Tuesday, August 31, 2004

New Keyes Strategy: Campaign in New York!

New Keyes Strategy: Campaign in New York!

I should stop kicking Mosh Pit Al while he's down but it's just too fun. A guy from Maryland running for Senate in Illinois campaigning in New York.

And apparantly he has some problems with his base:

"State party chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka, who is also a delegate, says she supports Keyes. But she won't say if she will vote for him. Another Illinois Republican, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, has offered only a lukewarm endorsement. Delegate-at-large and former Gov. James Thompson said this week that he cannot support Keyes."

Left the TV off tonight but I see AHnold broke out the Girlie Man line again. I assume the crowd was sufficiently pumped (clap)up.

The more I think about it the less I think conventions matter. The last one with any real doubt was the `76 Republicans, and the last one with any real drama was the `80 Republicans and the botched Reagan-Ford Dream Ticket deal. Now, as an Iowan, I'm spoiled and thus not a fan of national primaries. But the old-fashioned convention has been mostly meaningless for several cycles and seems like a big waste of resources and energy.

I've even skipped our state conventions the last couple cycles. The platform process has been watered down to meaninglessness. And the last one I went to, in 1996, lasted till 3:45 a.m. with the only significant issue being "I want to be a national delegate!" "No, I want to be a national delegate!" Two minutes of voting, two hours of sitting. That was the year I was running. Should have stayed home and doorknocked.

Monday, August 30, 2004

A blog brought this guy down

A blog brought this guy down

Ed Shrock may be remembered as a footnote in history, the GOP Jim McGreevy. But my favorite part of this is Kos's bold assertion:

"A blog brought this guy down. Amazing."

The district newspaper notes:

"The allegations emerged two weeks ago, on Aug. 19, when a Web site called blogACTIVE.com posted claims that Schrock was gay, and accused Schrock of being a hypocrite for opposing gay rights issues.

In the two weeks that followed, Schrock repeatedly declined to comment on the accusations – neither confirming nor denying them.

No mainstream newspapers, television stations or Web sites published the allegations."

I'm not a fan of forced outing but I hate hypocrisy even more (one of the reasons I haven't been watching the GOP convention) and this guy sounded like a classic closeted self-loather. Also more evidence of why you need a decent candidate in every race, just in case. Fortunately the Democrat is viable and credible.

I can't decide if this Power Of The New Amateur Media is good or not. I like the Everynerd as Publisher dynamic, and I like that blogging is a way past the bogus paradigm of Objective (sic) Journalism. But I'm also reminded of the old LBJ joke where he suggests accusing his opponent of barnyard bestiality. Someone suggests the charge is unbelievable - I'm cleaning this up a LOT - and Lyndon says: "I know. But let's make the son of a bitch DENY it."

I doubt this blog will ever boot anyone from office. But I will offer a tiny bit of wisdom that may be useful in real life: Keep your mouth shut on a bicycle and don't swallow any bees. I managed to spit the thing out but in a last act of defiance it stung the INSIDE of my lip. I spent the whole morning feeling like I'd just been to the dentist and sounding like I needed a trip to a speech therapist...

And the homegrown eggplant in homegrown tomato sauce was excellent. (That was before the bee sting.)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

New York Times: Abolish the Electoral College

The New York Times > Opinion > NY Times: Abolish the Electoral College

The main problem with the Electoral College is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote. This shocks people in other nations who have been taught to look upon the United States as the world's oldest democracy...

About time this got on the front burner.

I'm still in shock that in the 21st Century the American people are so docile about the fact that the guy who got less votes took office. I remember explaining this to a group of Russians who visited our office. And they LAUGHED at me. Russians, who've had maybe 10 years of democracy in the last thousand, laughing at an American about democracy.

Even the Democrats who complain are upset about Florida, not about the Electoral College. And no prominent Republican will endorse an end to the Electoral College because it's a tacit admission of Bush's illegitimacy.

I have mixed feelings about Colorado's split-the-electors referendum. No minor tinkering will solve the fundamental problem.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Co. Pulls Toys Depicting 9-11 Attack

Anyone check how much this is getting on E-Bay yet?

Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside some of more than 14,000 bags of candy sent to small groceries around the country before being recalled...

Padron said Lisy did not notice the small plastic figurines until two people complained, but there is no mistaking what the toys represent: At the bottom of each is the product number 9011...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Nothing in particular

Instead of actual significant content, a few one liners.

  • Happy birthday Shirley Manson
  • My brother has the remarkably Dylanesque address of Zimmerman, Minnesota. Next time we talk I'll ask "how does it feel?"
  • Live from the smallest farm in Iowa: I've picked five red Roma tomatoes and an eggplant is ready.
  • As much as I admire democracy for democracy's sake, it's sure a relief when the filing deadline passes and your boss has no opponent.
  • Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    What was I cynically saying yesterday?

