Saturday, October 30, 2004

Jeannette Ward asked me to post this:
The full text of a flyer that appeared on the front doors of Tower Grove East residents this week is given below. There was no source identification.

Before you vote on November 2, please consider the following facts:
-Southern states that withdrew from the union out of opposition to freeing slaves, all had one common link...they were governed unanimously by Democrats. Their bitter defeat at the hands of Republican President Abraham Lincoln's Union Army lead to nearly one hundred years of Democratic Party control of the South, where they instituted systematic oppression of blacks, also known historically as "The Jim Crow Laws". At times throughout this dark period of our history, Republicans did not hold a single seat in many Southern State's Legislatures.

-The Ku Klux Klan was founded by six Democrats (page 35, White Power, White pride by Dobratz Meile, also see

-Current West Virginia Senator Douglas Byrd is a former Grand Dragon in the KKK.....he is a Democrat

-Former Alabama Governor George Wallace-who stood in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block the entry of black students- was a Democrat. It took an armed escort from the National Guard to allow student James Meredith to enter.

-The majority of Senators who voted for civil rights legislation in the 1960's, were Republicans......not Democrats.

-The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, granting blacks the right to vote, was written and passed by Republicans, despite bitter opposition from Democrats.

-George W. Bush is the first President to appoint an African-American as Secretary of State, and National Security Advisor.

-President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, passed legislation initiating the welfare system as we know it today, which has proven to be nothing more than vote-buying offered to millions of African-Americans living in poverty. This destructive cycle, sanctioned by the Democratic Party, has perpetuated economic segregation by discouraging poor blacks from entering the work force by offering benefits that will be taken away if they strive for independence. The dominant mission of the Democratic Party is not equality for blacks. Their objective is simply to buy a voting block that is 90% loyal to their candidates by maintaining the status quo.
These facts can be confirmed by any credible book of United States History


Friday, October 29, 2004

The Post-Dispatch did our state no favor by endorsing Bond, Akin, Hulshof, and Emerson. But I give them points for blazing away at Matt Blunt this morning. The print just about burned my fingers, and Blunt deserved every scorching word.
Take a look if you haven't already. Is it possible to impeach a secretary of state who has less than three months left in office?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Oh to be a fly on the wall when the Post-Dispatch editorial board decides whom to endorse. The skinny we got when they passed over Jeff Smith in favor of Mark Smith--they pretended it was Jeff's lack of experience, but Mark had none either--was that they resented the letter writing campaign to them that Jeff's people instigated, felt it was manipulative. This is a reason to pass over an excellent candidate?
This week, they've endorsed Republicans Kit Bond, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson, and Kenny Hulshof. Now I know that they know these recommendations are hogwash. The way I know is that they went to such pains to point out what was wrong with each one.
They cited Bond's "execrable record on the environment" and said he "even suggests that the daily casualty count in Baghdad isn't much worse than in Washington, D.C." Republicans fumed over the endorsement. "I don't believe there was one truly positive thing about him or his record in the entire editorial," wrote one reader.
They endorsed(?) Akin this way:
Mr. Akin is the most difficult of the incumbents to endorse enthusiastically. His support of bills to ban the federal courts from ruling on issues involving gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance is a crude way to impose ultra-conservative views on the Constitution and American society. And we would want this man in office ... why?
Moving along to Hulshof they allow that Linda Jacobsen "says correctly that Mr. Hulshof 'is just blindly following the president in Iraq.'" His only good point seems to be that he isn't completely under the thumb of Tom DeLay. Their endorsement is more negative than most backhanded compliments. So why not just choose Linda Jacobsen, who is a really fine, progressive contender.
The Post actually seems to like Jo Ann Emerson ("It is possible to be enthusiastic about Ms. Emerson ...."), so I'll grant them one endorsement out of four that they MEANT. Why the others, though?
Here are two theories:
This week, the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer voted seven to two in favor of endorsing Kerry, until the owner explained to them that they were going to endorse Bush. Could that be happening here? It seems unlikely, since the Post went for Kerry at the top of the ticket.
The other theory is that, for circulation reasons, they have to throw a few sops to the Republicans. They choose to do that in races where their endorsement will make no difference anyway: they figure Bond, Akin, Emerson, and Hulshof are shoo ins.
The fly on the wall might have heard:
"Okay, we're going to have to hold our noses and endorse some of these Republicans. Kevin, you and Anne put together, say, eight or nine hundred words in favor of Bond."
"Bond? Why me? I can't write praise of that corrupt old ..."
"Just give him credit for all the pork he brings home. And quit looking like someone just passed gas."
"Okay, okay, I'll do it, but let me include at least three paragraphs of the truth."
"You get to tell some of the truth. That's understood, but you will have to hold it to three."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

