That Bull Dog Spirit
Saturday, July 31, 2004
From MSNBC.com

By Brian Braiker
Updated: 4:53 p.m. ET July 31, 2004

July 31 - Coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Sen. John Kerry now holds a seven-point lead over President George W. Bush (49 percent to 42 percent) in a three-way race with independent Ralph Nader (3 percent), according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll The poll was taken over two nights, both before and after Kerry's acceptance speech. Respondents who were queried after Kerry's Thursday night speech gave the Democrat a ten-point lead over Bush. Three weeks ago, Kerry’s lead was three points.


Kerry’s four-point “bounce” is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll. There are several factors that may have contributed to the limited surge, including the timing of the poll. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday night speech had a significant impact. Additionally, Kerry’s decision to announce his vice-presidential choice of John Edwards three weeks before the convention may have blunted the gathering’s impact. And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.

Still, Kerry and Edwards have gained ground on several key election issues. For the first time in the NEWSWEEK poll, as many voters strongly back Kerry as strongly back Bush (31 percent to 30 percent). In an election expected to be decided by a small number of unaffiliated voters, independents now lean toward Kerry by a margin of 45 percent to 39 percent, with Nader pulling 7 percent. And voters are becoming more likely to predict a Kerry victory in November: Forty-four percent say Kerry will win vs. 43 percent who predict Bush

Isn't this good news, though, for President Bush? Wasn't the conventional wisdom (a rotten pun, I know) that Sen. Kerry needed a 7 to 9 point boost post-convention to maintain parity with the President after the Republican National Convention?

Even if you take the Newsweek poll analyst's theory into account (that some of the "bounce" occurred pre-convention), Sen. Kerry still only has a 7-point bounce. Leaving him with no ground gained.

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Official dumbest media comment of the campaign:

Just now on the nightly news;
"I want to see the Kerry daughters debate the Bush daughters."-Dennis Eckert, Political Analyst for NBC-3 News, Cleveland, OH.

Oh, God, I wish he was joking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Moore Nonsense:

An exchange from an interview between Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly that's as deep as it is rhythmically bizarre:

M: Are you against that? Stopping this war?

O: No we cannot leave Iraq right now, we have to—

M: So you would sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah? I want to hear you say that.

O: I would sacrifice myself—

M: Your child—Its Bush sending the children there.

O: I would sacrifice myself.

M: You and I don’t go to war, because we’re too old—

O: Because if we back down, there will be more deaths and you know it.

M: Say ‘I Bill O’Reilly would sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah’

O: I’m not going to say what you say, you’re a, that’s ridiculous

M: You don’t believe that. Why should Bush sacrifice the children of people across America for this?

O: Look it’s a worldwide terrorism—I know that escapes you—

So in Michael Moore's America, parents would have the power to unilaterally send their children to war? The problem with Moore here is that he does not get that this is an issue of individual choice; each soldier chooses to enlist or to not enlist, fully knowing the consequences. This is not Vietnam. Soldiers choose to enlist. Their commander-in-chief, with the full approval of Congress, chose where to send them.

And they will be remembered for their service, in a war that was not pointless, not fruitless, not wasteful, not deceitful, but rather just and neccessary.

It occurs to me that John Edwards "Two Americas" theme is reminiscent of Mario Cuomo's "A Tale of Two Cities" from the 1984 DNC. More later.
Et tu Quoque?

In philosophy, there's a logical fallacy known as "tu quoque". Literally. translated it means "you too" and it's rejected as an argument. Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because, for example, the USA once supported slavery, does not mean that we cannot now oppose it around the globe.

Tonight at the DNC, I saw the clash between unilateralism and multilateralism; indeed, it is one of the key issues of the campaign. Democrats claim for both philosophical and pragmatic reasons, we should seek wide coalition support.

Yeah, but what other choice is there from President Bush's shoes?

As I believe James Lileks said, "Mature people don't want the approval of murderers and thugs."

Tu quoque is not a logical truth, but sometimes it's useful to ask "tu quoque?", and here I think it is.

"Our friends abroad" who engage in trade with despotic regimes, who give kickbacks through the Oil-for-Food program to those regimes, who build nuclear reactors and sell weapons and weapons secrets to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and more, are not our friends. Instead, they're self-centered, which we've come to expect from them; they've always, always played that game. their philosophical objection is not to unilateral action, like france in algeria; rather that they are also acting pre-emptively.

They seek to pre-empt a solely Jacksonian school of US foreign policy, one that feels none of the traditional cold-war-era, wilsonian tugs towards coalition-building. They seek to pre-empt a US that views UN approval towards intervention in the Middle East as solely pro forma. It's understandable on grounds of self-interest; but they try to mask it philosophically. Which is where they fail.

If they said to the average American "look, it'll be easier if you work with us; we can give you aid, and make your activities less alienating to the Middle East by giving a broader base for support, and draw some of the fire away from you," France and Germany would probably get a response. Instead, they try to cloak their self-interest within moralizing. Even the "stupid americans" can see through that.

And that's why unilateralism, as unappetizing as it is, will remain a part of US foreign policy for quite some time.
Monday, July 26, 2004
More from the convention:

Despite my personal issues of Clinton, there is no disputing: he is a master communicator when given a microphone and a place to stand. He lays down his arguments with partisanship but without partisan rancor. He understands and grants that his opponents are not his enemies.