    What was I cynically saying yesterday?

    "Republicans endorsed an uncompromising position against gay unions Wednesday in a manifesto that contrasts with Vice President (sic) Dick Cheney's supportive comments about gay rights and the moderate face the party will show at next week's national convention..."

    These are the things I can do without

    These are the things I can do without

    Today I'm sober 19 years.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    Cynical about Cheney

    Cynical about Cheney

    "My general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want," Cheney said in response to a question at a campaign "town hall" meeting in Davenport, Iowa.

    I smell something in this. This feels like a deliberate positioning, image-softening move. It takes the heat off Cheney for the obvious hypocrisy of supporting policy that discriminates against his own daughter. (Plus it's a catchier headline that Halliburton.)

    And it's totally content-free as we see a few paragraphs down:

    "But the president makes basic policy for the administration. And he's made it clear that he does in fact support a constitutional amendment on this issue..."

    This is Kinder Gentler GOP stuff, the same impulse that puts Giuliani and AHnold on TV in prime time instead of Trent Lott, and it has nothing to do with the REAL Republican Party.

    Cynical? ME?!?

    Also: Without me even peeking I hit the same note late last night that two premier pundits did today:

  • Larry Sabato: "For only the second time in our nation's history, the bitterness of a bloody, lost war will shadow national politics until generational replacement has removed all the brave soldiers who experienced the event first-hand..."
  • David Broder: "The United States is at war. It is threatened with terrorist attacks. The economy is under stress. And the presidential campaign has been usurped -- by what? An argument among aging boomers about who did what in Vietnam and in the protests against that war..."

  • Monday, August 23, 2004

    Bush Urges End to Attack Ads by Outside Groups on All Sides

    The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 >Bush Urges End to Attack Ads by Outside Groups on All Sides

    You know, I'm about 'Nammed out here. I'd like less Purple Hearts and more Last Man To Die For A Mistake.

    But that's just me. I'm weird. I'm a Lefty Democrat. People only try to EARN my vote in January. In November it's just assumed.

    Maybe we'll finally finish re-fighting the 60s when the first GenXer becomes president.

    Politicos Dig Deep for Your Data

    Politicos Dig Deep for Your Data

    Organizations search consumer data in categories such as vehicle type, magazine subscriptions, financial records and gun ownership, and compare the demographic data with voting records to find people who haven't voted or who may be likely to switch party allegiance. But this election cycle has taken data mining to a new level in the political realm...

    Totally unrelated: I never dropped out of grad school.

    I just took a semester off to work on a campaign.

    Today starts my 25th consecutive semester off.

    Sunday, August 22, 2004

    Chicago Tribune: Obama holds 41-point lead over Keyes

    Chicago Tribune: Obama holds 41-point lead over Keyes

    Where to begin with the list of bad news for Mosh Pit Al:

  • In the first Senate race between two black candidates, Obama leads with African-Americans by a huh?-what-were-those-numbers-again?!? margin of 96-3.
  • "Despite the controversy that led Jack Ryan to drop off the ballot, black voters still had a far higher opinion of Ryan than Keyes..."
  • Keyes is only winning the anti-choice vote 45-42.
  • 29% of all voters and 32% of independents say the Keyes candidacy makes them less likely to support other Illinois Republicans this fall.

    No wonder Keyes is coming out against popular election of senators!

    My brother has some regrets about not getting the chance to vote Obama, but his move to Minnesota takes him from a dark blue to a very light blue state, and puts him in one of the most competitive house districts in the county: the Mark Kennedy vs. Patty Wetterling race.

    That-big-wheel-spins-the-hair-thins Department:

    My daughter starts high school tomorrow.
  • Saturday, August 21, 2004

    Less blogging, more working

    Less blogging, more working

    I've been writing less these last couple weeks. My readers seem to have vanished and I'm getting busier.

    Monday classes start. That means things are going to get even busier at work as my wonderful adopted home town of Iowa City stretches and roars back to life after a lazy summer...

    So I'm gearing up for a ten week marathon. It'll be exhausting but exciting. And after that I have cash in my pocket and time to relax. And, I hope, celebrate the overthrow of the government.

    Don't worry, o gentle readers, if there are any of you left, I'll still have something to say here most days.

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Stupid candidate tricks

    Stupid candidate tricks

    One of the things I tell candidates is: The candidate should spend all his or her time doing stuff only the candidate can do, and shouldn't do anything than anyone else can do for them.