If turnout is the name of the game in this election, then new registration is the ninth inning, tie breaking run. Both sides know it.
Citing examples from "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy" by John Fund of The Wall Street Journal, George Will argues that voter fraud by the Dems is widespread. In Columbus, Ohio, he points out, there are approximately 815,000 people 18 or over. But 845,720 are now registered. One reason for such unacceptable numbers in various jurisdictions across the nation is that voter rolls are not frequently enough purged of voters whose status has changed. Unfortunately, there is reluctance, especially among Republicans, to support measures that might appear to have a "disparate impact" on minorities and therefore be denounced as racist.
Indeed. How unfortunate that Republican motives are so misunderstood. They purge a measly few thousand black voters off the 2000 Florida and St. Louis voter rolls and Democrats get bent out of shape about it. It's so unjust. Will fails to point out, though, that Florida Republicans were up to the same shenanigans this year and had to be taken to court before they would lay off their dirty doings. Will's disingenuousness intrigues me: Does he believe his own blather? If so, I'd like to point out to him that these shrinking violet Republicans who don't dare purge outdated voter rolls are planning to be mighty aggressive on election day. They've registered thousands of people who are going to be "vote challengers" at Ohio polling places. Earlier, the Ohio Secretary of State tried to prevent new registrations by invalidating those that weren't on the right thickness of paper. And that's just in Ohio. In several states, Sproul and Associates has been registering people, but tearing up the Democratic registration cards. A Republican judge in Nevada ruled that those poor Dems can't reregister. Ari Berman's "Daily Outrage" column last Friday summarized a range of other Republican disenfranchisement sins.
Look at underhanded Republican tactics this way: they're scared. That's why Mallard Fillmore spent every comic strip last week urging ignorant (read: Democrat) voters not to vote. And Mona Charen ran with the same theme in Monday's column: "If you're ignorant about the issues, don't vote."
They should be worried, and at least this time, Dems won't roll over and play dead if it's close. Katrina vanden Heuvel's column in The Nation makes the case that disenfranchisement, not voter fraud is the widespread threat and that we're not about to let them steal it all again. She quotes Andrew Gumbel's warning that 2004 could turn into "a concatenation of knockdown, drag-out fights in several states at once, making the debacle in Florida four years ago look, in retrospect, like the constitutional equivalent of a vicarage tea party."
Forestalling such chaos is as simple and as difficult as overwhelming them next Tuesday. As I said, voter turnout is the name of the game. Getting newly registered and infrequent voters to the polls could be a tie breaking grand slam. If you're not already signed up, get busy and help.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I love it when I'm forced to apologize for disseminating incorrect information--as long as the misinformation was bad news and the correction is good news. Two weeks ago I wrote that Air America was practically going down the tubes.
Air America is floundering. In May, it had trouble meeting its payroll and because of a dispute with Multicultural Broadcasting, it has lost its New York and Chicago markets and is down to fourteen carriers, mostly satellite and internet. Advertising agency gurus know that its advertising spots are practically free. The reason is that advertisers don't want to invest in something that they fear will lose its audience once the election is over.
While it's true that Air America lost its Chicago market and that there was a mixup over one payroll last spring, everything else I said was either wrong or badly out of date. Just this last couple of weeks, they added three more stations, so now they're up to 36 outlets. They're in New York. In Portland, they're the number one talk radio station.
After the election, Democrats need to concentrate on getting Air America going in their cities. St. Louis and Kansas City are ripe for its ideas. If we don't fight the propaganda wars on radio, Rush's ilk will win this country.
I'm SO glad Air America is building its base.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

This business of mixing Christianity and politics has turned into hypocrisy incarnate. Millions of Bush's followers will vote for him because he's an evangelical. They should take into account that constant lying is frowned upon in both Testaments. And furthermore, Jesus's message was: Help the poor. W. has turned that mandate on its head. Molly Ivins's latest column lays out George Bush's sins as well as anybody has:
Click here if you haven't already read it.
Further courting God's displeasure, Bush employs his own personal Machiavelli, Karl Rove, who is not even on speaking terms with the Almighty. Judging by Rove's amoral tactics, he doesn't give a damn whether there is one or not. His latest deviltry is to attempt to keep newly registered Democrats out of polling places in swing states. Read about the Republican effort to prevent a fair election. And Republicans compound the sacrilege of obstructing the election with another of their multitude of lies: a pretense that they're doing it to stop supposed Democratic fraud at the polls.
Religion is especially toxic when it permeates politics because the most extreme Christians assume that the rules don't apply to them since God is on their side. Give me a fair minded agnostic anyday. Apparently God agrees with me because last May first, He Himself took George to task on this very blog about the transgressions I've been discussing here. Since W. has taken no steps to reform himself, I'm reprinting it for his edification:
All right, George, being omnipotent, I couldn't help but notice Frontline's program on your born again love of the three of us. I was embarrassed for you, George, and more than a little annoyed at the way you sully my reputation.
Let me enlighten you. Extramarital sex and drunkenness are way down on the list of things I disapprove of, a few miles below cheating on a national scale to enrich your already obscenely wealthy friends. Keep in mind what I told the rich young ruler, that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Furthermore, you're blithely degrading my creation. It's bad enough the damage that's already been done. How dare you make it worse! And then there's that war in which thousands of people are dying so you can strut around in a flight suit. And don't give me that business about Saddam being part of the axis of evil.
You just straighten up your own act. Stop lying hourly to hide all your many sins. Stop being so self satisfied and try a little REAL humility.
Here's the odd part. I laid it out in both Testaments how I wanted you to behave. How can you fail to notice how many commandments you break, on a grand scale, every day? How can you be so dense, George? How? Don't forget, Lucifer thought he was hot stuff, too. He and I came to a parting of ways, and right now you are strolling down HIS path, not mine.

Friday, October 22, 2004

If I could find someone foolish enough to take the bet, I'd lay money that turnout in this election will set records. So, sure you can go to vote after you get off work. And yes, as long as you're in line by 7:00, the polling place must stay open until you vote. But let's not make a potentially chaotic day worse. Vote early. Or vote mid-morning. Or go at 2:30. And consider asking for time off to vote earlier in order to ease the burden on busy urban polls at the end of the day.
On Thursday, Karl Unswerth posted this information on the Change for Missouri ListServ:
Is this news to anyone other than me?
Missouri law guarantees an employee up to 3 hours PAID time to go and vote. You do have to request the time off in advance.
The fine for not allowing this is 2500.00 (from another source).
We need to spread it around to employers.
115.639. 1. Any person entitled to vote at any election held within this state shall, on the day of such election, be entitled to absent himself from any services or employment in which he is then engaged or employed, for a period of three hours between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls for the purpose of voting, and any such absence for such purpose shall not be reason for the discharge of or the threat to discharge any such person from such services or
employment; and such employee, if he votes, shall not, because of so absenting himself, be liable to any penalty or discipline, nor shall any deduction be made on account of such absence from his usual salary or wages; provided, however, that request shall be made for such leave of absence prior to the day of election, and provided further, that this section shall not apply to a voter on the day of election if there are three successive hours while the polls are open in which he is not in the service of his employer. The employer may specify any three hours between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls during which such employee may absent himself.
2. Any employer violating this section shall be deemed guilty of a class four election offense.
Click here to see the state website.
This is a link to the laws in other states.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

If women don't think this country is taking a giant step backward with respect to our attitudes about women's roles, check out The June Cleaver Vote from USA Today. The regressive conservative swing in America wants to put women in their places, and those places don't include the boardroom, the work place or even having an opinion in the White House.

