'm not sure if "Teflon" is something you can develop, or if it's one of those genetic traits that you either have or don't have. Or maybe - just maybe - blunt honesty and raw emotion aren't what mass America wants to hear after all. Hit us with a comment.

It is unfortunate, but the number one quality of a president in these times needs to be Teflon. Reagan was Teflon, Bush Sr. was not, Clinton was (except for the whole blow job thing) and Bush is. Dean? The guy is Velcro mixed with fly paper, dripping with super glue.

Like charisma, Teflon-ness is something that is hard to define or learn. In many cases, you were either born with it or you were not. I have no idea why things don't stick to Bush, but they just don't.

I know that to Dean fans, he could spit on the Pope, and still raise money. But to everyone else things just stick to him. His comment about the US not being safer after Saddam's capture was true, but it hurt him. His comment that Osama should receive a fair trial was true, but it killed him.

I heard a commentator say something interesting. Had Reagan, Bush Sr. or Clinton said that Potato ended with an 'e', it would have gone unnoticed. But people were looking for a metaphor to define someone they doubted, and this became his defining moment. Dean is not running a campaign but a movement, and movements are driven by passion and too much passion scares people. I think the Iowa speech was the metaphor people were looking for to define their opinions about Dean, even if the clip shown on the news was taken out of context.

So like him or hate him, stuff sticks to him, which has ended up being his largest liability.

Updates From Free Iraq

Bomber Kills Three Outside Baghdad Hotel

BAGHDAD, Iraq Jan. 28 — A suicide bomber blew up a van disguised as an ambulance in front of a hotel Wednesday after speeding through a security barrier in the heart of Baghdad, killing three people including a South African and injuring 17.

Iraq becoming al-Qaeda breeding ground

BERLIN - Iraq threatens to become a breeding ground for al- Qaeda terrorists, Germany's spy chief has warned. Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of anti-American sentiment in Iraq, said August Hanning, head of Germany's BND intelligence service in a speech at a security conference in Berlin this week.

And So The Dancing And Unraveling Begin

David Kay is ready to blame anyone but the boss.

Ex-Iraq inspector: Prewar intelligence failure 'disturbing'

The former top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq on Wednesday blamed intelligence failures for the apparently incorrect conclusion that Saddam Hussein possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion.

David Kay, who resigned last week as leader of the Iraq Survey Group searching for banned weapons, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed a "fundamental analysis of how we got here" is needed to ensure the best possible intelligence in the future.

Kay told the senators that the intelligence he had seen before the war indicated Saddam had banned weapons and that France and Germany -- countries that had opposed the war -- had stated that the Iraqi dictator possessed such weapons.

"It turns out we were all wrong, and that is most disturbing," Kay said.

ID Badges, Please

I'm Leonard Pinth Garnell. Welcome to "Bad Courtroom Artist"



(That lady in the foreground is supposed to be Martha Stewart.)

Ladies And Gentlemen...

...The Periodic Table of Condiments.

John Kerry, 1971

As seen through the then-brand-new Doonesbury comic strip.

Tuesday, January 27

It Ain't Over

More contributions to Dean have funneled through Hoffmania! today. Thanks, folks.


Goal: $1000
Raised so far: $725

Awful News Out Of NH

No, not that Kerry looks like he's headed for a double-digit win. I can live with that.

CNN reports that Lieberman's campaign WILL CONTINUE. Back to you guys in the studio.

CNN's Hosts On The Defensive

Man, CNN's guests are being quite the party buzzkills. Yesterday, Howard Dean smacked Wolf "Holy Mama, Everything's Happening Now" Blitzer for being more of an entertainer than a newsman. Wolf was almost even more speechless than normal.

Just now, Frank Sharry of the Natl. Immigration Forum got into a riff with Lou "Illegal Aliens" Dobbs over his reporting of the ongoing undocumented immigrant story. Lou did his best Jackie Gleason "homina homina" over this.

Schwarzenegger Is Beholden To No One

Well, okay. He's still beholden to the bank where he took out a $4.5 million loan for his campaign. Heh heh heh.

Hi

You just committed a sin. You read a message with "Hi" in the subject header. No dessert for you.

There's another virus kicking up a crapstorm, so take Hoffmania's e-mail precautions:
- Get an anti-Virus program (Norton's the best)
- NEVER open e-mails with just "hi" in the subject field
- NEVER open e-mails whose subject starts with RE: followed by a subject you never initiated
- If you use Outlook or Outlook Express, DO NOT use the preview pane. This is as good as opening whatever e-mail you've highlighted
- When in doubt, delete, don't open
Thanks. Your friends thank you, and your computer thanks you.

Hello, New Hampshire!

Stop wasting time reading this. Get out there and vote.

Another Statistic The Pentagon Doesn't Report

Returning female GIs report rapes, poor care

Female troops serving in the Iraq war are reporting an insidious enemy in their own camps: fellow American soldiers who sexually assault them.

At least 37 female service members have sought sexual-trauma counseling and other assistance from civilian rape crisis organizations after returning from war duty in Iraq, Kuwait and other overseas stations, The Denver Post has learned. The women, ranging from enlisted soldiers to officers, have reported poor medical treatment, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. Some say they were threatened with punishment after reporting assaults.

The Pentagon did not respond to repeated requests for information about the number of sexual assault reports during the conflict. Defense officials would say only that they will not tolerate sexual assault in their ranks.

There's A Fight A-Brewin'

...and it's going to get ugly. Joe Conason:

What neither Blair nor Bush nor Cheney has answered is Kay's admission that the U.N. inspections regime after the first Gulf War had disarmed Iraq. The implication is that continued inspections would have prevented Saddam from resuming production of chemical and biological weapons -- as well as the nuclear weapons that he never had and probably could never have built -- without hundreds of American and thousands of Iraqi lives lost. Kay's parting comments offer a clue to the final gambit that will be employed the White House and Downing Street. Having spun the cautious findings of professional analysts to accommodate their war agenda, the Bush and Blair governments will try to blame "bad intelligence." Just don't expect the intelligence agencies to accept that damning verdict without a response that could damage those dishonest politicians.

The Passing Of A Trailblazing Imp

Jack Paar defined the word "telegenic." Very few people today are as real and comfortable in front of the camera as Paar was when the medium was an infant. I have few firsthand memories of him, being a tyke myself when he debuted - although I did know him by name whenever I did see him on the screen, while none of the vaudvillians who dominated TV back then never rang true with me.

Firm in his beliefs, proud of his humility and honest with his audience, Jack left us today with a void at 85.

Dave Barry Follows The Lieberman Campaign

SOMEONE had to report on the Joe-mentum. Joe's door-to-door visits didn't exactly bear fruit.

As Lieberman headed for his getaway car, I asked him if he supported an idea that I have long advocated; namely, moving the New Hampshire primary to a warmer place, such as Jamaica. Lieberman laughed and called this ''an outrageous idea.'' He accused me of trying to trick him into saying something damaging on camera right before the New Hampshire primary.

I swear I wasn't. The simple truth is that, from a strictly climatic standpoint, New Hampshire is the worst possible location for the New Hampshire primary. We should move the whole thing, voters and all, to the Caribbean. I suspect many New Hampshire residents are in the Caribbean right now, watching the primary coverage on TV and howling with laughter. ("Look, honey! Joe Lieberman is ringing OUR DOORBELL!'')

