... "You'll have to read it to believe it." (He credits TalkLeft.)
I read it and I still don't believe it.
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- A woman came home from vacation to find a stranger living there, wearing her clothes, changing utilities into her name and even ripping out carpet and repainting a room she didn't like, authorities said.
Douglas County authorities say they can't explain why Beverly Valentine, 54, broke into an empty home and started acting like it was her own.
During the 2 1/2 weeks the owner, Beverly Mitchell, was on vacation in Greece, Valentine allegedly redecorated the ranch home, ripping up carpet and taking down the owner's pictures and replacing them with her own.
Mitchell was a complete unknown to Valentine, said Chief Sheriff's Deputy.
The folks at Real Clear Politics have moved Michigan out of the Kerry camp and now show it as undecided. That moves their total of called electoral votes for Kerry below 200. It seems like almost every other day another state's race tightens up so that it's "too close to call". Which, of course, ads to the tension and excitement of the whole thing.
You may have heard in recent days that Britain is considering moving some of its troops from the relatively quiet area around Basra and bring them nearer to Baghdad to back up US troops.
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says Britain will have failed in its duty as an ally if it does not agree to a request from America to relieve US troops in more dangerous areas of Iraq.
The US wants back-up in an area nearer to Baghdad and a final decision is expected later this week.
Mr Hoon has rejected claims that the request is political and an effort to boost George W Bush's election hopes.
He said it was designed to free up US forces for operations in other areas.
There was a "very clear operational justification" for the request which had been received on October 10, he added.
"We want to make clear that the request is a military request and although it is linked to elections it is not linked to the US elections," Mr Hoon told MPs in a Commons statement.
The thing that I find bizarre about this is that Blair's government keeps having to deny the charge that they're doing this to help Bush in the elections.
This claim is ludicrous on its face. The Pentagon didn't request the move until October 10th. So far it's taken Blair's government a little over a week to consider the proposal and it's likely it will take a few more days. After that it will take at least 3 days (my best guess) to move the troops, their vehicles, and their baggage to the Baghdad area and probably a couple more days to get them up to speed on local conditions.
All this means that there would only be about a week of British troops operating at full strength before the elections. Unless you believe that the insurgents will be instantly routed as soon as the British show up, how could any one believe that this even could help Bush at the polls?
Spoons, who has said early and often that he things a Bush win in November would be a disaster for the conservative movement in the Republican party, still manages to list a few reasons why he'd be happier on 11/3 if Bush wins.
David Frum makes an excellent point about John Kerry:
The overwhelming message of the Globe book is that Sen. Kerry's foreign policy ideas can best be summed up as "opportunistic oppositionism." It's a tactic well suited for a man trying to make his way by mobilizing angry out-of-power constituencies. But the conclusion I take away is that if Sen. Kerry should ever find himself in a position where he has to make the decisions - rather than react to decisions made by others - he would have absolutely no idea of what to do ... and would very likely do nothing at all while blaming others for everything that went wrong as a result of his own inaction.
One of the myriad reasons I could never vote for Kerry.
... with good reason. What has him so upset? The Guardian's shameless attempt to influence the Presidential race by having it's readers mail voters in Ohio and beg them to vote Kerry.
Here's the deal: They went to Clark County, Ohio and pulled the names and addresses of all the registered independents. If you go to this page you'll see a request for your e-mail address. Then they send you a name and address of the person you're supposed to write.
So what can you do about this? Get as many of these names out of circulation as you can. Just enter [anything]@mailinator.com (where [anything] is some random user name). Hit enter. Then go back and repeat. So far I've sent 50 or 60 names to no where. You can too.
For some reason when things are hectic at work, and consequently in need of more sleep, I tend to get so wired at night that sleep becomes almost impossible. I have no idea why this is. However, it does give an excuse to drink Mountain Dew the next day.
I live in Oklahoma. Based on the polling data I've seen, I would guess that if Fox News aired a video of George Bush signing a deal with Satan and Rush Limbaugh announced that Bush was really the reincarnation of Hitler Bush would still win by 8 points or so. The consequence of this is that the only time I've seen a presidential campaign ad since the Democratic primary was when I went to Boston a couple of weeks or so. So there is a benefit of living in a state where people vote in lock-step. (Well, not really. In other races Oklahomans tend to vote with their hand out.
That reminds me, the Democratic candidate for Senate, Brad Carson, has run a few ads that basically boiled down to, "Yes, there's a D by my name, but I promise not to vote like that!" Another interesting point is the ad in which Carson's wife says she's not sure which is worse; was it Tom Coburn calling her husband evil, or calling him liberal.