Note to future First Ladies from the Christian Taliban: Just you mind your subservient role, and do what you do best -- keep redecorating the Lincoln Bedroom, selecting centerpiece themes, and gazing upon your powerful husband with the cartoonish gaze of an admiring, lobotomized school girl, a la Nancy Reagan.

Which type of first lady do you prefer?
Traditional 72%
Non-traditional 28%

Who do you think would make a better first lady?
Laura Bush 72%
Teresa Heinz Kerry 28%

How much of an impact does a candidate's wife have in the campaign?
A little 46%
A lot 46%
None 8%
Total Votes: 180,293

Michael Ankelman

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The latest Zogby poll, while admitting that the race is razor thin in several states, still puts Kerry ahead electorally 322 to 216. Naturally, the question is can we trust Zogby. Daily Kos gives us reason to think so.
Bush: 216
Kerry: 322
A virtual landslide! Please say it's true!
Well, we won't know for sure until November, but I do have some good news for you. Guess which polling outfit has the number one, best-of-the-best, hang-your-hat-on-it accuracy over the last two presidential election cycles?
Give up? Okay, I'll tell you...
In 2000, Zogby was one of several pollsters that was only two cumulative percentage points off from the actual results, ... but it was the only one in that group to actually choose Gore as the winner (which we all know he was).
In 1996, Zogby hit the nail right on the head. Sure, everyone predicted a Clinton victory, but Zogby predicted the exact percentage totals for Clinton, Dole...and even Perot at 8%. Unbelievable!
As an added bonus, Zogby's national poll has Kerry at 50.6% leading Bush at 48.1%.
So if it's accuracy and a proven track record that you're looking for, then stick with Zogby.
... and No. I'm not getting paid by Zogby to hype their site. I guess it just pays to be the best.

The site includes a state by state breakdown of Zogby's current predictions, as well as predictions for 2000 and 1996.
Click here to see those charts.
The Zogby news is just part of a column listing 35 reasons to believe Kerry will win. I'm going to give you the link, but first a warning: the article is long and such good news is addictive. So click here, but only if you can spare some time for lifting your spirits.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Last Saturday, America Coming Together conducted a training session for volunteers and laid out its plan for the home stretch. The Kerry campaign will be working to get out the base. ACT will concentrate on newly registered voters and infrequent voters.
ACT estimates 125,000 newly registered voters in Missouri. (The Kerry campaign here estimates 150,000 new voters; I don't know why their number is higher.) But get this: Eighty-three percent of eligible adults in the city are now registered! Missouri, in fact, has registered more new voters than Ohio. As for infrequent voters, defined as people who haven't voted more than once in the last four elections, ACT has identified more than 60,000 Kerry supporters. (Again, the Kerry campaign cites a higher number--220,000.) In any case, Gore lost Missouri by 78,000 votes, and ACT intends to more than make up that difference.
Between now and the long weekend before election day, ACT workers will continue phoning newly registered and infrequent voters to i.d. Kerry supporters. As much as possible, they'll also go to the homes of undecided voters to drop off literature. Then beginning on Saturday, Oct. 30, ACT workers will phone all the new and infrequent voters who support Kerry to be sure they know where their polling place is and to ask what time of day they plan to vote. On election day itself, the polls open at 6:00. An ACT worker will be at each one then and several times throughout the day to make sure the vote is going smoothly. Meanwhile, each precinct captain will keep track of who, on his list, has already voted. He or someone on his team will be calling each home on the list to ask. If no one answers the phone to verify that they've voted, a door hanger will be left on the front door or on the garage door if that seems the more likely way a homeowner would enter his house. Once that doorhanger disappears, it means someone is home, and a volunteer will knock on the door to make sure those people have gotten to the polls.
Additionally, rides will be available for voters. Fliers will be put on cars the night before election day, and on November 2nd sound trucks will cruise Democratic neighborhoods reminding people to vote. Rafts of lawyers will be on hand to advise voters on their rights and to prevent any Republican attempts to suppress the vote.
Finally, workers will attend a victory party Tuesday night and hand in their lists of voters. These lists are gold, a starting point for future elections.
Sounds like a plan to me, and some of you will be part of it. If you haven't already volunteered to help somewhere in the state on election day and the weekend before, it's time to get cracking. Take November second off work. That day is too important for you not to be helping Democrats get elected.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Polls. This year, you can't live with 'em and you can't live without 'em. Gallup used one to try to demoralize us with a fictional fourteen point spread, but even when the pollsters want to be honest, coming close to reality is trickier than ever. For one thing, participation in them is way down, probably in part because of caller i.d. Furthermore, pollsters don't call cell phones, and many young adults don't even have landlines anymore. But perhaps the slipperiest part of polling is deciding who the likely voters are. I think that in a number of ways polls have been off the mark in deciding how to answer that question and that several hidden factors favor Kerry.
First, races in which there is an incumbent are generally a referendum on the incumbent's record. Undecided voters, if they get to the polls at all, tend to favor the challenger. In this hotly contested election, a ton of those undecided voters will make it to the polls; and that may be good news for Kerry because Bush didn't do well enough in the debates to bring the undecideds into his own fold.
A second factor is that millions of new voters have been registered this year. No one really knows how many, but in Missouri alone, according to Kerry/Edwards State Director, Tony Wilson, independent groups have registered more than 150,000 new voters, mostly in highly Democratic areas. (A caveat here: How many of them are really new, and how many have just moved from out-of-state or moved within the state?) In any case, now that registration is over, America Coming Together and other such groups will work to contact these voters in order to educate them and urge them to vote. I don't want to overstate the case for the Dems, though. While the Republicans haven't registered as many as we have, they haven't exactly been napping. But either way, whether the newly registered are Dems or Republicans, the pollsters aren't interviewing these people.
Another factor as far as "new" voters goes is that the Kerry/Edwards campaign in Missouri has identified an additional 220,000 people who didn't vote in 2000 but who plan to vote this year--for Kerry. Remember, Gore only lost Missouri by 70,000 votes. Yesterday I called an acquaintance I haven't talked to for a couple of years. In 2002, she told me she basically doesn't vote because she can't make sense of all the charges and countercharges, but I figured that at heart she was a Dem if I could get her to the polling place. Coulda saved myself the trouble of calling. She is ALL fired up to vote against Bush. I wonder if the Kerry campaign counted Chris in its 220,000. She's definitely going to vote, but no pollster would ask her opinion because she'd be categorized as unlikely.
Washington Post columnist Terry M. Neal calls these unquantified aspects of the election a possible X Factor and points out that:
Anecdotal and quantitative evidence suggest that Democrats and independent groups that support Democrats have done a better job than Republicans at registering new voters in key battleground states. In a normal year, the difficulty in getting the newly registered to the polls might mitigate this advantage. But anti-Bush passions on the left are running exceedingly high, making it more likely that marginal voters -- people who rarely or never vote -- will turn out this year.
Here's a link to his column.
The last tricky factor in trying to gauge this election will be voter turnout. The way passions are running on both sides, it will probably be record breaking. Lefties are in high dudgeon over Bush's ruinous policies. If hate is more motivating than approval, Republicans might be in trouble. (Not that they don't hate liberals, though.) A political scientist on the panel of Mike Sampson's KWMU show, St. Louis On the Air, pointed out what Democrats have to do to win: turn out the same proportion of their base as the Republicans do. The professor took it as a given that there are more Democratic voters.
So. Will the Dems win? You don't really think anyone can answer that, do you? Just cross your fingers. Volunteer to canvass. Hope the Repugs don't succeed at too many of their dirty vote stealing tricks on The Day. It's gonna be a nailbiter.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bob Shieffer's questions to the candidates yesterday were sometimes softballs (What does your faith mean to you? What have you learned from the strong woman you're married to?), mostly evenhanded, but oddly deficient in two areas: the environment and energy policy. Shieffer didn't so much as mention them. Even without the opportunity to embarrass the president in those two areas, though, and despite Bush not acting peevish this time, Kerry won the debate. He won it in a couple of different senses. First, Bush needed to convince voters that Kerry would not be a suitable president. In that, Bush failed. Kerry looked "presidential" in all three face offs. Second, the polls say he won. For example:
Sen. John Kerry won the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, 52% to 39%, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey of registered voters who watched the event. About 4 in 10 viewers said they felt more favorable about the senator because of the debate, a third more than said that about President George W. Bush. Kerry also beat the president by double digits on being able to handle the issue of healthcare, expressing himself clearly, showing he cares about the needs of people, and having a good understanding of the issues.
In case you'd like to read the details of the good news, click here.
In addition to the good news from the polls about the debate, there's good news that polls fail to take into account. Tune in tomorrow to find out what it is.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