Meanwhile, In Free Iraq

Two CNN employees killed in Iraq ambush

Two CNN employees have been killed in an ambush in Iraq, the international television news organisation says.

"Two of our colleagues were killed in an ambush on the outskirts of Baghdad," a presenter said on air. One was a driver and the other a translator/producer.
---------------------------------------------------

Killings Continues as Annan Commits UN to Iraq

Twin roadside bombings west of Baghdad killed three American soldiers and two Iraqis today just as the UN chief said he was ready to send in a team to assess prospects for early elections.
The count is now at 517, President "What's The Difference"...

Monday, January 26

Viewer Mail



From Andrew, Hoffmania's Official Australian Guy With PhotoShop Living In Japan.

Our Little Dean Bat

When Hoffmania! renewed our Dean campaign involvement earlier this month, we were asked for our goal. I just picked $1000 out of the blue. I checked our stat sheet for the first time just now and saw this:



650 bucks. And that's with all the perceived pitfalls. Thanks, readers. Sure, it's only 33% of a hamburger-and-fries dinner with Dick Cheney, but it's really appreciated.

Dean: Spankin' The Wolf



I'm of the opinion that Dean needs to endear himself a little more to the press - that's part of why they fawn all over Bush. But if you're going to spank someone, Wolf is the guy.

If I Had A Rock, I'd...

Tucker Carlson on Crossfire is too smart a guy to say that Dean having his wife campaigning with him now is "going back on his word so soon." C'mon, Tuck - that's an idiotic talking point.

Speaking of Crossfire, this half-hour format still blows. The guests went at it for a big fat 6 minutes before they had to move on. Give them back their hour, please.

Breaking Primary News

Dave Barry checks in:
FACT: A veteran journalist told me that, of the Democratic candidates, Howard Dean is by far the best pancake flipper. The worst is Gen. Wesley Clark. ''He doesn't flip at all!'' the journalist told me, genuinely outraged. "He just slides the pancakes around.''

Selective Hearing

David Kay, 8/9/2003:
David Kay, now seeking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for the Pentagon, has privately reported successes that are planned to be revealed to the public in mid-September.

Kay has told his superiors he has found substantial evidence of biological weapons in Iraq, plus considerable missile development.
David Kay today:
"I don't think they exist," Kay said of Iraq's weapons after nine months of searching.

"We have to remember that this view of Iraq was held during the Clinton administration and didn't change in the Bush administration," said Kay.
And Mr. Kay wins this week's Blame Clinton T-shirt!

Dontcha kinda find it wacky that they only heard the Clinton administration's theories about Iraq - but completely ignored their warnings about al Qaeda? This, year, let's at least elect a president who doesn't have ADD, okay?

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Ouch.

Dead Heat

Zogby:
The three-day rolling average has Kerry with 28 percent to Dean’s 25 percent in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, cutting four points from Kerry's Sunday lead. Factoring in the poll's four-point margin of error places the Massachusetts senator and the former Vermont governor in a statistical tie.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is in third place with 11 percent, followed by North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 10 percent. Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman polled at 9 percent.

Dean Takes A Poke At Wolf

I'm lovin' this. Wolf "Bustin' Breakin' Developin' Unfoldin'" Blitzer interviews Howard and Judy Dean on CNN today. The entire thing will be played during Wolf's breakin' bustin' developin' Reports 5pEast, 2pWest; but he played a bit of it this morning - a testament to Wolf's inability to see when he's being whacked.

Dean took CNN and the news nets to task for running the Iowa yawp all week. Wolf pointedly told Dean, "But you're the one who said it." Dean shot back, "Yes, but YOU'RE the one who played it 673 times," going on to own up to what he did and his need to deal the stupidity.

If Dean pelted him with a rolled up newspaper, he'd pop a 40% in the polls. This was good enough.

Sunday, January 25

Bush Bolsters The Mental Health Industry

It was bad. It's getting worse:

Up to one in five of the American military personnel in Iraq will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, say senior forces' medical staff dealing with the psychiatric fallout of the war.

This revelation follows the disclosure last month that more than 600 US servicemen and women have been evacuated from the country for psychiatric reasons since the conflict started last March.

At least 22 US soldiers have killed themselves - a rate considered abnormally high - mostly since President George Bush declared an end to major combat on 1 May last year...

The Republicans Were Ready To Pounce Until They Realized That Ours Now Sucks Too

Try as they will, it's hard to disagree with this, what with all the dying and stuff...
Dean: Iraqi Standard of Living Worse Now
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean said Sunday that the standard of living for Iraqis is a "whole lot worse" since Saddam Hussein's removal from power in last year's American-led invasion.

Joe My God

Yeah, that's great. Now drop out.

Lieberman said he is seeing a "Joe-mentum" in New Hampshire following Thursday night's debate and polls have reflected that he maybe right.

Dave Barry's In NH

Wish I knew this sooner. Catch Dave's campaign coverage here.
Dean is trying desperately to soften his image by wearing suits, smiling, no longer ending speeches by breaking boards with his forehead, etc. But these measures may be too late, as almost all the experts now predict that Kerry will win in New Hampshire, which probably means he won't.

Voice Of Experience: The GOP Economy "Sucks"

From the Syracuse Post-Standard:
Investor Martin J. Whitman first came to Syracuse University just after World War II, under the G.I. Bill of Rights, a federal program conceived when the country was running deficits that Whitman says was a good use of taxpayer money.

Whitman, Class of '49 and nearly 80, was back in Syracuse on Thursday, in a building with his name on it and in an economy newly stung with word of extensive layoffs at Kodak and a deepening federal deficit.

The U.S. economy in one Whitman word?

"Sucks," said Whitman, known as a straight shooter.

So what's the first step to right it?

"The biggest thing we have to do about it is get rid of the Republicans," said Whitman. "It's just a disaster. I'm more a use-of-proceeds person than I am a deficit person.

"Deficits can be very, very constructive if the funds so raised are used in a productive manner, such as what brought me to Syracuse in the first place: the G.I. Bill of Rights. But when you piss the money away in useless wars and ill-conceived tax cuts, you're headed toward becoming a banana republic.

"The people there are just interested in trying to make the economy look good for the next election, but they're not interested in the Draconian long-term consequences."

Broadband: The Faulkner Dean Remix

This is outstanding.

Absolutely Truthful Headline Of The Day

Failure to find WMD in Iraq points to intelligence failure, Kay says

Zogby: The NH Gap Narrows

Ladies and Gentlemen...we have a race.
Independents wooed as N.H. race tightens

In the MSNBC/Zogby Reuters tracking poll released Sunday and covering Thursday through Saturday, Sen. John Kerry held a 30-23 percent lead over his closest rival, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont.

The seven-point margin for Kerry in the three-day period was down two percentage points from the previous day's numbers. "Dean had another good polling day, actually bouncing back to 25 points on Saturday, compared to Kerry's 28," pollster John Zogby said. "Undecideds climbed slightly on Saturday, indicating a shift may be taking place."

KB Toys: Let's Analyze

KB Toys Seeks Chapter 11 Protection

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - KB Toys Inc. became the second major casualty of this past holiday's toy price wars, filing Wednesday for bankruptcy protection and announcing it will close up to 500 stores and cut its work force.
Here comes the funny part: KB's big push running up to the holidays was...? Anyone? Right, the selling of the George W. Bush Pilotpants action figure. Since then, on top of kicking thousands of employees out into the street, they also seemed to have done the same to you-know-who.