    If you're gonna be a slimeball and steal the other side's yard signs, try to get someone other than the candidate to do it. Especially id the candidate is a sitting Member of Congress...

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    The Impact of Early Voting

    The Impact of Early Voting

    A Boston Globe piece notes political scientists "estimate that this year more than 20 percent of voters are likely to cast their ballots for president before Nov. 2, up from 15 percent four years ago."

    20 percent?!?

    Slackers. Slow pokes. We were at 40 percent four years ago, and we had a special election where we broke 50 - more BEFORE Election Day than ON Election Day.

    In an election like this where no one's left undecided, no reason to wait.

    (Not to mention the new federal election law is a nightmare. Check your registration and vote as soon as you can...)

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    The Unnamed Enemy

    The Unnamed Enemy

    Someone else seems to have picked up on a Harry Potter political analogy, this time in the Washington Post:

    "Bush treats bin Laden a lot like those wizards in the Harry Potter books treat He Who Must Not Be Named...

    Since the beginning of 2003, in fact, Bush has mentioned bin Laden's name on only 10 occasions. And on six of those occasions it was because he was asked a direct question..."

    This means Bush must be: Cornelius Fudge, Inept Minister of Magic!

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    Broder: W is Toast

    Broder: W is Toast

    Well, I'm paraphrasing David Broder, the ultimate establishment insider journalist, just a little. But not much:

    "The factors that make President Bush a vulnerable incumbent have almost nothing to do with his opponent, John F. Kerry. They stem directly from two closely linked, high-stakes policy gambles that Bush chose on his own. Neither has worked out as he hoped.

    The first gamble was the decision to attack Iraq; the second, to avoid paying for the war...

    If Bush can win reelection (sic) despite the failure of his two most consequential -- and truly radical -- decisions, he will truly be a political miracle man. But as his own nominating convention approaches, the odds are against him."

    Can't say it better.

    Back in Iowa: my folks visited and love the Hamburg Inn and the "Interesting" people of downtown Iowa City. The first red tomato is reddening, the weather is beautiful for bike riding, and the guest cats and permanent cats are getting along.

    But I seem to have scared all the blog readers away...

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    Keyes Would Like to End Election of U.S. Senators

    Keyes Would Like to End Election of U.S. Senators

    Alan Keyes said Friday he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to the pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures...

    Keyes' positions on free silver, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and the League of Nations were not available at press time.

    I don't think Mosh Pit Al has too much to worry about when it comes to HIM being elected directly by the people...

    eye - Life during Warped time - 08.12.04

    Bad Religion: Life during Warped time

    "Packed with some of the strongest songs the band has ever recorded, The Empire Strikes First is fuelled by anger.

    "We wanted to be as direct as possible and not leave things to be debated," says Bentley. "It's like, 'Well, how do you feel about [what Bush has done]?' 'Well, we feel pretty pissed off.'"

    Thanks to proactive organizations like punkvoter.com and Bands Against Bush, young voters now have easily accessible resources that can turn them onto the real facts, show them how to get involved and help make sure Americans don't get fooled again..."

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Not sure what kind of a day this was

    Not sure what kind of a day this was

    Talk about a split screen moment. McGreevy drops his bombshell in the same news cycle that California overturns thousands of gay marriages.

    I don't want to excuse anything, especially before all the facts are known.

    But in a better world Jim McGreevy would never have been closeted in the first place.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Truest Story of Campaign

    Truest Story of Campaign

    Once again, the Onion gets it right:

    Delivering the central speech of his 10-day "Solution For America" bus campaign tour Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry outlined his one-point plan for a better America: the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

    "During his term in office, George Bush has relentlessly continued to be president—despite the clear benefits to America his absence would bring to the lives of citizens everywhere," Kerry said. "My one-point plan for America highlights the sort of change that this country desperately needs. And my plan is something that George Bush will never, ever be able to accomplish."

    The Onion - true heirs of Gonzo Journalism. By reducing the campaign to the preposterous, they tell the story better than facts or position papers or debates can. The Kerry campaign IS the one point plan.

    And that might be enough.

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    I'm just a soul whose intentions are good

    I'm just a soul whose intentions are good

    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

    Or m!ssundaztood if you like Pink. Which I only know because of being the parent of a teenager. I could never tell if it was "I'm coming OUT so you better get this party started" which would be a Pride Thing or if it was just "I'm coming UP" which would only imply, well, stairs or perhaps an elevator. In any case the party is definitely "on a Saturday night" which gives me the rest of the week to figure it out.

    Goodbye to a friend

    Goodbye to a friend

    CEDAR RAPIDS - Pat Marshall of Cedar Rapids, a longtime union and Democratic activist, has died.