My apologies to blog readers who don't live in St. Louis, but this blog is about a short editorial in today's Post-Dispatch. It got my dander up, so I wrote them:
The Post-Dispatch has compromised itself on the issue of the stadium. Since it has money invested in the Cardinals, it should recuse itself from comment on the new stadium. Instead, it has printed an editorial accusing Robin Carnahan and Bekki Cook of "pandering" to rural voters just because they think using public money for a new stadium is a bad idea and have said so. Since when is having a reasonable opinion pandering?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Media coverage of this election has been "Dumb and Dumber (and Dumber Still)" according to Eric Alterman's column in the Oct. 18 issue of The Nation. "[M]ost of the mainstream media have been performing like trained seals in a Karl Rove-produced traveling circus."
Exhibit A in his case is the saturation coverage of the Dan Rather documents blooper. Alterman feels that the media have acted as if Rather's mistake is:
Worse Than War: When the New York Times ran its May 26 admission that it gullibly swallowed the Bush Administration's deception about Iraq's nuclear weapons program, which helped win support for a ruinous war, the story was, according to the invaluable Media Matters, reported thirty-eight times in US newspaper and wire reports during the following forty-eight hours and seven times on cable news. It was entirely ignored on Fox News Channel. By contrast, in the forty-eight hours following CBS's admission that it "should not have used" memos critical of Bush's military service because of questions regarding their provenance, the story was reported 167 times in US newspaper and wire reports and fifty-seven times on cable news broadcasts. Every single Fox News Channel program devoted itself to the story.
It's bad enough when the left suffers disproportionately negative press, but then Robert Novak added insult to injury. Having outed CIA agent Valerie Plame at the behest of someone in the White House and then refused to reveal his source, Novak had the chutzpah to demand on television that Rather reveal his sources. "'I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from,' he exclaimed to his co-panelists, not one of whom called him on his hypocrisy."
Alterman concludes that:
CBS's slip-up was such big news because it fit the right-wing script designed to shield the Bush Administration from democratic accountability. Bowing to pressure that blew the story out of all sensible proportion, the network announced that it would withhold until after the election a major investigative scoop. That story involves the Administration's efforts to mislead the nation into war using false claims that Iraq attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger--which just happens to be the story by which Robert Novak carried its dirty water. Bush was also off the hook for shirking his cushy National Guard service, and John Kerry's hard-hitting speeches about the Iraq quagmire were buried beneath the rubble. Overall, the drama--like the entire election narrative--could hardly have played more effectively for the Republicans if it had been scripted by Karl Rove. Hmm...
Considering the indisputable case Alterman makes for media bias, let me remind you that my last posting was about the crucial need for liberal radio to develop in this country after the election. Even a strong radio presence would still leave us at a disadvantage in the propaganda wars, but we have to start somewhere.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the uselessness of mounting any boycott against Limbaugh's show and promised to write about the possibility of starting liberal radio programming in this area. I'm more than a day late, and, metaphorically speaking, I'm also a dollar short--meaning that I don't have a lot to offer. Unfortunately, the current outlook for liberal radio isn't all that promising. I'll cite the bad news first, but please don't stop reading before you get to the good news.
Okay, so bad news: Air America is floundering. In May, it had trouble meeting its payroll and because of a dispute with Multicultural Broadcasting, it has lost its New York and Chicago markets and is down to fourteen carriers, mostly satellite and internet. Advertising agency gurus know that its advertising spots are practically free. The reason is that advertisers don't want to invest in something that they fear will lose its audience once the election is over. Air America is attempting to reinvent itself. Who knows whether they stand a chance of succeeding?
The good news is that Al Franken's show is now airing several times a day on the Sundance Channel (a cable channel) and that Jesse Jackson just signed a contract with Clear Channel to air his weekly radio show. Of course, those of you willing to invest in satellite radio can get all the liberal programming you want, but the fact that you're reading this blog means you're already getting an alternative point of view. We don't need to reach you with radio. What we want is a way to reach folks in the middle and even on the right. Actually, the satellite radio is accomplishing that in a limited way. My brother-in-law, Fred, is a trucker. He tells me that until the last couple of years, most truckers just spouted Rush's nonsense. But satellite radio is the sensible way for long distance travellers to listen to radio because they don't have to switch stations. They can tune in and drive from New York to California without touching the dial. Most of the truck drivers do that and many have ended up listening to liberal radio talk on and XM. The situation has made a huge difference in the political attitudes of truckers, at least according to Fred. What that tells me is that lots of liberal radio is CRUCIAL to changing the political dialogue in this country. To my mind, it's one of the top priorities for Democrats after November second, no matter what the outcome of the election.
Perhaps satellite radio will be our new direction. An article in the Sunday Post-Dispatch pointed out that Howard Stern's move to Sirius might be a sign that satellite radio has arrived. Even before he announced his move, a study by a leading industry group predicted that Sirius and XM would attract 5.3 million new subscribers in the next year. The arrival of Stern on that scene couldn't hurt their prospects any. It costs about $150 for the basic satellite equipment plus $10 a month for XM; $13 a month for Sirius. If listeners decide the cost of the move is worth it, they may find plenty of liberal radio talk shows waiting for them when they arrive.
As for AM and FM, the prospects of progressive radio programming in St. Louis don't look promising at the present, but we shouldn't give up on it. Some of you may have seen information on the internet about a documentary that explains how to start low frequency local stations. That program isn't going to be aired in St. Louis, at least not now, but perhaps it will become available.
Perhaps. This blog is riddled with "perhaps," "if" and hope. Right now I don't know which direction "our side" will take in the next few years, but I believe Democrats MUST find a way to challenge Radio Right Wing.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Gary Gottlieb says that Bush's supposed stupidity is an act, a folksy affectation. Gary may have a point there. What with all the examples of Bush tangling with the English language, I used to think he was ... not a moron but not far shy of it either. But I don't believe that anymore. Don't misunderstand me: Lord knows he's no deep thinker. However, he did acquit himself well in last night's debate. His answers were usually crisp. He made each point clearly and knew when to stop. I taught school enough years to know that students with a low I.Q. don't think that well on their feet, even if they have been well coached.
Neither am I saying he won the debate, because he didn't. Well, how could he? Look at the record he was trying to defend. All Kerry had to do was attack his abysmal policies and offer some sensible solutions. He did that. Kerry martialed his facts, spoke succinctly, and came across confident and cool. Only once did the senator slip into one of his rhetorical cul-de-sacs: his answer to the question about not using tax money to support abortions was garbled. Bush rightly observed: "I'm trying to decipher that." But compared to the President's simplistic take on this nation's problems--the preponderance of which Bush himself created--Kerry's answers shone. The polls so far bear out this assessment, even those at Fox News and Gallup. (53 percent of those Gallup polled said Kerry won. Only 37 percent of them thought Bush won.)
Even saying that Bush handled himself well has to be qualified, though. For starters, he comes across as cocky. In some people, that can be charming, and I'm sure his followers find it so. A sense of humor goes a long way toward getting people to excuse cockiness, and Bush won some points, I bet, when he answered a question about whom he would appoint to the Supreme Court with: "I'm not tellin'". But cockiness can also be a sign of a bully, and I know enough about W's flawed nature to believe that's exactly what it means. For example, Paul O'Neill described how Bush gives people nicknames as a way to demean them. Furthermore, when Karla Faye Tucker, the Texas murderer turned evangelical Christian, petitioned for leniency, Bush privately did a mocking imitation of her begging for mercy--before ordering the execution to go forward. And finally, the president's business school professor still remembers vividly how, as a student, Bush bragged, lied, and stated that all poor people were lazy. (Here's a link in case you haven't read Professor Tsurumi's account of those days.)
So, yes, Bush controlled his smirk and most of his blinking. He was folksy as all get out. But his essential nature, even dressed up in its Sunday best, still showed. Kerry won the debate.