Getting screwed in this "booming economy" will do that to you.

When Op-Ed Pieces Hit A Chestnut Tree At 75 MPH

Tony Quinn has a rather huge column on the front page of the L.A. Times' Opinion section this morning. Let's read it!

The Politics of Prayer
As Democrats abandon traditional values and religion, their core voters are slipping away
Could 2004 be 1928 all over again?


Not since the 1928 elections have the Republicans retained control of both Congress and the White House. Now that 76-year-old record may be about to fall: President Bush is looking stronger...
CRASH AIR BAGS DEPLOYED - Man...I hate when my newspaper does that. Look two posts down, and you'll see why I couldn't read any more.

Video: How Presidential Is Bush?

If you were "shocked...SHOCKED!" over Dean's rally speech in Iowa, you ought to be horrified by our current president's behavior here. Anyone who claims that they've never said "Holy Shit" out loud in their lives should refrain from viewing.

Bottoms up.

Saturday, January 24

Worst. Numbers. Ever.

Let's check the bounce from the State Of The Union speech:

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Jan. 22-23, 2004. N=1,233 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve: 50% (down from 54% Jan 8-9)
Disapprove: 44% (up from 41%)
Don't Know: 6% (up from 5%)
Tied for lowest approval rating ever (May 2001); Highest disapproval rating ever.

Overdosing On Homophobia

Wow. Accuracy In Media needs to check into rehab. Fast.

The Columbia Journalism Review Blasts Dean Coverage

A good look at the chronology of a smear by Brian Keefer. It garishly underscores what we keep discussing here: The validity of firsthand accounts versus the laziness of reporting from in front of a TV or computer monitor.

Correction

XXXXX ERRONEOUS INFORMATION FOUND AT HOFFMANIA! XXXXX
XXXXX 13:09:59 PST 01-24-04 XXXXX

IN AN EARLIER POST, we implied that Matt Drudge works out of the attic of his mother's house. HOFFMANIA! insiders report that this is not true. HOFFMANIA! offers its apology and retracts the statement.

Log cabins do not have attics.

Developing . . .

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk. Why, You Chowderheads. I Oughta...(CLANK) Woo Woo Woo Woo


Click the play button
as you read the following:
WMD hunter: No stockpiles in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) --The man who has led Washington's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, David Kay, says he does not think Iraq had stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

Kay quit his post as the CIA's chief weapons hunter in Iraq and will be replaced by Charles Duelfer -- a former official with the U.N.'s inspection team in Iraq.

Iraq weapons find remains a possibility, Cheney says

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said it is still possible that investigators will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, reviving the possibility after nine months of fruitless searches.

Powell: Possible Iraq Had No Banned Arms

TBLISI, Georgia - Secretary of State Colin Powell held out the possibility Saturday that prewar Iraq may not have possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The View From The Crowd

Here's the perspective no one wants to report because it's not character-assassinating enough.

Fox And Friends! Where The Ignorant Are Being Replaced By The Misinformed

Reader Dave watched the Fox News morning fustercluck and writes:

On Tuesday or possibly Wednesday morning, the one in the middle (semi-cute but very vacuous E.D. Something) [E.D. Hill] was railing against the Democratic responses to the SOTU, in particular the criticism that pre-emptive war had never been a part of the American makeup. With a sneer she said "Oh yeah? What about Kosovo? What about Pearl Harbor?" Uh, Pearl Harbor? Perhaps all of my old history books are wrong but I am reasonably sure that Pearl Harbor wasn't an instance of American pre-emptive war. Did anyone else notice this?
Kinda reminds me of Blutarsky's "It's not over until WE say it's over!" speech in Animal House.

Bloggers In New Hampshire: Reports From The Trenches

American Stranger files his first Blah3 report from NH where he and Symbolman will do their next TBTM show.

Josh Marshall is packing on the miles hitting as many of the stump spots as he can, with reviews of Dean, Kerry and Clark's appearances.

And Kos seems to have more correspondents in NH than all the news networks combined. The poll-savant reports the Dean slide seems to have stopped - maybe even reversed. Jerome Armstrong visits the defunct Gephardt HQ which has been taken over by Kerry's folks.

Good job and congrats all around, guys and gals. Thanks for being there.

Ed Gillespie Wants My Money

I received this letter today from the RNC. I haven't a clue as to why I did, but here it is - presented in its original form so you can see the their latest effort. You can make your own comments at the end - I've already made the first one to get the ball rolling. The bold, underscored and italic portions are exactly as they appear in the original.

Dear Friend and Fellow American,

I must alert you to an important matter - At this very moment, a fierce battle is being waged for America's heart and soul.

And - the decision you make in the next few moments could determine the outcome.

But let me explain:

Since taking office on January 20, 2001, President Bush has transformed our party, our country, and our world.

He has passed two of the LARGEST TAX CUTS in history, igniting the fastest rate of ECONOMIC GROWTH since 1984 - and creation of new jobs is on the increase.

And, on November 25, 2003, President Bush and our Republican Congress passed a historic Medicare prescription drug bill, which allows for the first modernization of this senior health care program in nearly 40 years.

In addition, Mr. Bush has signed into law the most important education reform in a generation, transformed the federal government to protect our homeland, AND led our Nation courageously in the War on Terrorism.

But - despite these tremendous accomplishments - the fight for America's future is far from over.

In fact, the real battle is just beginning...

You see, the liberals are retrenching! And now, they're hungrier than ever to undermine President Bush, and his agenda for a better, more prosperous America. Just consider this quote from a prominent liberal activist:

"Now the President is out of control and threatens American democracy and the peace of the world...Bush must be beaten in 2004. Not only the nation, but the world, depends on it." *

That's why I'm asking you to STAND UP for America's future by becoming a sustaining member of the Republican National Committee (RNC) today. Your pledge of support, along with a membership contribution of $25, $35, $50, $100 or more, will help President Bush enact his agenda for a stronger, safer and better America.

As a sustaining member, you'll be entitled to a number of benefits which I'll describe for you in a moment.

But more important - you'll feel a strong sense of personal pride knowing that you're part of the team fighting for a better future for all Americans.

While President Bush has already passed two of the largest tax cuts in history...sparked the fastest pace of economic growth in nearly 20 years...passed a historic Medicare prescription drug bill...AND led our country courageously in the War on Terrorism...

...we must ALL continue to FIGHT for America's future!

And - as a sustaining member of the RNC, you'll be doing your part to help President Bush further his agenda to strengthen the Economy, secure our Homeland, safeguard Social Security, and win the War on Terrorism.

We've done so much in the past year!

I know you're as proud about what we've accomplished as I am. But now is not the time to rest. It's the time to build, and the decision you must make is simply this:

Will you stand up NOW and FIGHT for the future of America?

I hope that your answer is YES - and that you'll join the RNC as a sustaining member today.

Your show of support, and a generous membership donation of $25, $35, $50, $100 or more will be a strong statement of personal support, and a pledge of commitment to the future of our country.

By standing up and joining the RNC today, you'll be doing your part to fight for opportunity: Opportunity for yourself, and opportunity for every American.

You see, President Bush has a bright, bold vision - one of unity, and common purpose which draws strength from the timeless American principles of empowerment, independence, individual liberty and free enterprise.

He wants you to be able to chart your own course in life, empowered to take your own risks and succeed, rather than be caught in a web of government dependence.

