May 30, 2004
[via The Filibuster]
May 27, 2004
THE MEDIA'S WAR ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION continues unabated. Recent events have combined with the media's anti-Bush agenda to paint a misleadingly dark picture of Iraq. If you received all your news from CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Army Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, the Sacremento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, The Orlando Sentinel, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Lansing State Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, UPI, Reuters, or the Associated Press, you would be under the impression that things are pretty bleak in Iraq.
Fortunately, Michael Ubaldi has several blog posts explaining how good it actually is over there. Just keep scrolling.
posted at 05:23 PM by Glenn Reynolds
The rest is hilarious as well.
via This Modern World
May 26, 2004
Paul Simon was the most respected political figure in the state for decades. He was a liberal Democrat who came from a conservative downstate region where his name remains political gold. The universal explanation for Simons near-universal popularity is integrity, and this spring I heard the word a lot from people discussing Obama. It refers to consistency and incorruptibility, but also to a refusal to resort to smear politics. The cultural and political distance between Chicagos South Side and southern Illinois is vastCairo is closer to Little Rock than it is to Chicago, and not just geographically, as Obama likes to say. Voters in such disparate places will never agree on affirmative action, gun control, or many other issues that Obama has taken clear positions on. And yet, in a state with a population that is only fifteen per cent African-American, he needs to campaign hard downstate, far from his base, making his pitch on economic issues and personal appeal.
Well, I think it's fair to say that he has the personal appeal thing down pat. As for striking the right chord on economic issues, that's up to down-staters to realize that Ryan and the rest of the far right don't have their interest in mind.
Questions still remain, of course. What will become of President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), now that he's no longer running for reelection? What will Palmer do, aside from appearing in ads for Allstate? Will he and Jack really become bestest friends like he promised? Will Kim and Chase's love go sour when they're changing diapers instead of sneakily instant messaging each other all day long? And most important, why has Kim spent the entire season in a pantsuit?
May 25, 2004
We're the suckers
Senate race has political feuding, Captain Video
Ryan gives Obama a shadow
Ryan aide to give Obama more space
Ryan pulling back Obama's stalker, but not far enough
Berkowitz: Well, No. 1, your opponent opposed this war from the get go. Barack Obama has argued that there was no imminent danger, that we should have worked with other countries, that we should have worked multi-laterally, that we should have contained Saddam Hussein. What do you say to that?
Ryan: I think it is a very risky proposition; We found this [out] on 9/11. [it is a] very risky proposition to wait until something is imminent. When would we have stopped the terrorists under that theory who attacked us on 9/11? What we learned from 9/11 is better [to] be proactive, better there than here, better now than later and remember the first rule of government is to make sure that we keep our children and our families safe from harm
Hmm, 9/11 and Iraq? I wasn't aware that there was any, any, evidence connecting the two. That's because there isn't. In fact, General Zinni and other hawks like Brent Scowcroft have not only repeatedly said that Iraq was sufficiently contained, but that the war in Iraq has taken away from the real 'War on Terrorism.' Notice how Ryan here isn't even able to pretend that Iraq has anything to do with stopping Al Qaeda inspired terrorism. He just sticks 9/11 and Iraq the same sentence and hopes that he can scare people into buying his point. Every time you hear a supporter of the war link it to 9/11 in any way, stop them immediately and ask them to spell out what they mean. Otherwise they can keep up this dangerous rhetorical slight of hand.
May 24, 2004
There's nothing wrong with Obama taking the comments down, but I'll note he didn't offer an apology to Ryan's hired-gun or Ryan for his supporters crossing the line.