Friday, October 08, 2004

So we all know that Bush is a dumb-ass, right? We know this to be true in so many ways. Sure, he is an arrogant bullying n’er do well, who was taught by his nasty mom to be as mean and unfeeling as she is. Sure, he was the kid who would beat the poor kid up to take his lunch money, not because he needed it, but because it was a way for him to exert power in his fiefdom. What else do we know about him? He is from a well educated family. He was prep school educated, followed by time in two Ivy League Universities. If you listen to the debates with Ann Richards (Texas governor’s race) he is articulate, and he pronounces the word nuclear correctly. So why has he lost that ability? To sound folksy. Pay attention tonight. See if he has been coached out of that sour look on his face. Also pay attention to the words he is mispronouncing. They are affectations my friends, they are yet another lie, proving once again that the former resident of the Texas governor’s mansion can’t open his mouth without deceiving.


Dear Mr. Cheney,

You're a lucky man. You faced a skilled debater who mustered every fiber of restraint to remain a courteous gentleman during the vice-presidential debate.
John Edwards gave you the respect due your office -- but much more than what was due YOU. I know for a fact that a huge percentage of Americans wanted
Edwards to reach down your throat and rip out your cold, black heart for what you've done to this country.

The media slowly is catching up with your debate lies, such as the whopper you told when you stated you never made a connection between Iraq and 9/11. Of
course you did. You know it. America knows it. It's on video tape. (Note to Cheney: Don't lie about things that are on videotape!) You referred to Iraq
as, "The geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11." Not only that, there's also video
tape of you lying about not having said that BEFORE the debates as well. (Note to Cheney: Don't lie about things that are on videotape!)