He wants every child - regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of their house of worship, regardless of whether they live on a small farm or in a big city - to have the opportunity to succeed.

But the LIBERALS don't agree with President Bush. They want BIGGER GOVERNMENT, HIGHER TAXES, and LESS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

And now, they're more determined than ever to take TOTAL CONTROL of the federal government in 2004!

Make no mistake: The liberals will stop at nothing to undermine President Bush and his agenda for a better America.

That is why I must have your support today!

[more solicitations for $25, $35, etc. and list of benefits including a newsletter, phone access, membership card, lapel pin and access to RNC events]

The greatest benefit of membership, however, is the knowledge that you've taken a stand - that you're part of the team fighting for a better future for all Americans.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There is a fierce battle being waged at this very moment for the heart and soul of America. Your involvement is VITAL to the future of our country, and we need you on the Republican team today!

The decision you make right now to become a Sustaining Member of the RNC could alter the shape of America for years to come.

I hope you'll follow your heart. I hope you'll join us now!

Sincerely,

Ed Gillespie
Chairman
* Hoffmania note: From "Ralph, Don't Run" written by Ronnie Dugger in The Nation 11/14/02

Friday, January 23

Obesity Problem In America?

Oh. My. God.

(Wouldn't Rhode Islanders NEED this during the winter?)

Okay. Fine. Here.


Predictable, Predictable, Predictable

Now that Kerry's lead has increased by several furlongs, I'm tuning around the dial here in LA (which for those of you in the rest of America, has no Hollywood Liberal talkshows despite what you've been led to believe). Guess what! The conversations have shifted from Screamin' Dean to the more-liberal-than-Ted-Kennedy John Kerry.

Man, you can set your freakin' watch to the topics all these clowns come up with.

Separated At Birth


The Fred Flintstone Of Sports Journalism Makes His Choice

The L.A. Times reports today that ESPN's Chris Berman is supporting Joe Lieberman.

We Can Throw The "CBS Didn't Carry The Last Super Bowl" Argument Out The Window

CBS: 'No' to MoveOn, 'Yes' to White House

CBS rejected a request from MoveOn to air the 30-second spot, saying "Child's Pay" violated the network's policy against accepting advocacy advertising, a company spokesperson told reporters.

At the same time, CBS is allowing an ad placed on the docket by the White House's anti-drug office. For the third year in a row the White House has paid between $1.5 and $3 million each for 30-second spots during the broadcast. The 2004 ad, produced for the White House by Ogilvy & Mather, is expected to convey a message similar to their previous Super Bowl spots. While CBS would not reveal the content of the upcoming ad, previous White House Super Bowl spots drew a controversial link between casual drug use and the financing of global terrorists.

Debate: Dueling Headlines

Palm Beach Post: Democrats rip Bush, one another
ABC News: Dems Rap Bush, but Not Each Other in N.H.
Miami Herald: Democrats tone it down

And oh yeah, Newsweek: Dissecting Howard Dean's Implosion
(Just to make the media happy.)

The Latest From Hatboy

XXXXX SOMEONE PUTS BEE IN DRUDGE'S PORKPIE HAT! XXXXX
Developing news from Mrs. Drudge's attic:
Matt horny for John Edwards for second time in one week...
Tells Moby to "butch up..."
Developing serious Freudian attributes...
Reports moved as situations lose interest...

Icons Of My Childhood Keep Disappearing

When I was a rugrat, I used to think that Captain Kangaroo and Walter Cronkite were the same guy. They both lived on Channel 2, they both had moustaches, they both spoke in assuring basso profundo tones. It's just that he'd wear his captain's costume in the morning when we kids were watching, then put on his serious suit and demanor at night because dad was home to watch.

Bob Keeshan passed away this morning at 76.

Remember This Story? The Computer Break-In? Hmmm?

Yeah, it's been met with the same ennui the "liberal" press gives stories like these because they're still too busy analyzing the never-ending Screamin' Dean story and how it's been skewered by the late-night comedians and sampled on the internet and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

For the six of us still interested in this illegal high-tech break-in, here's an update.

GOP downplays reading of memos
'Fact sheet' asserts no rules, laws broken
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff, 1/23/2004

WASHINGTON -- Although Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle's investigation into GOP surveillance of Democratic Judiciary Committee communications from 2002 to 2003 is not yet complete, Republicans are preemptively trying to head off any criminal charges or even ethics complaints in the Senate or the D.C. Bar.

The Committee for Justice, headed by C. Boyden Gray, a former senior White House counsel during the first Bush administration, this week began circulating a "fact sheet" arguing that no rules or laws were broken by Republican staffers who exploited a computer glitch on a shared server that allowed them to access memos written by their Democratic counterparts without having to enter a password.

However, Democrats, including Beryl Howell, a former general counsel for the Judiciary Committee who left the Hill a year ago and now runs the D.C. office of the cybersecurity consulting firm Stroz Friedberg, were quick to dispute each of the major points advanced by the Committee for Justice.

Said Howell: "Just because you can do it doesn't mean it's right, doesn't mean it's ethical, and doesn't mean it's legal."
Gray responded, "Yeah, but Howard Dean was really loud Monday night."

(Look, folks, I'm just trying to draw the press' attention to this story somehow.)

Thank You

David Greenberg in today's L.A. Times:

When I first saw the snippets of Dean's Monday night speech, they struck me as little more than the fiery rallying cry of an exhausted, hoarse campaigner trying to keep disappointment from sapping his troops. His final grunt did sound sort of odd, but juxtaposed against Dean's other comments that night, which were subdued and conciliatory, his overall reaction seemed reasonable.

Within 24 hours, however, a consensus among the news commentators had congealed that Dean had lost it. Cable news replayed the offending speech fragments over and over Tuesday. Pundits tittered and shook their heads over Dean's eruption of "anger" — a quality of Dean's they had always overstated and overrated anyway.

Ultimately, television pumped this nonstory so full of life that many newspapers felt obliged to run another round of articles about it Wednesday and even Thursday. Dean was described as a "rabid dog" and "borderline psychotic" by analysts. Soon the conventional-wisdom buzz was not that Dean's third-place showing would doom him but that his grunts and howls would.

What had been a relatively innocuous, if slightly goofy, speech has metamorphosed into a real threat to his prospects, as late-night comedians drill home the image of a deranged Dean. Perhaps the propensity toward hysteria and overheated rhetoric belongs to the media, not to Dean.

Three At Bats: A Hit, A Walk, A Home Run

Howard Dean had a television trifecta tonight. Did okay at the debate - not astounding, but still solid - and did the Letterman Top Ten (Things I can do to turn things around) - dutifully delivering the writers' lines with a very decent response.

But on Primetime Live, he and his wife Judy met Diane Sawyer's insipid questioning head-on and were brilliant. Sawyer made her usual attempt to make her questions more newsworthy than her subjects' answers. The Deans were unapologetic - as they should have been - when Sawyer predictably drilled them on the Iowa speech:

Diane Sawyer: But it is the sort of thing that can hurt … really hurt you.