Why would the Obama campaign have to apologize for the comments that readers of its blog leave on their site? For all anyone knows these could be Ryan supporters posing as Obama loyalists or just hooligans posting these comments. Though it is of good taste for blogs to take down unfounded or stupid comments, there's no obligation to do so. It's a comment board meant to be a log of unedited reader responses. Why anyone would take them for fact is bizarre, and it's certainly not the fault of the Obama camp that people fell for these rumors. When I read the comments under that particular blog post, I had a good chuckle. Beyond the handslapping of supporters over a story that made Ryan look bad, the metamorphosis of the story from the Ryan worker waiting outside of the bathroom for Obama to in the end helping him shake off was like an online version of telephone. Why RAOK concludes that Obama is somehow culpable for this is beyond me. RAOK even concedes that one of the more ridiculous exaggerations, that the Ryan worker is a skinhead, came from the Illinois Leader comment board. Should the Obama campaign apologize for that as well? Or should Leader. The point is that comment boards are public forums with no accountability. I say read them as such, get your news from reputable sources.
Now I agree with RAOK that the story was not as big as it may have been projected to be. But the news cycle on the campaign is slow lately and, well, from what has been reported this Ryan worker was acting quite zealous and sketchy. As for Ryan having no role in this guys actions, well it is his campaign, and he's responsible as much as anything under his name should be.
This was a story and it got the attention it did because of the timing and because frankly this video taping comes off as a very creepy practice. Add an even creepier campaign worker and the thing has legs. Whether video taping has precedent with other campaigns or not, Ryan's employment of it crossed some sort of line. It's his fault for hiring a worker who clearly wasn't savvy and subtle enough not to attract attention to himself.
Update: ArchPundit makes an even more convincing case on why this IS a story. Check it out.
Update: RAOK responds to us both.
May 23, 2004
Népszabadság [a left-leaning publication] claimed US defense analysts and senior officials from Hungary's Foreign Ministry and the PMO engaged in high-level talks on deploying certain elements of US-manufactured Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries and/or radar stations in Hungary.As I noted before, the Bush team is quietly going about its business abroad putting the pieces of the missile defense folly in place, and they can more or less hide in plain sight with Iraq absolutely (and of course justifiably) dominating the American press. Since most domestic U.S. polling excludes questions of missile defense, it's hard to know what Americans think of it, but in my humble opinion I would venture to say that if they knew it was proceeding apace without debate, most people would be rather skeptical of yet another '80s retread.
Adding to the speculation, specialist publication Jane's Defense Weekly has reported that several US allies in this region have been approached on the subject, which is reportedly being initiated in a bid to guard against the potential of ballistic missiles being launched by states listed as being among the "Axis of Evil". […]
Hungarian defense analysts, who spoke to Népszabadság "on condition of anonymity", said that Hungary's geographical location made it an ideal candidate for such missiles which could potentially be used to destroy hostile missiles from Iran or North Korea while they are still in the upper layers of the atmosphere. --Budapest Sun
What started off as broad political support for the Hungarian deployment in Iraq has seemingly developed into a maelstrom of mixed political and public opinion.The Hungarian political parties are mostly divided on the issue of whether to maintain a troop presence in Iraq, with the ruling Socialist party stating that the abuse at Abu Ghraib should not affect the decision. But with opposition parties using falling support for the mission to their political benefit, it will become increasingly difficult for the Socialists to remain at least nominally committed.
The Hungarian Gallup Institute conducted a poll at the end of April which showed nearly 77% of Hungarians were in favor of calling back the soldiers serving in Iraq. A mere 15% felt that the Hungarian contingent should continue its efforts.
The poll was conducted before reports on the torture of Iraqi prisoners broke in the world media.
The Hungarian soldiers' mandate expires at the end of the year. Both the parliamentary parties and the government itself were prepared to take part in four-party talks in order to reach a "careful, balanced consensus", the leaders said. There are currently 290 Hungarian transport troops serving in Iraq.
May 22, 2004
May 21, 2004
But part of the point of it is that its creators don't want to engage with the mainstream, or no longer think that it's possible to do so, and as a consequence cult status is preordained rather than accidental. In this sense, the squeaks and bleeps scattered all over the lovely songs on the last Wilco album sound less like experimentation, and more like a despairing audio suicide note.