You also lied when you said you had never met John Edwards. If I were John Edwards, I would have reminded America that, judging by what you said to
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont on the Senate floor, maybe that's a good thing. You remember. You said, "Go f**k yourself!" (And you'll like this, big guy, we
now use the word "Cheney" as a synonym for the F-word.)

Oh, and I've seen at least three video clips wherein you were WITH John Edwards prior to the debate. So the question is, are you losing your
mind or just your memory? (NOTE to Cheney AGAIN: Don't lie about things that are on videotape!) Hey, but you're in the administration that once considered the idea of
a "Department of Strategic Misinformation," so none of this should be a surprise.

I would have answered your charges about Edward's Senate-attendance record by saying, "Unfortunately, my absences are necessary because it is my moral and
patriotic duty to fight as hard as I can to do the one thing that deep in my heart I truly believe is the best thing I can do for America right now, and
that's to do everything in my power to remove YOU and your boss from office before the two of you can do any more damage than you've already done."

You question whether John Kerry has the requisite conviction to defend America. Let me remind you and America that John Kerry volunteered to
go to Vietnam to be a human target, while you racked up five deferments, because you, as you've said, "Had more important things to do." So don't lecture
anybody about conviction.

You say John Kerry has been on the wrong side of defense; I submit that YOU'VE been on the wrong side of HISTORY. You voted for the approval
of plastic guns! What were you THINKING? Was it that you didn't have the CONVICTION to fight for the safety of average Americans? Or was it that you couldn't stand up
to the PRESSURE of the NRA? Oh how the terrorists would be loving you now had your absurd vote prevailed.

Of course, back then, you had no clue what was coming, did you? I mean you were told, but still, you were too arrogant to listen. That's why your
pre-9/11 myopic preoccupation with a Star Wars missile shield was one of the many reasons YOU left America unprotected. (NOTE to Cheney: Osama Bin Laden
has NEVER had intercontinental missiles!) You and your boss screwed up pre-9/11, and now you talk to America as if you and your boss are the only two men on earth who can protect America.
And here's the beauty part: If we get attacked before Nov. 2, you're going to say, "See how much you need us to protect you?" And fully half of America
will not be able to see the absurdity of that conclusion.

Oh, and we remember your inspiring leadership immediately after 9/11 -- "Buy duct tape. Keep shopping. Don't criticize." You guys were clueless
before, during, and after 9/11, and NOW you present yourselves as The Great Protectors? You guys are as phony as an infomercial sidekick.

You repeatedly deride John Kerry's core principles and personal character. So answer this: What kind of broken moral compass would a man have to
have to be the CEO of a company that knowingly did business with the very heinous dictator he now says was worth the lives of over 1,000 Americans and
over 10,000 innocent Iraqis to put behind bars? Not only did you deal with Hussein, but you dealt with Iran as well. In fact, you went out of your WAY to deal
with the enemies of America. Your record SHOWS us what kind of character you have, and what kind of character you ARE.

Michael Ankelman

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Maureen Dowd sees Jr. in serious Oedipal rebellion against his all too grown up Daddy and thinks Kerry tapped into that tension last Thursday night:
Even though the president, waving off any attempts to put him "on the couch," refuses to acknowledge any Oedipal sensitivities, John Kerry artfully drilled into the sore spot in the first debate.
Senator Kerry evoked the voice of Bush 41 to get under 43's thin skin. The more Mr. Kerry played the square, proper, moderate, internationalist war hero, the more the president was reduced to childish scowling and fidgeting, acting like a naughty little boy who refuses to sit in his seat and eat his spinach and do all the hard things a parent wants you to do.
"You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad beyond Basra," Mr. Kerry said, as W. blinked and burned. "And the reason he didn't is, he said, he wrote in his book, because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation."

Moving from that sore spot to Tuesday night, Ms. Dowd adds a dimension to the dynamic between Edwards and Cheney that I described after their debate. I said: " A couple of times [Cheney] refused to rebut Edwards's points, basically waving a dismissive hand in disgust and refusing to dignify such silliness with an answer." Dowd's take on it is that it "was a sign of how unnerved W. was that he had to rely on his own dark, foreboding and pathologically unapologetic surrogate Daddy, Dick Cheney, to clean up his debate mess and get the red team back in the game. The vice president shielded the kid by treating John Edwards as even more of a kid."
Dowd pins down the psychology at play in the dismissiveness I noticed. There's plenty more of interest in her column. Click here to read it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I can't see anybody but the diehards watching all of last night's debate. Blathada, blathada, blathada. Sure, Edwards won on logic, but we all know how far logic goes in deciding swing voters. He cited lots of facts, which Cheney usually avoided answering, always returning to the GOP mantra. But I was frustrated with Edwards. He spent far too much time on Iraq and way too little on jobs, the economy, taxes, and health care. My main disappointment, though, was that I expected more zing from someone with his reputation as a trial attorney. Where are his speech writers! I'll tell you what: he needs to hire Eric Mink, the local liberal columnist who writes on Wednesdays in the Post-Dispatch. Suppose Edwards had gone in prepared to say something like this:
People who think it's a good idea to start turning Medicare over to drug manufacturers, insurance companies and for-profit health-industry conglomerates and open up Social Security for plundering by the brokerage-investment industry should favor Bush. People who believe that loosening regulations on polluters keeps our air and water clean should favor Bush. People who think the best way to help Americans who are hungry, homeless, sick and impoverished is to bleed aid programs dry and rebate taxes to the super-rich should favor Bush.
Now that's got some pizzazz. Mink's whole column rings with controlled outrage. Click here in case you haven't read it yet.
Edwards didn't do our cause any damage last night, but if he had spoken with Mink's brand of sizzle, Cheney probably would have melted down.
Instead Cheney was unflappable and, a couple of times, even human. For example, given a chance to respond to Edwards's ideas about gay marriage--which Edwards prefaced by complimenting Cheney for his openness and support of his own gay daughter--Cheney simply thanked Edwards for the kind words and had no more to say. It was almost sweet.
Sure, most of the time, Cheney was his usual curmudgeonly self, but he didn't seem particularly mean spirited. A couple of times he refused to rebut Edwards's points, basically waving a dismissive hand in disgust and refusing to dignify such silliness with an answer. Mainly, though, Cheney avoided answering questions that didn't suit him and spouted the company line. Pretty much what we'd expect.
If I'd been coaching Cheney for this debate, I'd have broken him of two habits. The first is repeatedly saying "the fact of the matter is ...." That's like saying "To be perfectly honest with you." I distrust people who habitually use such phrases because they work too hard to convince me they're not lying. It's a case of "the lady doth protest too much." The other phrase I'd warn Cheney off of is "I don't know where to start." He means to imply frustration with so many lies, but by the second time he says it, he ends up sounding too lazy or arrogant to participate in the debate.
Not that I would ever want to help Cheney. No way. What I will do, though, is e-mail Mink's column to the Kerry people.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

This is from Change for Missouri member Tom Przyzycki, I think it was written before the first debate, sorry it took so long to post, I missed it the first time he sent it me.