    Marshall, a member of the Democratic National Committee for the past 20 years, died Saturday afternoon.

    Marshall, 73, was considered a "role model for a lot of women active in politics," according to Iowa Democratic Party Vice Chair Julie Thomas of Cedar Rapids. Marshall had intended to attend the party's national convention in Boston last month, but she couldn't because of cancer-related complications and a stroke earlier this summer...

    I first got to know Pat back in 1992 when we overthrew the government together. She stuck up for me when I needed it back then and we stayed friends after that campaign. She was always bright and positive and she took a great interest in my daughter. Pat was a good friend and a great Democrat.

    Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Accomplishments of the weekend

    Accomplishments of the weekend

  • Got rid of 2/3 of The Pile of stuff from my old house

  • changed a car battery all by myself

  • laundry

  • a couple nice bike rides

  • made vegie lasagna (replace the meat with eggplant and zucchini)

  • Found out that my brother Jeff's dream came true

  • found cheap copies of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Godzilla vs. Megalon, and the From The Choirgirl Hotel CD by Tori Amos

  • went on a Tori Amos kick

  • Listened to the entire Little Earthquakes CD by Tori Amos for the first time, because I finally decided not to hit the skip switch on "Me And A Gun."

  • realized that the lyrics to Crucify by Tori Amos fit the end of my marriage very well:

    Nothing I do is good enough for you
    And my heart is sick of being in chains

    Things I failed to get accomplished

  • Enough work to overthrow the government

  • Watching the three movies I checked out

  • figuring out who knows me at the University of Essex
  • Saturday, August 07, 2004

    Semi Random Links

    Semi Random Links

    What is the deal with the University of Essex?

  • University of Essex
  • Andes, NY
  • Story County, Iowa
  • Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
  • As the Vote Rocks, the Stiff Wander the White House

    As the Vote Rocks, the Stiff Wander the White House

    Interesting point from a bigger blogger than myself:

    I realize that most of what has been attracting my blogging attention recently (and not just mine) is the backlash to Bush in the popular culture. However you care to slice it (youth culture, art culture, movie culture, music culture), Bush has catalyzed an emotional and expressive response that is building exponentially toward November...

    Despite the skill and savvy of Rove and Co., the model they operate out of is a generation behind, geared too much toward the tools (direct marketing) and constituencies (Bush Pioneers, fossil fuel industry) of pre-dot com culture and consciousness.

    I was worrying that Springsteen, Pearl Jam and R.E.M. was too old school, but at the rate he's going W will be lucky to keep Wayne Newton on board... and the latest I hear is he's seriously chasing the all-important Amish vote.

    Amish men and boys wave as President (sic) Bush's bus travels through Intercourse, Pennsylvania (huh huh, huh) in July.

    But lest we forget, a quarter to a third of the nation is part of the Kristian Konservative Kulture, flying below the radar of mainstream media and pop culture. If we lose, Hollywood will look at itself and say "Nobody I know voted for Bush..."

    In light of this, Bush's move to capture the all-important Amish vote almost makes sense.

    Friday, August 06, 2004

    This is why it's important to have a candidate for every contest

    This is why it's important to have a candidate for every contest

    Now, I'll bash Republicans with the best of them but even I gotta admit this guy is too far right even for the GOP:

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Republican congressional candidate James Hart acknowledges that he is an "intellectual outlaw."

    He is an unapologetic supporter of eugenics, the phony science that resulted in thousands of sterilizations in an attempt to purify the white race. He believes the country will look "like one big Detroit" if it doesn't eliminate welfare and immigration. He believes that if blacks were integrated centuries ago, the automobile never would have been invented.

    Despite his radical views, Hart may end up winning the Republican nomination because he is the only GOP candidate on the ballot in Thursday's primary. His presence in the campaign has embarrassed Republican leaders, who were blind-sided by Hart after they didn't bother fielding a candidate. Democratic Rep. John Tanner has held the seat for 15 years and is considered safe in November.

    "I would characterize him as a racist, an elitist," said write-in candidate Dennis Bertrand, a financial analyst and former military officer. "His idea of ... genetically altering the human race in order to build a super race with super intelligence is appalling."

    We had a contest 12 years ago where a nutcase filed on the Democratic line and was a little embarrassing. Some might have characterized my own 1996 race as an embarrassment (my opponent supposedly described me as "they dragged someone out from under a rock")...

    The write in guy only got 17% so the Republicans are stuck with Doktor Mengele.