Definitely take the time to read the whole thing. BTW I think the new Wilco, A Ghost Is Born, is really mediocre. Some good tracks but on the whole forgettable. Who told Jeff Tweedy he can solo? And the lyrics have sadly become stilted:
Oh, hold back
Oh, don't invite me
Once in Germany someone said nein
I guess not every album can be a classic. Sigh
Update: The Illinois Leader takes the high road and blaims the Trib. Now that's classy.
Like most elected officials in Springfield, Obama is out in the open as he mixes with the public and wades through crowds on his way to and from legislative hearings, rallies and debates in the House and Senate chambers. Right behind him virtually every moment is Justin Warfel, the 24-year-old Ryan staffer who is documenting virtually every move Obama makes.Ostensibly, the Ryan campaign is saying that they're only monitoring Barack to make sure he has a "consistent" message, but what they're actually doing is just gotcha politics, or rather trying to create a gotcha moment, upset or provoke the Senator, try to catch him in a slip and yell "Aha!" This is just degrading behavior, unworthly of a campaign for the nation's highest deliberative body. The Ryan campaign clearly knows what trouble it's in, desparately hoping for the notoriously cool-and-collected Obama to make a mistake, in effect acknowledging that they can't go head-to-head on the issues and character. And so what if he does slip? What does that prove? How are you going to spin it, Ryan folks? Will you be proud of yourselves then? In a hard, months-long race, anybody is going to display moments of human frailty. Then again, perhaps Barack should get used to this, as a political celebrity there are bound to be the fair share of paparazzi and gawkers.
"The young man who has been following me down here is literally a foot away," Obama said. "So I can't have a call. If I'm calling my wife on the phone, he's got a tape recorder in my face."
It is common for political candidates to dispatch aides to monitor campaign activities of opponents. Many also make use of researchers who pore over the private lives and public records of rivals, looking for flaws to exploit.
But Warfel's up-close-and-personal shadowing of Obama appears to step it up a notch.
An aide to Obama said Warfel went so far Thursday as to interrupt Obama while he was talking to constituents and "heckle him a little bit."
May 20, 2004
And the real world is not a restoration. If you see people in the real world making bricks out of straw and water, those people are not colonial re-enactors—they are poor. Help them.
May 17, 2004
May 16, 2004
Ollie North for PresidentI'm at a loss to decipher the levels of irony here. Croats speak a lot of English, which would seem to rule out fetishization of the words, like what happens in Japan to American phrases. Who knows, maybe they just like the guy!
May 15, 2004
"For a better world for you"
Turkei in die EU? Mit mir nicht! (Turkey in the E.U.? Not with me!)Now, it's not surprising to see this sort of not-so-thinly-veiled xenophobia, especially given this country's far and recent pasts. It's just a bit unsettling to see it so nonchantly plastered all over a major cosmopolitan city. (I'll just briefly mention posters from another candidate that feature what I believe to be a Turkish man cartoonishly rendered with fangs, the obvious implication being that immigrants are vampires on the society, and this is from the Green Party candidate! Does anyone know if I'm missing the point on these?)
May 13, 2004
Barack Obama made the cut:
The Dean DozenThat last line from Gov. Dean himself. Interesting. Word has it that Obama campaign manager Jim Cauley has met with former Dean campaign guru Joe Trippi and other foot soldiers from the Dean experiment recently, who are eager to use Barack's campaign to prove that the Dean thing wasn't just about Dean, i.e., the methods -- Internet-based communications, community building, and fundraisings -- can translate to other full-throated, progressive Democratic candidates.
Barack Obama for United States Senate from Illinois. In the race to regain control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats have few better chances to pick up a seat than in Illinois. DFA volunteers all over Illinois helped Obama win his primary, now it's time to help him win the general. Stay tuned: I will be on the trail with Barack soon.