A Personal Note!

Hello again, It seems to me that the election process in this country is one giant effort to DUMB DOWN the voting public. The debates will be nothing more than political rhetoric sound bites with very little in the way of an intelligent exchange.
For instance, the first debate will cover Foreign Policy. I would liketo see W explain the lack of European support for the war in Iraq. In the days leading up to the bombing of Baghdad the world was in his pocket. But largely because of the rush to war in the face of not allowing the UN Inspectors to complete their search he was viewed as arrogant on the worldstage and this same support practically vanished. What a huge difference a contingent of French and German soldiers on the ground in Iraq would make in sealing the borders and the overall peace keeping. For the most part, guns, rockets, bombs, and angry insurgents are pouring into Iraq without impunity, making our men and women sitting ducks. We take out two insurgents and five more take their place the next week — just like Viet Nam. Our soldiers are quickly becoming out numbered, if not already.
And just like Viet Nam, the US is now forced to maintain a presence inIraq in order to prop up the democracy we put in place. Even so, there is always the possibility that the Iraq regime that is duly elected and sanctioned by the US will turn corrupt under the weight of maintaining their control over the voting public. We had this same situation in Viet Nam withthe Diem Government, that is until he was assassinated. Eventually the South Viet Nam soldiers, for all practical purposes, were unwilling to go into the jungles to fight the war with a passion needed to defeat the NorthViet Nam enemy who were taking the passionate fight to the US soldiers. US bombers would take out 50 miles of supply roads and bridges in one afternoon and the North Viet Nam peasants and soldiers would have them rebuilt in ten days.
This Iraq War will get very ugly. What are the odds that in the next year or so our intelligence locates enemy supply lines leading back toTehran, or Damascus? Do we escalate the war by bombing those cities?
To me, I just think that W is a plain speaking fellow that is in Way Over his Head. Bush would make a fine Church Deacon, and an honorable calling in itself. His dull intellect suggests to me that he can ONLY understand a complex Foreign Policy formula, like Iraq, when his advisors reduce it into the lowest common, ‘self serving’ denominator. [Self Serving motives are always a heavy temptation in times of war anyway]. Something on the order of Vice President Halliburton’s, which is where I honestly believe that Cheney carried the day.
In my opinion it was Cheney’s experience with the first Gulf War that greatly influenced Connie Rice. We cannot overlook that she was selected as Bush’s NS Advisor because of her knowledge of Communism and Eastern Europe. Cheney was the one person that Bush relied on most, otherwise Colin Powell would be staying on as Secy of State in the odd event that Bush gets reelected.
I believe that it was Cheney who OVER SIMPLIFIED the war and Bush bought into it. By the same token, I also believe the voting public has been DUMBED DOWN and influenced by political rhetoric they will go to the polls in November dressed in the American Flag to keep Bush in office. Sad.
Thank heaven for academia. The history books will get it right, that is if there are books to read after this mess comes to some intelligent conclusion.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Attitudes have changed since VietNam. Americans who disapprove of our misadventure in Iraq don't badmouth the troops this time around. We feel sorry for them being stuck fighting and dying uselessly. So why don't we lefties put Support Our Troops ribbons on our cars? I mean, do any of you have one of those? I don't. Because it doesn't mean what it says. It means instead that the driver supports Bush's invasion of Iraq. And it's a subtle reminder of how the left hated those who risked their lives in VietNam. But it seems to me that the hawks care less about our troops. Otherwise why would they be so callous about sticking them in that unwinnable hellhole.
Yet they get to be self righteous and flaunt their patriotism, and nobody calls them on the hypocrisy of it. It makes my teeth ache.
I wouldn't put one of those stickers on my car because I don't want to be confused with those people. What, if anything, can we do about it?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

In his appearance on the Friday Diane Rehm Show to tout his new book, Seymour Hersh said that he's glad Kerry came on strong in the debate, but even so both Kerry and Bush failed to state the obvious about Iraq, which is that it's unwinnable. I agree with Hersh's assessment, and I wonder where that leaves us, those of us who believe that Iraq is a lost cause. Supporting Kerry is uncomfortable. Jonathan Schell, in the Oct. 11 issue of The Nation, shows that he understands that dilemma. In "Why We Must Leave Iraq, he makes some worthwhile observations about Kerry and Bush vis-a-vis the war.
If the story of the occupation so far . . . teaches a single clear lesson it is that the United States is a radicalizing force in Iraq. The more the United States pursues the goal of a democratic Iraq, the farther it recedes into the distance. The longer the United States stays the course, the worse the actual outcome becomes.
Let there be as orderly a transition as possible, accompanied by as much aid, foreign assistance and general sweetness and light as can be mustered, but the endpoint, complete withdrawal, should be announced in advance, so that everyone in Iraq--from the beheaders and other murderers, to legitimate resisters, to any true democrats who may be on the scene--can know that the responsibility for their country's future is shifting to their shoulders. The outcome, though not in all honesty likely to be pretty, will at any rate be the best one possible. If the people of Iraq slip back into dictatorship, it will be their dictatorship. If they choose civil war, it will be their civil war. And if by some happy miracle they choose democracy, it will be their democracy--the only kind worth having.