Howard Dean: You know what, Diane? It could. But there's nothing I can do about it. I did it. I own it. Maybe it was over the top. I was trying to pump up 3,500 kids who gave me three weeks of their lives, and I'm not a perfect person. But, my attitude is, that's done. And, now we gotta get back to running for president.
-----
The young people are incredibly disillusioned. They see … the things that people care about the most who are under 30 are the deficit, the environment, and how to get through college. This President's wrecked the environment. We have the biggest deficit in the history of the country. What do they have to look forward to? They desperately want change and they're enormously energetic. That video shows it. Now look, I … I mean, was it over the top? Sure it was over the top. Do I do things that are a little nutty? Sure I do things that are a little nutty. But the truth is, I was having a great time. They were having a great time. It was really tough for those kids who worked their hearts out and come in third when they thought I was going to come in first. You know? I'm a little sheepish, Diane, but I'm not apologetic because I was giving everything to people who gave everything to me.
That's how I saw it from the get-go. People keep asking me if I'm still supporting this guy after the past few days. I put it this way:

The Democrats were simpering little wussies scared to death of offending Bush and the Crackheads. Dean knew he'd be labeled unpatriotic and unAmerican by the White House frauds if he stood up to them and identified them as the liars they were. He did - and as expected, they labeled him. But something amazing happened. They didn't stick. In fact, his words and attitude resonated with voters. It was only then that the other candidates came out of their shells and slammed Bush - using their newfound courage to slam Dean while they were at it.

If I have any doubts about Dean, it's from the way the media have been beating the crap out of him since he began to lead the polls. It's tough to win the race when it looks like that tortoises-and-hare Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Dean still impresses me as the real deal. I'm also impressed by Clark and Edwards. Kerry's past actions (war vote notwithstanding) still bother me, though I respect his accomplishments. Lieberman, Sharpton and Kucinich, on the other hand, are toast and should stop wasting debate airtime. We need to hear more from the other four.

Tonight's interview demonstrated why I'm still standing with Dean.

If you missed it, read it here or watch it here.

Thursday, January 22

What We're Up Against

Um...er...uh...

...this?

Flashback: Four Years Ago

Tucker Carlson: The 'compassionate conservative' gets angry
By TUCKER CARLSON/CNN
February 16, 2000
Web posted at: 1:04 p.m. EST (1804 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- You didn't hear the phrase "compassionate conservatism" much in the Republican debate Tuesday night. Over the past week in South Carolina, George W. Bush has waged one of the roughest primary campaigns in memory. The man who describes himself as "a uniter, not a divider" has gone profoundly negative against his chief rival, John McCain. When he talks about his political philosophy, Bush typically goes out of his way to sound gentle and inclusive. He didn't bother during the debate on Larry King Live.

Instead, Bush sounded angry, raising his voice and scowling. He seemed close to losing his temper several times, usually when the three others on the set attempted to speak over him. Bush hates -- absolutely can't stand, won't tolerate -- to be interrupted. During the first hour of the debate I tried to count the number of times he petulantly snapped, "Let me finish," or "May I finish?" or "Wait a minute!" My pen ran out of ink before I completed the tally, but the point was clear: Bush, not McCain, appears to be the one with the temper problem.

Did We Call It, Or Did We Call It?

Government Computer News is calling the high-tech break-in of Senate Democrats' computers by the GOP:

Democrats' Cyber-Embarrassment
Just friggin' shoot me.

Memo To Dean Campaign

Enough TV spots made by college kids with camcorders. You have the bucks. It's time to go pro. Hire an advertising agency. Or at least hire Charlie Fisher, winner of Bush in 30 Seconds. But do it NOW.

Fom the Pen of: Ann Telnaes


DUH!

KNX Radio's Chris Stanley was speaking with CBS News' Barry Bagnato this afternoon about John Kerry's strong showing in New Hampshire polls. Chris expressed surprise that Kerry would be leading Howard Dean there since Dean was once the governor of neighboring Vermont.

Bagnato was almost too embarrassed to respond with the obvious, which he ultimately did.

Another Bit Of My Childhood Checks Out

George Woodbridge, an illustrator for Mad magazine for nearly 50 years, has died. He was 73. His illustration of 1965's "43-Man Squamish" is still a classic.

The Party Of Smaller Government Kicks Us In The Nutsack Again

The Senate gave President Bush and his Republican allies a victory today by approving an $820 billion spending bill covering more than a dozen federal departments and agencies in the fiscal year that began almost four months ago.
We'll break it down for you: That's close to another trillion our kids will be smacked with.

The Embryo Sprouts Legs

The Boston Globe story (next post down) on GOP Senate Judiciary Committee members ransacking Democratic files has been picked up verbatim by the Kansas City Star, the Seattle P-I, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

THIS Is The Story Our "Journalists" MUST Cover. NOW.

This caught my eye over at Blah3 via the Boston Globe. It puts the Dean-screaming story in proper perspective as the non-story it is.

Remember Watergate? And I don't mean that it was the event that gave the world "-gate" as a cheap scandal suffix.

The 1972 break-in at the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington ultimately led to the impeachment procedings and resignation of President Richard Nixon.

What you're about to read here is nothing less than a high-tech version of Watergate. And it stinks to high hell.

Infiltration of files seen as extensive
Senate panel's GOP staff pried on Democrats
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff, 1/22/2004

WASHINGTON -- Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November.
WHERE IS THIS STORY BESIDES THE BOSTON GLOBE? The main page at the otherwise useful Google News still leads with Dean Scream, and this story is NOWHERE. Nothing at CNN. Nothing at ABCNews. Nothing at MSNBC. Nothing at CBSNews. And do we even need to mention FoxNews and XXXXX Mr. Developing Story, Matt Drudge XXXXX?

Give 'em several months, and they'll do a story on how sloppy the Democrats are with their computers.

Shrill, Blustery, Fist-pounding, Shouting

He crusaded endlessly on matters big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist.

Some of [his] most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects.

"Our place ... is and must be with the nations that have left indelibly their impress on the centuries!" he shouted in San Francisco.

Whatever his interest, he pursued it with extraordinary zeal. "I always believe in going hard at everything," he preached time and again.
Who's this progressive loudmouth? President Teddy Roosevelt, of course. Look him up sometime, chickenhawks. That'd be under "Republicans Who Once Did The Right Stuff."

Unbefrigginglievable

Four days after the fact, the L.A. Times has loaded its corpulent journalistic butt onto the Trash-Dean bandwagon. Here are some of the terms used in a front-page above-the-fold story called Dean's Late-Night Battle Cry May Have Damaged Campaign:

"irreparable harm"
"prone to outbursts"
"fits of pique"
"unqualified to be president"

As insane as this sounds, that's just the first paragraph. In the rest of the story, you'll also find these lovely pejoratives, all, except where noted, written by the writers - not quotes:

"emotional meltdown"
"rabid dog" (quote by Charlie Cook, newsletter writer)
"shrieking"
"manic'
"wild-eyed"
"mentally unstable"
"borderline psychotic" (quote from Don Sipple, a GOP strategist)
"screeching"
"volatile temper"
"He'll melt and melt and melt" (quoting Sipple again)
"Had he been drinking before he went on stage?"

That last one, by the way, was the writers' quoting of a comment at the Dean Blog. Ever been there? There are generally no less than 150-300 comments for every entry. This meant the Times' Mark Barabak and and Faye Fiore had to wade through possibly thousands of comments to find that choice quote. Nice use of your time, you pitiful excuses for journalists. Just more scribes trying to win an AP award by traveling no further than you are right now to research a story.