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    Springsteen Joins Anti-Bush Concert Tour

    Springsteen Joins Anti-Bush Concert Tour

    Directly entering partisan politics for the first time, rock icon Bruce Springsteen will join a loose coalition of high-profile musicians in an unprecedented early October concert blitz aimed at mobilizing opposition to President Bush. The effort, announced this morning, will send over 20 artists to perform more than 34 shows in nine battleground states during a single week in early October...

    Iowa... battleground... Iowa... battleground...

    Naah. No Bruce. Iowa City gets the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor.

    UPDATE: Springsteen puts it in his own words in the New York Times. Free registration required/worth it.

    Gardens and glimmers

    Gardens and glimmers

    Been a while since there's been a report on Iowa's smallest farm.

    There's small peppers on one of the peppers. Beans are producing but not very fast. I think I should have planted a few more. Lots of tomatos - tomatoes? tomatos? Help, I feel like Dan Quayle! - on two of the plants but none on the pink one.

    But the crowning achievement: an actual eggplant is now three inches long and growing. Looked so yummy I had to buy one at the store last night.

    It's a gorgeous day that feels like fall. Everyone is finishing up moving and I'm meeting new neighbors.

    That McCain endorsement is looking pretty transparent

    That McCain endorsement is looking pretty transparent

    Republican Sen. John McCain, a former POW in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

    The White House declined.

    "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President (sic) Bush.

    McCain, chairman of Bush's campaign in Arizona, later said "I can't believe the president (sic) would pull such a cheap stunt."

    The ship is sinking and McCain doesn't want to go down with it...

    GOP wants Keyes

    GOP wants Keyes

    Hang on, Obama, it's MOSH PIT TIME!

    GOP hypocrisy watch update:

    Perhaps most problematic for Keyes is that he has few connections to Illinois and has criticized others for carpetbagging.

    "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it," he said on Fox News on March 17, 2000...

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    And you thought Ted Nugent was a weird idea

    And you though Ted Nugent was a weird idea

    Either two-time Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes or former deputy drug czar Andrea Barthwell will get the nod on Wednesday from the state Republican party's central committee to face off against Obama in November, party officials announced.

    And since Bathwell was the one who was harassing the employees, the smart (?!?) money is on Keyes... one hitch:

    Keyes, who also campaigned twice unsuccessfully for the senate from Maryland, will have to move to Illinois before election day to qualify.

    Maybe Keyes will be so desperate for votes he'll jump in Michael Moore's mosh pit again!

    You know, Alan Keyes was a bigger factor in the 1996 Iowa caucuses that people realize. The big anti-choice minister in Cedar Rapids endorsed Keyes instead of Pat Buchanan, and Keyes WON Linn County (second biggest in the state). If Buchanan had got that endorsement he would have beat Dole and won Iowa...

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Watching the numbers come in

    2004 Unofficial Michigan Primary Election Results - 100th District

    One of the three counties is in and my pal is getting clobbered. But I think that's the smallest part of the district. Newaygo County is his turf and it's not in yet.

    Geez this is slow, we'd be done and home by now...


    Didn't happen. I'll sing anyway. "GOD BLESS A-ME-RI-CA..."

    More fun than a herd of cats

    More fun than a herd of cats

    News flash - the feline apartment tour has been expanded! That's right, more trivial examples of that scourge of bandwidth, that waste of megabytes - pet pictures.

    Two of these cats would like good homes with not so ugly carpets...

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    An unheard of Republican endorsement

    An unheard of Republican endorsement

    As much as it pains me to do so I must wish my pal Marc Libants good luck tomorrow in his primary for the GOP nomination in Michigan's 100th House District. Everything I read about it says it's a safe Republican district (unfortunately), so the best they can do is a Republican who's a decent guy. Good luck, buddy, if you win I'll sing a rousing chorus of "God Bless America" in my best radio voice.

    Also good positive energy goes out over the blogwaves for my brother Jeff who's got a big decision this week, and for another old friend too.

    Celebrity of Politics

    Celebrity of Politics

    The process seems to work both ways:

    Former President Bill Clinton could be a host of "Saturday Night Live" this season. At least, that's what the folks at NBC are hoping. TV Guide Online quotes anonymous sources saying that Clinton has been offered the gig if he wants it...

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Buy a piece of "Joe Bananas'

    Buy a piece of Joe Bananas - Jul 30, 2004

    With of course the obligatory reference:

    The family of late U.S. crime family boss Joe Bonanno is making an offer they hope the buying public can't refuse - they are auctioning off his possessions, from his suits to his mob ties...

    Now godfathers have come and gone in lots of ways: Gambino dying in his sleep at home, Gotti rotting away in jail, Castellano whacked in broad daylight... but Joe Bonanno was the only one who ever managed a quiet retirement in Arizona!