George Bush does not yet and never will recognize the wisdom of Schell's advice. Schell feels that Bush:
has an audacious personal quality that has somehow served him well so far; full frontal repudiation of facts known to all. Faced with the absence of WMDs in Iraq, he once simply said, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." Faced with a Presidential Daily Brief titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.," he and his spokespersons called it "historical." In his universe, faithfulness to delusion is "consistency."
He fostered this delusion throughout the GOP convention and got a boost in the polls because his version of reality was so much more appealing to believe than grim facts. The polls bounce around as the public vacillates between his "bright and shining lies" and "the plain truth."
Scheller gives Kerry credit for finally facing up to the necessity of declaring that the war is a mistake, [and] saying of the President, "Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties toAl Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no . . . ." He did not proceed, however, to the necessary corollary that withdrawal is necessary, though he hinted at it. Each of his concrete proposals . . . is fine, but none guarantee the success in creating a "viable" Iraq that he still seems to promise. He has put one foot in the real world, but left the other in the imaginary world, leaving himself open, still, to the flip-flopping charge that Bush immediately leveled against him again. Only one-hundred-percent fantasy will do for the President. But Kerry has at least begun the journey--one as hard as the journey from his service in Vietnam to his protest against it--toward the real. Give him credit for that.

Okay, it's true that before last Thursday we were complaining about how the media gets into drama criticism and ignores the substance of debates, Gore's eye rolling in 2000 being the main example. Now that body language favors the Dems, we've changed our tune. Well, as Walt Whitman said, "If I contradict myself, very well then, I contradict myself." After all, how could we not? After a depressing September, who could pass up this chance to hoot and holler? The New York Times had the best analysis of the body language in Thursday's debate. They said, for example:
The cameras demonstrated that Mr. Bush cannot hear criticism without frowning, blinking and squirming (he even sighed once). They showed that Mr. Kerry can control his anger and stay cool but that he cannot suppress his inner overeager A student, flashing a bleach-white smile and nodding hungrily at each question.
Do yourself a favor and click here to read the article.
Anyway, we have a right to savor Bush's facial tics and tense posture because, as a matter of fact, Kerry routed Bush on the issues as well. As The Boston Globe pointed out:
Despite a game attempt by the president to depict Kerry as indecisive, it was Kerry who attacked Bush for sending mixed messages in matters of homeland security -- by cutting funds for firefighters and other first responders, by failing to protect seaports and bridges, and especially by shifting his focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. Kerry even managed to turn around the president's presumed best asset: his determination and spine. "You can be certain but you can also be wrong," Kerry said succinctly.
Most heartening of all is that undecided voters agreed with partisan Dems about who won, as The New York Post (a Murdoch paper) pointed out:
October 1, 2004 -- CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A group of Florida swing voters last night said Sen. John Kerry cleaned President Bush's clock in the first high-stakes presidential debate.
Of the 18 swing voters taking part in pollster Frank Luntz's focus group last night, they scored it a 16 to 2 Kerry victory.
Nine of them say Kerry's debate performance convinced them that he's the right man to lead the country for the next four years, while just two are committed to voting for President Bush. Seven are still up for grabs.

I want Kerry to grab those other seven voters this Friday at Washington University.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Nicholas Kristof's column in the Saturday New York Times describes an "Afghanistan that shows real promise in the north - but is falling apart in the rural areas of the south. The result is more terrorism and narcotics, and more Americans coming home in body bags." Mr. Nyamatullah, a 33-year-old tribal leader from a dangerous southern province told Kristof:
"At first, people were very hopeful, and they thought America would help us," said Mr. Nyamatullah, who initially was an enthusiastic supporter of the American invasion. "The [new Afghan] government promised us new schools, district offices, clinics, water pumps, but it has done nothing at all. People are so disappointed. ... At least the Taliban would grade roads, build madrassas, while this government has done nothing."
Mr. Nyamatullah still hates the Taliban, but he added, "If the situation continues and America does the same things, I definitely will pick up a gun and fight the Americans."

The environment in the north is improving. The tense situation in the rural south is so unnecessary. Click here to read the rest of the column.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I'll admit I was afraid that the Kerry who traps himself in rhetorical cul-de-sacs might show up at the debate. It didn't happen. He was crisp and much more on message than Bush. In fact, with a good deal of assistance from Bush himself, Kerry demolished the president, exhibiting both superior style and clear but nuanced substance.
George Bush, on the other hand, as he listened to Kerry's responses, looked as if he were suffering from acid reflux, his expression a combination of sour and perplexed. His usual lopsided smile hardened into a Cheneyesque sneer, and his homey persona verged on bobblehead. But enough of drama criticism; what about substance? Everyone expected him to be "on message", but over an hour and a half, that message grew thin and thinner until it finally came across as simple minded and repetitive. Worse, he became increasingly rattled and wandered. In talking about his supposed alienation of allies, for example, he chose to remind us of his unwillingness to join the world court. The connection was unclear until he concluded that presidential decisions aren't always popular. How this example was supposed to strengthen his case remains a puzzle. Furthermore, maybe seven or eight times, Bush whined about the presidency being "hard work." He seemed to feel overwhelmed.
Meanwhile Kerry's answers were consistently on target. When accused of saying he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it, he responded that he had made a mistake in how he talked about the war. The president made a mistake in invading Iraq. "Which is worse?" Kerry asked. Later, he offered specific ideas about how to better handle Iraq and summed up Bush's plan as "four words: more of the same." Kerry hit Bush hard on neglecting North Korea, pointing out that in the two years we didn't talk to Kim Jong Il, he developed nuclear weapons. And I cheered when Kerry emphasized the importance of quickly securing nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.
John Kerry sounded capable of dealing with complex issues. George Bush was just bush league. Even the four conservative post-debate panelists on Fox (including Bill Kristol and Britt Hume) conceded that the debate would keep Kerry in the race. Well, we didn't expect them to admit that Kerry clobbered their man, did we? So far, I don't see the media pouncing on Bush's facial expressions the way they pounced on Gore's roll of the eyes. We'll see whether Bush gets another free pass.
In any case, Kerry did himself proud, and I'm looking forward to the debate on domestic issues--assuming, that is, that Bush doesn't think better of the risk and back out of the last two.