I haven't seen the context of the evil thing, but based on what I've heard I strongly suspect it was taken out context. I've seen other quotes in other ads that I know for certain were out of context. As for the liberal part, Carson has earned a life time rating of 42 from the American Conservative Union. That sounds liberal to me, although not strongly so. Coburns claim that Carson is "more liberal" than Ted Kenedy, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton is there for totally absurd.
... of people trying to gauge public opinion from the Trade Sports numbers. People, Trade Sports values shift based on how people are guessing other people are feeling. In some cases, it's more about people guessing about how other people are guessing.
I'm not saying it's not interesting, but as a gauge of actual public opinion, this stuff seems less reliable than those silly polls you see on websites all the time. At least in those the voters are telling you how they feel instead of how they think other people are thinking about the mood as a whole.
... "Personal saving accounts – Bush is explaining everything – says it is an issue he is “ready to take on” – excellent. Kerry calles it an invitation to disaster. Kerry’s answers are so complicated and hard to follow and they aren’t really even anything new. How could anyone vote to listen to this doom and gloom for 4 years? "
... it occurred to me that if I thought like some of the more conspiracy minded of the loony left, now would be the time that I'd accuse the DNC of having Reeves killed in order to use his death as a rhetorical tool.
Almost 25 years later, Kerry brought the same voracious appetite for information to his presidential campaign. He has three dozen domestic policy councils, two dozen foreign policy groups, an expanding corps of consultants, and many informal advisers he calls -- about 15 per night -- before going to bed.
But rather than "set a course and lead," as Codinha described, Kerry has lurched from course to course, periodically switching drivers and roadmaps -- and messages -- as he reacts to more and more information and advice. "His strength is that he listens," said a regular recipient of Kerry's late-night phone calls. "The problem is he's listening to too many people."
This is the paradox of Kerry as a manager. When he has a clear vision of where he wants to go ... he has used information and advice to become more focused and persuasive, according to colleagues and longtime aides.
But in his presidential race, the approach has bogged down his campaign in indecision or led to jarring changes in direction -- even if the result, so far, is that Kerry remains in contention with President Bush (news - web sites). "Things you thought you resolved a week ago pop up again because he's had another four conversations," a former adviser said.
Well, this would certainly explain why listening to Kerry over time leaves no clear impression of what Kerry's overall picture of ... well, anything is. Of course, his rank opportunism could explain that as well.
Today has been pretty hectic as our last major tax filing deadline of the year hits this Friday. Consequently I haven't had much blogging time. Still, I had to say something about the stunning statements Drudge is reporting from an Edwards campaign speech. So far he hasn't posted a link, so there's nothing solid for me to link to. Still, this is the quote as it stands:
'We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases... When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.'
"We will do stem cell research," he vowed. "We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. America just lost a great champion for this cause in Christopher Reeve. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research."
This version isn't quite so shocking. (It at least doesn't imply that all these diseases will vanish as soon as Kerry is sworn in.) Still, it's pretty remarkable. Edwards is clearly trying to convince people that the only thing that stands between the cures for numerous diseases and us is ... George W. Bush.
I really thought that politicians could no longer say anything that would leave me truly flabbergasted. I was wrong. This is just stunning. Not to mention appalling.
Note: I don't suppose there's any point in pointing out that the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to limit stem cell research in any way, shape, or form. All they've done is decide how federal funding for stem cell research would be spent. Obviously way too many people have come to believe that if the government's not doing it, it doesn't count.
During the 1980s, he opposed Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm. You occasionally hear some bold talk from him, but it cannot disguise a 30-year record of coming down on the wrong side of virtually every major defense issue.(My emphasis)
“If Sen. John Kerry’s voting record had carried the day, not only would Saddam Hussein still be running Iraq, today he would be running Kuwait as well,” Franks said, referring to a 1991 vote Kerry made against a United Nations mandate to remove Hussein from power.
THE PRESIDENT: That's what he said. I'm not putting words in his mouth either. (Laughter.) The problem is the Senator can never pass his own test. (Laughter.) Think about that -- in 1990, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution supporting action to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. The international community was united. Countries throughout the world joined our coalition. Yet in the United States Senate after the Security Council resolution, Senator Kerry voted no on the authorization of force.
THE PRESIDENT: See, if driving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait with the support of the international community does not meet this test, then nothing will meet his test.