Did they even bother to touch on the context and setting of this speech? Oh, yeah. About halfway into this lengthy diatribe, you can find these few sentences:

Indeed, the speech seemed to play well within the fevered confines of the retro disco ballroom of a West Des Moines hotel where Dean spoke soon after the results were known. Some in attendance said they felt the candidate resorted to shouts to be heard over the roar of the crowd.

"Anyone who thinks Dean was over the top last night obviously wasn't there," wrote one website supporter who was.
Then the editorial-disguised-as-news-story resumes with the next sentence:

But when carried on worldwide television, the speech seemed to cross an invisible line from passion to self-parody.
Needless to say, this story was accompanied by several unflattering pictures of a flailing-armed Dean.

It's the story that the media won't let die - because it's all they've got. And they didn't have much to begin with.

Wednesday, January 21

Truly Interesting Site

Love In War is a people-meeting service with a twist - it's for political-centric folks on all sides of the spectrum, although the only folks there seem to be good guys/gals whose political intensity is measured from Clinton Mellow to Dean Angry. Heh. Okay, I'll give them slack on that.

Thanks to regular reader Bryan, founder of Love In War. Check it out and be part of the launch. And let us know if you meet someone.

So You Came Here To Hear Howard Dean Going Nuts?

Fine. You want to listen to the insane guy who's lost his mind. Click here for the lunatic ravings of a certified madman. After hearing this, you'll know this guy is unfit to be President of the United States.

Oh God

Diane Sawyer will be doing one of her simpering transparent non-penetrating interviews tomorrow - this time with Howard and Judith Dean. Gee. I wonder if she'll spend 90% of the time dwelling on "YEAAAHHH!"

Place your bets.

Enough Of Dean's YEAAAAAAAH Already

Have any of the people railing on Dean's high-voltage post-Iowa pep talk ever seen him speak to a crowd before? Predictably, the wingnut radio twits are playing it almost in an endless loop throughout their shows. Oh ho ho. Imaginative little bastards. But news "organizations" are making wacky sampling videos, labeling him as crazy, asking psychoanalysts, bringing in experts, smirking at the loudness of it all and having roundtable/town hall discussions about the freakin' Dean speech. What the hell?

I've seen him live several times. He emotes. He raises his voice often. Especially when the crowd is egging him on, as they did Monday night. This is NOTHING NEW. This is what he does. He obviously saw a lot of sunken faces that night and wanted to light a fire under their asses. He committed the biggest sin of all: showing emotion in front of cameras - with all the sound picked up through just one microphone - the one he was yelling into - not picking up the obvious crowdswell which you can see all around him.

Because the crowd wasn't mic'ed, all you heard was Dean. Therefore, that's all the story you're getting: Dean yelling.

The meteoric rise of Dean was - at least for one night - successfully squashed by the "liberal" media. But that wasn't enough. They need to finish the job. They have to wrap their jaws around a rally speech and drag that through the dirt for the last couple of days.

I'm so glad we're focusing on the right issues here. I was afraid our esteemed journalists were waxing superficial again (/sarcasm).

MA! I'M TYPING UP HERE

XXXXX It's amazing what your imagination whips up when you only see the world from the attic of your mother's house. XXXXX

XXXXX Developing... XXXXX

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger


Why The Ground Is Feeling Chilly

That's because hell froze over. Oh, sure he takes his requisite swings at Bill Clinton as a president, but that's only because he's got a career at the NY Post to think about. That aside, neocon nut Ralph Peters falls under the spell of the big dog.

"Journalistic Integrity"

In an e-mail message sent on Feb. 15, 2003, Marc Graboff, an NBC business executive, urged [Michael] Jackson's representatives to consider a bid of "$5 million for the exclusive rights to the footage and the interview."

Mr. Graboff then added: "Unlike with other networks, the acquisition of the rights to this special on NBC will have the added benefit of pre-empting NBC's planned broadcast of the one-hour [investigative program into Mr. Jackson by] Dateline scheduled for Feb. 17." The message was copied to the executive producer of "Dateline" and to the president of NBC Entertainment.

When first reported a year ago, deep in a Washington Post gossip column, Mr. Graboff said the offer "was not a quid pro quo: 'You give us the interview, and we'll kill the Dateline special.' "

But a close adviser to Mr. Jackson who negotiated with NBC said the offer had been precisely that.

The SOTU Promised Us The Moon, The Stars And...Hey, Wait A Minute

...Also left out was any mention of the president's proposal, made only last week, to send astronauts to the moon as the first step of a program to land humans on Mars. Polls have found that many voters are unenthusiastic about spending the money an expanded manned space program would take.

"It's not real popular," an administration official said.

Whatever You Do, Don't Let Facts Sway Your Decision

Editorial excerpt from the LA Times on the SOTU:

His real accomplishment was a persuasive delivery of a good speech that sent a steady message: "I'm the boss. I'm unafraid to do what needs doing. Stick with me." And the less a listener let the facts get in the way, the more effective the speech became.

-----

Bush's address was the start of what should be the most serious, substantive debate over domestic and foreign policy in 20 years. Bush offered himself as the president who slays terrorism, kills taxes and saves traditional values. While the facts of the matter may get in the way, it's a smart strategy for reelection.

Another Day, Another Republican, Another Abuse Of Usage Of State Troopers

State troopers relay Sugar Bowl tickets to New Orleans for senator

Louisiana state troopers maintain they rendered no special favors when they relayed Sugar Bowl tickets from Shreveport to New Orleans for newly-elected state Sen. Sherri Smith Cheek on game day earlier this month.

It all began when Cheek received a call from her husband about 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 4. He was in New Orleans, but he'd left the tickets in Shreveport, she said.

"After calling FedEx, UPS, the bus station and the airport, I knew there was nothing else for me to do but get on the road," Cheek said Tuesday. "I called the state Senate's office in Baton Rouge and they connected me to the state police in either Baton Rouge or New Orleans, I don't remember."

When asked how the troopers were able to get the tickets to New Orleans in time for the game after Cheek had been advised there was no way for her to make it there in time, Whittaker said, "I don't know the answer to that. We got the tickets down there. As far as the traffic and how they handled it in New Orleans, I don't know."

Tuesday, January 20

We Knew The Beatles. The Beatles Were Friends Of Ours.



You four fenderheads are NOT the Beatles.

Out Of Context

SOTU - I was running the gauntlet at LAX while he was talking:

Bush was combative at times, challenging opponents of the Iraq war — particularly those who complained he lacked international backing.

"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people," he said.
Nor will it seek a permission slip to carry out a crackhead agenda which had nothing to do with terrorism based on trumped-up "evidence" which makes us look like lying bastards to the rest of the world.

Keep talking, cowboy. You're getting thrown off your horse one year from today.

Absolute Must-Read Material - Plus: Our Message

Get over to Media Whores Online and read some greatness titled Bush Fatigue Grips Nation (link now updated to archived story). Some samples:

Our candidates have finally abandoned holding back harsh criticism of George W. Bush, the individual for fear of being labeled unpatriotic. And they aren't afraid of accusations they are "not respecting the office of the presidency" because they finally understand that only the most deluded and hopeless Bush apologists believe it is in any way respectful of the office of the presidency to avoid criticizing someone who occupies it illegitimately as a result of successfully fighting to prevent the will of the American voters from prevailing.

Repairing the image of Democrats-as-wimps was essential if we were to have any chance of defeating the Unelected Fraud in November.