May 11, 2004
Obama has 16 point lead in Illinois Senate ContestUndecideds are a higher percentage than the margin Obama holds, but they'd all have to break to Ryan. That doesn't seem too likely considering:
Obama [leads] Republican Jack Ryan by a healthy margin 44% to 28%, with other candidates combining for less than 5% and 18% still undecided. […]
"Clearly, if Ryan has any hope of making this a competitive race he must do two things, first continue to grow his lead with Republicans and find a way to communicate with Independents," Adams said. "With 33% of those surveyed self describing as independents, the Independent vote will play a crucial part of any winning coalition and right now Obama is doing a better job of winning their trust."
Obama has a commanding lead among Independent voters leading 44% to 15% among those self described as being registered Independent. Obama also leads Ryan among men 41% to 31% and women 46% to 24%.The race will certainly tighten, and Obama's campaign will try to downplay the significance of polls like these, but from where things stand, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where Ryan pulls this one out.
May 03, 2004
Stand on labor sets Ryan apart
Ex-school board chief Chico starts law firm Hey Gery, how about taking down that billboard on 90/94. It's just sad now.
Obama has center in his sights
Serious Senate Races
Jack Ryan Says He'll Avoid Negative Campaign
Vice President Durbin?
Ryan Criticizes Obama on Supporting Tax Increases
Ryan spent less than Dem Obama in winning GOP nod
Campaign dirt alone not enough to bury a candidate
Ryan, Obama side by side in race for election funds
Jack Ryan is Anything But Behind
~there was proof that Iraq was an imminent and immediate threat to U.S. security,
~Iraq is somehow connected to the Islamic radicalism targeted by the U.S.'s "War on Terrorism,"
~Obama is critical of the war only because Bush lied about WMDs and not because the war dilutes resources needed to tackle real terrorist threats to the U.S.,
And there's plenty more. True conservatives should be ashamed by such poor reasoning. Moreover, from the events of this month it really does appear to be true that only "international institutions and alliances legitimize the use of American military power." Even if you think that the war was justified as Biver does, a smart hawk would know that stabilizing a country via occupation has just as much to do with appearing legitimate as having sufficient military power. It only takes an isolated incident (but maybe not) like that in Abu Ghraib prison to turn the whole population against you. And of course Biver touts the coalition of 30 countries as evidence that we didn't go in alone. Please Mr. Biver, look me straight in the eyes and repeat that with a straight face.
I took a formal logic class back in college and one of our assignments was to find fallacious arguments in print media. This one would have gotten me an A+.
"Cub factor: The fall campaign season typically starts after Labor Day, but there's one factor the U.S. Senate candidates have to consider this time around: the Chicago Cubs.
If the Cubs live up to their promise, they could make a run deep into the playoffs. Should they make it to the World Series, the Chicago media, and plenty of other people, would give a lot of attention to that.
That would be a good thing for whichever candidate held a lead in the race at that point. On the other hand, Republican Senate hopeful Jack Ryan and Democratic opponent Barack Obama would have a guaranteed huge audience to run TV ads at during each playoff game."
I love baseball myself and I realize what a huge event it would be in Chicago should the Cubs make it to the World Series (I'm originally from Boston so I know about championship droughts), but I can't seriously imagine it having much effect on the election. Sure baseball may compete for the top story on the local news and papers, but a.> I think voters are smart enough to separate their enthusiasm for the Cubs with that of the election and b.> that our news outlets have enough credibility that they wouldn't forget about one of the most important elections in years just because of a baseball series. I love BSing about campaign strategy as much as anyone, but I think that the importance of this factor should be sent back to left field where it came from. [Hey now!, (rimshot!) thanks I'll be here all week.]
May 02, 2004
Ignatieff displays his intellectual honesty and clarity again in a piece in today's Times Sunday Magazine, entitled Lesser Evils: What it will cost us to succeed in the war on terror. I don't necessarily agree with all of his premises or conclusions -- his proposed solution to the question of the necessity of torture strikes me as a somewhat cynical condescension to the rule of law -- but he proves himself a worthy thinker by provoking and reasoning through a number of difficult and disturbing issues.