It is consistent with his views on Vietnam: that we should have left and abandoned Vietnam. It is consistent with his view of Nicaragua and the Sandinistas. It is consistent with his view of opposing Ronald Reagan at every step of the way in the arms buildup that was necessary to destroy communism. It is consistent with his view of not supporting the Persian Gulf War, which was another extraordinary step. Whatever John Kerry’s global test is, the Persian Gulf War certainly would pass anyone’s global test. If it were up to John Kerry, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, but he’d still be controlling Kuwait.
The Bush campaign has clearly made a tactical decision to go after Kerry regarding his "no" vote on the first Gulf War. This is an excellent strategy. As you may recall, Kerry has frequently put forward that war as an example of how a coalition should be built. But the reality is that even when every thing Kerry claims is necessary to pass his "Global Test" was present, he still voted no.
I think pointing this out is an excellent move. It highlights Kerry's fundamental unwillingness to do what is necessary to protect us.
Voting and democracy are, in a nutshell, a necessary but not sufficient condition of liberty. Those opposed to voting focus on the 'not sufficient' part of this formulation, and say that therefore it is worthless, or at least not worth doing. I freely admit that democracy is not sufficient to maintain liberty, and that a number of other conditions also have to obtain; to conclude, however, that what is not sufficient is also not necessary is to fall into a logical fallacy.
In an update to his post explaining why he's undecided, but leaning Kerry, Josh Chafetz writes:
My friend Adrianne Truett says that it's "a bit odd" to prefer Kerry to Bush on gay marriage when Kerry has said that he and Bush have the same position on gay marriage (Gay Patriot says the same thing by email and points me to this post). That may be what Kerry has said, but it's just clearly not true. Kerry voted against the Defense of Marriage Act; he's come out in favor of civil unions; and he opposes a marriage amendment. Those are three pretty huge differences between him and Bush. And whether or not he'd fight for legal recognition of gay marriage, one gets the pretty strong sense he wouldn't fight very hard against it. Is he perfect on gay marriage? No, I'd prefer a candidate who came right out and said that he supported gay marriage. But is he a lot better than Bush? Absolutely.
OK, I'm having trouble understanding this one. Am I wrong, or is Chafetz basically saying that while Kerry himself has said that he is against gay marriage, he's reassured by the fact that Kerry is obviously lying?
... I'm not watching the debates. However, I am reading what others are saying. This bit from N.Z. Bear was hilarious:
Anybody who is basing their vote in this election on environmental policy should be pecked to death by spotted owls, and the coresponding reduction in their carbon dioxide emissions traded to a coal-fired Hummer manufacturing plant in Kazakhstan under the Kyoto treaty.
The most telling point President Bush made when he had Kerry face to face was that "the best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense." If 9/11 was a crime, and if jihad's patrons and well-wishers are simply neighborhood nuisances, then Bush is wrong. If the Terror War is a war, then he is right. In this context, the most disturbing thing Kerry has said recently was his fantasy of the right way to have handled Iran — offering it nuclear power, then imposing sanctions only if it then started making bombs. Why go to Dr. Khan's backdoor bomb shop if Uncle Sam is willing to give you the initial leg up? After 9/11, we are not dealing with the abstract menace of proliferation. We are dealing with regimes that hate America, and with freelancers who are willing to strike at our heart. If Kerry feels the appropriate urgency, he has yet to show it.
Hindrocket over at Power Line has a very good post about the disturbing trend of violence and criminal behavior in certain Democratic circles.
Unfortunately, he ends it with this:
In this campaign season, there is literally no length to which the Democratic Party, like the National Socialist Party of seventy years ago, will not go.
I see absolutely no reason for this reference. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not a hard and fast supporter of the idea that any introduction of Nazis and Hitler is inappropriate. (For more on this subject, see Godwin's Law.) However, such references are bound to generate an emotional response. In many cases it will cause an immediate and violent reaction against the argument in question.
With this in mind, (to say nothing of the importance of preserving the emotional impact of these words when legitimately called for) it is important that any such references be on point and accurate. Therefore, I think it is very important for anyone introducting the Nazis and/or Hitler into any discussion make it abundantly clear how such a comparison is accurate and why such an emotionally loaded reference was required for the subject matter at hand.
In this instance, we are told neither the how or the why about the comparison. It's just there, hanging on at the end of the post like an emotionally loaded chad.
... that one of the things even more useless than the actual debates was the incessant arguing and polling as people try to decide who "won". I think Martin Devon put his finger on part of the problem.