--------

Democrats failed to lead after 9/11 and instead allowed their actions to be determined by a terrorized public begging them not to give them any further "bad news" about Bush's defective character, his corruption, or his incompetence.

Democrats failed to lead at a time when Democratic leadership was needed more than ever. A time when the corrupt Bush Regime signaled it intended to utilize the deaths of 3000 Americans to push an unrelated radical right-wing agenda that included an unnecessary and immoral Iraq war, and draconian domestic policies rejected by the American people when Bush was defeated in 2000.

For months after 9/11, Democrats bought into the Republican Party and state-run news media's exploitative and disgraceful "unity means agreeing with Bush's radical right-wing agenda" propaganda.

And when the midterm elections rolled around in November 2002, Karl Rove and Ralph Reed showed Democrats what happens when they foolishly trust known corrupt power abusers: Republicans will unceremoniously shove Democrats' goodwill down their throats with ads portraying them as traitors and terrorist sympathizers.

Democrats seem to be wising up. Now they're ignoring the New York Times editorial admonitions not to question the Unelected Fraud's character and have begun to fight back hard.

Our candidates are saying things you used to see only on Websites like this one.

-------

There was the ABC-American Spectacle story implying Dr. Howard Dean knowingly vouched for a wife-beater.

Next came an equally vaporous New York Times story about General Wesley Clark strategist Chris Lehane, headlined at Drudge, complete with grainy black and white photo of Lehane resembling Chupacabra.

Finally, accusations flew about John Kerry's alleged advocacy for the abolition of the Dept. of Agriculture, clearly intended to set us on a dangerous slippery slope toward the abolition agriculture itself.

But given that these are considered the most "damaging" stories for each of the candidates - what is most remarkable is not the nastiness of the campaign, but the fact that when one examines all of the so-called "scandals" thrown around thus far, the heartening question that comes to mind is: Is this all they have?
Here it is - in writing - what we really have been believing and what we've really needed to see. We've been saying on this blog that the Democrats will have the truth on our side this November. MWO has put forth the argument in an absolutely must-read essay. If you've already read it, go read it again. Cut and paste it into your documents. Read it every two weeks.

I'm also compelled to add that we're finally seeing some balls in the speeches by most of the remaining candidates regarding the criticism of the frauds in the White House. That was a path that was blazed by the guy I've been supporting almost as long as I've been blogging. It took guts and the ability to take a lot of crap to do so, but Howard Dean needs to be credited for opening the flood gates - making it okay to speak out against the lies and hijacking of patriotism by Bush and the rest of his crackheads. Not that we needed permission, but as MWO points out, we were taking "the high road." Being the nice guys. Attempting to work with these barbarians. And we got our asses kicked roundly for doing so. Well, people - those days are over. And thanks in no small part to the "angry" Howard Dean.

He opened the door and the other candidates walked in - some of them stomping a mudhole in him as they did. But we now have a message which is resonating with America. We must deliver it this November - no matter who the candidate is. I'll be there. Please - you need to be there as well.

Back In L.A.!

And finally back online. My information drought is about to end, but I wanted to check in first. So...I bet Dean kicked ass in Iowa, huh? On to New Hampshire!

Monday, January 19

In Case The Day Gets Past Me...

(SEATTLE) - I'll be sans internet access for most of today and tomorrow. I don't know how significant the results of today's Iowa caucuses (shouldn't that be "cauci"?) will be, but the significance of tomorrow must not escape us.

Tomorrow should be George W. Bush's final State of the Union message. Because one year from tomorrow - if there's any justice and proper voter outrage - we'll be swearing in a new president.

Celebrate the day.

From the Pen of: Plantil

The world notices. From Paris Le Monde:


Sunday, January 18

Today's Pollster Head-Scratcher

The latest Zogby poll has Howard Dean trailing John Kerry 24.4 to 23.1 percent in its three-day rolling-average tracking poll. What's even stranger is the explanation:

"Kerry continues to poll strong. Dean seems to have bottomed out and move almost back to where he was," pollster John Zogby said. "There are fewer doubts about Dean's ability to defeat Bush, a factor that has hurt him much of this week."
Some of you may not quite grasp what was just said there. I'll clarify it.

Zogby is saying that there is - less doubt - about Dean being able to beat Bush. "More doubt about Dean's ability to beat Bush" would mean there's growing concern that he can't. But Zogby's saying the opposite. And this has somehow hurt Dean.

Let that sink in - and you'll understand why my diddling around with caucus poll numbers here will make my freaking head explode.

DAMMIT. It Always Takes Forever To Clean The Coffee I Spit On My Monitor After Reading Stuff Like This

Bush prefers our pretty boy to his pretty boy

OTTAWA -- This is the tale of the two Scotts -- one American, the other Canadian. One is dark-haired, the other blond. Both are 35 and both work for the most powerful men in their respective countries.

Scott McClellan is the press secretary to U.S. President George W. Bush; Scott Reid is the senior strategist to Prime Minister Paul Martin.

But, according to Mr. Bush, Mr. Martin has the prettier Scott.

Mr. Bush wandered over during Mr. Reid's chat with the Prime Minister. Mr. Reid introduced himself and shook hands with Mr. Bush.

"Well, what do you do for this guy?" the President asked as he pointed to the Prime Minister.

"Well, you know, sir, I can't really say," Mr. Reid said. "It's not that I don't want to. It's just that, you know, I don't really know from day to day."

This is true. Mr. Reid handles a number of files and performs a number of different duties, depending on the issue and the day.

The President chuckled. "Well, you got a pretty face," he told the surprised Mr. Reid. He wasn't done. "You got a pretty face," he said again. "You're a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott anyway."

This is true. His Scott has a receding hairline and is on the chubby side, while Mr. Martin's Scott has a full head of hair and is quite fit.

Saturday, January 17

When The Lustre Of Saddam Wears Off...

...it could get ugly. Oh look, it did:

CBS News/New York Times Poll Jan. 12-15, 2004. N=1,022 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
Trend includes surveys conducted independently by CBS and by The New York Times.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve: 50% (60% 12/21)
Disapprove: 45% (33%)
Don't Know: 5% (7%)

Hasn't Scalia Done Enough Already For These Crackheads?

Trip With Cheney Puts Ethics Spotlight on Scalia
Friends hunt ducks together, even as the justice is set to hear the vice president's case.

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.

But Scalia rejected that concern Friday, saying, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."
What he MEANT to say was, "I do not think my impartiality will reasonably be questioned."

To quote Alan who sent this along: "I wasn't going to comment on or pass along this story, but then I thought, That's what they want; they want to wear us down, they want their critics to shrug in tired acceptance and stop pointing to their mistakes or misdeeds... I can't do it... I can't stop..."

We know the feeling all too well around here.

Then On July 21st, The Guy In 23C Ordered A Mourgh Sandwich

Here we go again...

Airline Gave Government Information on Passengers

At the time of JetBlue's apology, Northwest [Airlines] officials publicly stated that their airline, the nation's fourth-largest, would not divulge information on its passengers.

"We do not provide that type of information to anyone," Kurt Ebenhoch, a spokesman for Northwest, told The New York Times in a story published on Sept. 23.

Northwest confirmed that it gave NASA data on passengers who flew during several months in 2001. The airline's action came to light through Freedom of Information Act requests made to the Transportation Security Administration and NASA by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based privacy-rights group. It was reported on the Web site of The Washington Post on Saturday.