I just got this in my e-mail. I haven't checked any of the statements out, but they appear to be (at least roughly) correct. I'm not concerned with the content though as much as the tone. While I believe most of the statements are true, that's not my concern at the moment. Scan through it and then I'll tell you why I think it's interesting.
Depending on the way you lean, the following information could have a bearing on decisions you make in November 2004.
Issues of Importance = *
* Gay Marriage: President Bush is opposed. John Kerry favors.
* Partial-Birth Abortion: President Bush is opposed. John Kerry favors.
* Restoring voluntary prayer in the public schools: President Bush Favors. John Kerry is Opposed.
* Mel Gibson & the making of a film about Christ: President Bush supports Gibson. John Kerry participated in Left's assault on Gibson,suggesting possible anti-Semitism even though Kerry had not seen the film.
* Boy Scouts' belief in God and not allowing Homosexual Scout Leaders: President Bush supports Boy Scouts' stand. John Kerry opposes boy Scouts' stand.
* Asking for God's blessing on America: President Bush often asks God to bless America in his speeches. John Kerry attacks Bush for mentioning God so often.
* Judges: President bush says "We need common-sense judges who believe our rights are derived from God." John Kerry insists on judges who support the ACLU's radical anti-Christian, anti-God, anti-family agenda.
John Kerry is insistent on blocking President Bush's federal judge appointments.
* Overall Record: President Bush does not vote on issues before Congress but, based on his publicly stated positions, would receive an 85% conservative rating. John Kerry, according to the highly respected, politically-neutral National Journal, rates Kerry the most liberal U. S. Senator in 2003 - - more liberal than Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.
With help from you and many others, we hope to distribute 25,000,000 copies of this Voter information across the United States. If you agree, please pass this on. If you disagree, please delete this.
I pulled the whole thing mostly so you could understand the tone. And now, to why this is interesting. I got this from my grandmother.
My grandmother was a child of the depression. Like many her age she grew up being told that FDR saved this country and then decided she must be a Democrat. She's been a Democrat ever since. If she's ever voted for a Republican in her life, I would be very surprised. During the 20001 campaign she was adamantly anti-Bush, largely because she was sure he wanted to destroy Social Security.
However, during the whole Florida debacle she became furious with Al Gore. At one point I heard her call him a spoiled brat. And now she's forwarding Republican political materials.
My guess is that the Florida episode caused her to re-examine the Democrats. I don't know how she'll vote, but the very fact that I got this e-mail tells me something has changed. I don't pretend that this is representative of any major shift. I do wonder how many others might fall into this category.
1This initially said 2004 instead of 2000. Thanks to SarahK for pointing that out.
I will note that I've been reading around today and the general consensus seems to be that Edwards entire line of argument will be, "blah blah blah Haliburton blah blah Haliburton blah rush to war blah blah blah Haliburton blah blah."
Jump ahead four years, and on Monday night the NBC Nightly News displayed the letters "ILIE" for 16 seconds next to President George W. Bush's face in a "Decision 2004" graphic beside anchor Tom Brokaw as he introduced a story by David Gregory.
The letters came from the word "FAMILIES" in a sign on the far side of Bush, which read:
"TAX RELIEF FOR AMERICAN WORKING FAMILIES"
At the Iowa event, Bush signed bills to extend some provisions of his tax cuts which otherwise would have expired next year.
The right half of NBC's screen was consumed by a waist-up shot of Brokaw. On the right, at the bottom, the NBC News "Decision 2004" graphic. Above that, a side shot of Bush's head turned slightly toward the TV viewing audience. The letters "ILIE," the MRC's Tom Johnson astutely noticed, ran from screen edge to his Bush's chin. The rest of the background was blank. The letter "I" could be seen, but since it was partially cut off on the lower left side of it, viewers may have assumed they were only seeing part of another letter and so saw "LIE." If they identified it as an "I," then they saw: "ILIE." Brokaw's intro took 20 seconds, but for four seconds Bush's movements obscured the last two letters, "IE."
Anyone who sees a conspiracy hear has been drinking too much of the Kool-Aid. However, I will admit that since it was NBC who played up the whole "RATS" thing during the last campaign that I do find the comeuppance somewhat humorous.
Bush's rally is believed to be the largest political event ever held in Ohio, and the first presidential visit to the fast-growing West Chester area, officials said.
Numerous Republican officials attended the event, including U.S. Reps. John Boehner, Steve Chabot and Rob Portman, Lt. Gov. Jennette Bradley and former Cincinnati Bengals star Anthony Munoz, who is heading the Bush-Cheney campaign in this region.
Also present were Keith and Carolyn Maupin. Their son, Army Spec. Matt Maupin of Amelia, is missing in Iraq after his capture in April.
Several area schools dismissed classes two hours early Monday, ostensibly to avoid traffic tie-ups. The Lakota West High School choir sang the national anthem at the rally, however, and Lakota bands performed at the event.
"It's fitting that George Bush's visit is causing students to miss school," said Brendon Cull, a Kerry campaign spokesman. "George Bush has spent the past four years making it harder for Ohio's students to get a quality education."
I was listening to ABC News on the radio as I was driving home. They were discussing this poll and said something like, "A new poll shows there may be trouble ahead for President Bush."
After that rousing lead-in they cited several issues in the poll in which people, by margins of like 4-8 points, gave opinions which would, indeed, seem to go against the Bush administration. No where in the story was it mentioned that the very same poll shows Bush ahead by six points. (The margin of error, apparently, was 3%, so, barring rounding differences, this would appear to be a statistical dead heat.)
Yes, it's true that the results of the poll could be interpreted as showing that some of Bush's support is soft. And yes, from that you could infer, possibly, that Bush is "in trouble." It seems to me though that in a report on what a poll might mean for the candidates, it might be worth mentioning what the results for the question, "Who will you vote for?" were.
More: And just to be fair, I'll point out that Drudge's link to the Yahoo News story about the same poll describes Bush as having a "solid lead". That's not exactly true. The poll shows Bush up by 6% among "likely" voters. According to the ABC News story, the poll has a 3% margin of error among likely voters. That means, to simplify greatly, that the pollsters believe they have pegged each number to within 3%, give or take, of the actual values among the general popluation. This poll shows Bush up 51-45. However, with a 3% margin of error, it's possible that the true value is 48-48. In circumstances in which the margin of error allows for the possibility that the two possibilities are actually equal, it's not possible to confirm statisically that either party is actually ahead. Thus, Drudge's headline is sensationalism at best.
However, that doesn't mean that the poll is meaningless. After all, that 3% margin of error also means that it's possible the true lead for Bush is 54-39. I seriously doubt that he's doing that well, but when you combine this poll with most of the others I've seen over the last 3 weeks or so that show Bush up by any where from 4-10 points, it provides compelling evidence that Bush is, indeed, ahead in the popular vote.
All this of course leaves aside the issue that nationwide polls are often useless in determining a winner because the "popular vote" has absolutely nothing to do with deciding who wins. In our federalist system, as employed in the Electoral College, it's possible for a candidate to "lose" the "popular vote" by millions and still be elected President. And no, I don't see anything wrong with that.
On a related rant, my college roommate and I were discussing the other day our frustration that stories about political polls rarely include the degree of confidence. If you don't know what this is, I'll try to keep this simple. (Please note that in my discussion of statistics I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. It's been years since I've actually done any but the simplest of statistical calculations. There's a plus of not being an auditor!) Basically, when a statistician calculates the margin of error of any poll, they also calculate how likely it is that the true value falls within the margin of error. This is known as the degree of confidence and in commercial polls the degree of confidence used is usually between 95-99%.
What is often not fully appreciated is that every poll has multiple margins of error, depending on how confident you wish to be in the margin. And the higher degree of confidence you use, the wider the margin of error becomes. So for the same poll you might find that you could have a 90% degree of confidence that the true value fell within a 2% swing. You might be 95% sure that it fell within a 5% swing. To get up to 99% you might need a 10% margin of error to reach that degree of confidence. For all practical purposes, to reach 100% your margin of error would have to be large enough to cover the entire possible spread. (If your poll showed 50-50, you'd need a 50% margin of error.)
My understanding is that political polls generally use 95%, but I can't remember ever seeing a story about a political poll that actually came out and said so. Certainly, if someone wanted to try to use a poll to affect public opinion in the short term, they could adjust the margin of error to get the results they wanted (assuming that the initial results were close to what they wanted). Since the degree of confidence is rarely published, who would know?
For instance, if your candidate was ahead, and you wished to demoralize the other side, you could increase the degree of confidence, thus shrinking the margin of error. This would give the impression that your candidate's lead was more solid than it actually was. Likewise, if you were behind, you could decrease the degree of confidence. This would make your candidate appear to be closer, statistically speaking, than he really was. This might then be used to help rally the base.
Of course, if you gamed the system too much and started coming up with margins of error way above or below those generally seen in political polls, people would probably notice. But since the degree of confidence is rarely released, subtle attempts to game the system might go unnoticed in the short term.