The information Northwest turned over to the government appears to involve more than 10 million passengers, said David L. Sobel, the general counsel for the privacy group.

Great Names For Morning Show Disc Jockeys

(SEATTLE) - Species of fish we saw today at the Seattle Aquarium which would make good pseudonyms for radio hosts:

Red Lionfish
Walleye Pollock
Tubesnout
Snake Prickleback
Tiger Rockfish
Grunt Sculpin

...and the winner is:
Spiny Lumpsucker

Preview Of Tuesday Night's Meeting Of The Liars' Club

Address Will Depict Bush as Above Politics
But still beneath contempt. Okay, okay. Cheap shot. Back to the story.

According to Bush advisers, this is the gist of his speech, which will have solemn passages with an overall tone of optimism:

We are a nation at war. My bold decisions have made America safer, but we are not yet safe. At home, my administration's policies have made us better and more prosperous. But I am not satisfied, and Congress must pass more of what I have proposed.

The speech will begin with a tour of the world, including a claim by Bush that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq made the nation safer. Advisers said Bush plans to make a big point, in the speech and during the campaign, of Libya's decision last month to surrender its chemical and biological weapons. Many in Bush's circle contend that the decision was spurred by the confrontation with Saddam Hussein, and see the agreement as a prize to compensate for the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Bush's Mars Project Claims Its First Casualty

NASA Cancels Trip to Supply Hubble, Sealing Early Doom

Savor those cosmic postcards while you can. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration decreed an early death yesterday to one of its flagship missions and most celebrated successes, the Hubble Space Telescope.

In a midday meeting at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., two days after President Bush ordered NASA to redirect its resources toward human exploration of the Moon and Mars, the agency's administrator, Sean O'Keefe, told the managers of the space telescope that there would be no more shuttle visits to maintain it.

500

Three U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, toll reaches 500

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Guerrillas killed three U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi officials on Saturday, taking the death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq to 500 since the war to oust Saddam Hussein began last March.

Let's Take A Look At Bush's Dayrunner

1 - Wake up
B - Lay wreath at Martin Luther King Jr.'s grave
3 - Eat some pie
8 - Raise millions at Atlanta fundraiser
5 - Think of something over-the-top insane to finish the day
4 - Force appointment of racist judge
7 - Go to bed incognasent uncognicent not aware of the idiocy of what I did today

Bush Seats Judge, Bypassing Senate Democrats

President Bush on Friday used the Congressional recess to install Charles W. Pickering Sr. in a federal appeals court seat from which he had been blocked twice by the Senate because of Democratic opposition.

In using a president's power to make appointments during Congressional recesses to fill vacancies, Mr. Bush was able to skirt the Senate confirmation process, which Democrats have used for three years to block not only the Pickering nomination but also those of several other Bush judicial nominees.

Senate Democrats argued that he did not deserve elevation because he had written an article as a young man recommending ways to strengthen Mississippi's anti-miscegenation laws, left the Democratic Party in 1964 when the national party tried to integrate the state delegation to the national convention and, more recently, presided over a 1994 trial in which he took extraordinary steps to reduce the sentence of a man convicted in a cross-burning incident.

Friday, January 16

We Have Reclaimed The Literature Franchise

(SEATTLE) - Hello from the cold moist Northwest. And it took me all of 78 minutes on terra firma to get a winger pissed at me. While walking the streets, I came across some folks demonstrating for Wes Clark. I gave them the thumbs-up, saying "Anybody but Bush!" A couple of guys in front of us who work in the business district (they wore jackets saying such) turned and shot us a look to kill. We kept walking, shrugged our shoulders and just said, "Hey - my country sucks right now." That was the end of it. It feels good to be proud of being liberal.

Which brings me to the thing that got me in such a giddy mood to begin with. I went to the bookstore at LAX during my 90-minute wait for the boarding (do we still have to be there two hours early?), and REALLY liked what I saw: A window display overflowing with the titles, "Fraud," "Dude, Where's My Country," "American Dynasty," "Red, White and Liberal," "The Price of Loyalty," "Had Enough..."

It began to sink in: The good guys have recaptured the bookshelves. Ann Coulter was nowhere. O'Reilly's latest was sitting alone on a back shelf. If you looked under a table, you'd find a copy of Glenn Beck's book. But prominently displayed were Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Molly Ivins, Ron Suskind, James Carville...man. THAT was inspiring.

Once you get out into the real world, you find out there are a lot of us. And I'm liking what I'm seeing.

See? I'm not always pissed off.

Thursday, January 15

Wait! Wait! One More Thing, Okay?

Joe Conason agrees with Famous Amos (see four posts down) on the Gore speech - he was there, too.

Al Gore's remarkable address on climate change and environmental policy won a sustained ovation from the audience that filled Manhattan's Beacon Theatre Thursday afternoon. Lucid, learned, witty and fearless, the man who won the last presidential election delivered what was certainly the best speech of his career and one of the best I've ever heard given by any politician. The event's only regrettable aspect was the absence of certain individuals who ought to have shut up and listened -- including Ralph Nader and his supporters, axe-grinding reporters who maligned Gore so unfairly in 2000, and such scientific authorities as Rep. Roy Blunt and Dr. Matt Drudge, who evidently think a winter snowstorm somehow disproves global warming.
Now, good night, dammit.

And Since She Tested So Well In Our Focus Groups...

We had more comments about her than the freakin' American condition this week. So here's Britney Spears with a message to Matt Drudge.



Thank you, and good night.

Why I Opened The Floodgates Tonight

I'll be out of town visiting our new niece up in the Pacific Northwest, so posts will be fewer. I just wanted to leave with a cleared conscience so I pounded out this pile o'posts tonight. I'll have the notebook, so I'll check in on location.

Like you're all following my life.

We're Angry. But They're Criminally Insane

At this point, it almost hurts to ponder - why is anyone - ANYONE - with half a brain believing the GOP? Simple question, but it hurts to ask it.

GOP chair claims Clark supported war; transcripts show otherwise

Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, charged Thursday that retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark endorsed President Bush's policy toward Iraq two weeks before Congress voted to authorize Bush to go to war.

If true, that would contradict the core message of Clark's presidential campaign. The complete transcript of Clark's Sept. 26, 2002, testimony, however, reveals that Clark didn't endorse Bush's policy during the congressional hearing, and that the Republican charge is based on selected excerpts of his remarks.

Gillespie accurately quoted portions of Clark's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in which Clark said he believed that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical and biological weapons and was seeking nuclear weapons. But the RNC chairman didn't mention that Clark also said America should work through the United Nations to seek a diplomatic solution and go to war only as a last resort.

Firsthand Account of Gore Speech

I'll take Famous Amos' word on this before I believe the National Center for Public etc. etc. any day:

Eyewitness to history: this man was AWESOME. Never again believe that "all our politicians" are "dwarves", etc.... there are some great leaders available to this country. The people in power just want you to believe there's no real alternative, and depress political participation.

Believe me, when you hear a powerful, intelligent, well-informed, energetic, rousing speaker like AL... and then reflect on the 4-year freak show we've been subjected-to, with a smirking, inarticulate, incurious moron fronting a dark group of thieves, traitors and killers... it is enough to make you SICK.
Sounds like powerful stuff. No wonder the pinhead wingnuts are focusing on how cold it was in NYC. The speech kicked their asses from coast to coast. I haven't been able to load the video, but try it yourself.