He, in short, portrays himself at this convention as the Democrat Republicans want, as the liberal who could stand with Lieberman, with Blair, with a legacy of proud service. Whether he is and was, is a question for history.

But I sure wish that Kerry was.
Watching the convention right now, a mother of two killed in the 9/11 attacks spoke. This speech opened their TV coverage. At first, it was non-partisan, and I hoped it would remain that way. Sadly, it didn't.

And now I'm watching Sen. Clinton, and she just claimed that "we should go out and convince our fellow Americans to vote for what they know in their hearts is right" (paraphrase). Is it just me, or is this more of the classical partisan (on both left and right) desire to believe that those who disagree aren't legitimately disagreeing, but rather simply misguided?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Friday, July 16, 2004


Long ago and far away (or, just after MCFI won its bid to host the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention), we registered a number of Internet domains for ourselves.

Little did we know that the Mayor of Boston also had it in mind to host a convention in the summer of 2004…or that he'd win his bid, too. And political parties, like science fiction conventions, have heard of the Internet. So they registered a domain, too.

Boston04.com points to the Democrats ... Boston2004.com and Boston2004.org point to us.

  1. At both shows, people will play fast and loose with numbers. At Noreasecon, this is called "world building". At the DNC, it will be called an economics platform.
  2. At the DNC, much hot air will be spent on the gay marriage issue. At Noreascon, the discussion will be on clone siblings, line marriage, and familial visitation rights for noncorporeal clade members.
  3. At N4, discussions on the security threats imposed by weapons of mass destruction will include paranomaisiacs, watching the sky for inbound meteors, and gamma ray bursters.
  4. Both conventions may have protestors bearing "ORION NOW! NUKES FOR PEACE!" placards. One of them will have attendees who actually know what it means...
  5. Nobody ever won a Hugo by starting a sentence with, "If you vote for me, then I promise to...".
  6. If we rewrite history we label it as fiction or "alternative history".
  7. It'll be easy to see where a person's from by reading his/her badge, so nobody has to listen to speeches beginning with five minutes of things like, "Mr. Chairman, Montana, where the mountains are high, the skies are clear, the sheep are nervous..."
  8. In a word-association test, we respond to "Fahrenheit" with "451."
  9. We are allowed to accept donations from non-resident aliens…but our aliens may have tentacles and extra feet.
  10. Nobody we've nominated for anything is about to be handed millions of dollars by the Federal Elections Commission.

Monday, July 12, 2004
Official Kerry Press Release:

WASHINGTON, July 12 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Kerry-Edwards campaign today announced the largest Hispanic ad buy in presidential campaign history. The million dollar buy, which includes television, radio and print ads, highlights the values that connect John Kerry with the Latino community -- family, faith and honor. The ad campaign launched with the air, beginning today, of a new 30-second television ad, "Honor," marking another step forward in the campaign's plan to show how as president Kerry will build an America that is stronger at home and respected in the world.

"As today's buy underscores, Hispanic Americans are a key part of John Kerry's campaign to build a stronger America," said Kerry-Edwards Campaign Manger Mary Beth Cahill. "He is running for president to make the American dream real for every family by ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to build a better life for their families. As president, John Kerry will keep that promise for all Americans."

"Honor" shows John Kerry in his many roles: as a husband and father, a man of faith and honor, a man who throughout his life has defended working people and fought to ensure that all Americans can reach their dreams.

Is it just me, or is it time to review the record? Bush took a stand against his own party to get a partial amnesty for illegal aliens. Sen. Kerry, before this election year, was seemingly diffident. (I may be wrong, but can you remember any major domestic or foreign policy action he's made before 2003 that dealt with issues crucial to Hispanic voters?) Bush's party is the party of free trade and NAFTA, agreements that better lives for Hispanics both here and in Central America and South America. The President was the Governor of Texas. His brother is the Governor of Florida. Both states have large Hispanic communities, communities that know the Bush name well (for good or ill.) Kerry is a blank face to them.

It's important to remember the pre-9/11 history of the Bush presidency. President Bush has worked closely with Vincente Fox from Day One. His candidacy was viewed with excitement by the Hispanic community because he was the first American president to be a fluent speaker of Spanish. If the Bush campaign wanted to take a big risk with big rewards, it should hold a town-hall meeting with the President, conducted entirely in Spanish, broadcast live on Univision and Telemundo.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
No comment necessary:

From Andrewsullivan.com:

REPUBLICANS VERSUS FEDERALISM: Here's an interesting little nugget from the RNC's attack sheet on John Edwards. One of their points on which Edwards allegedly "doesn't share the priorities of American families" is the following:

Edwards Said States Should Decide Civil Unions Status.
"Palmieri said Edwards believes states should decide whether to allow civil unions, a legal status conveying many of the same benefits as marriage, that was first recognized in Vermont during the tenure of Gov. Howard Dean, a 2004 presidential rival." - Raleigh News and Observer.

So it's now Republican policy that states should have no right to regulate the question of even civil unions? Maybe they should just be clear and put in their platform that any liberal states that want to pass laws that might displease the religious right should be denied the right to enact such laws. Why not a constitutional amendment to that effect? Oh, wait ...

It's sad to see the party of federalism and states' rights abandoning its legacy.
Monday, July 05, 2004
The letter I sent to my Senators today:

To the Honorable Senators Michael DeWine and George Voinovich of Ohio:

I'm a registered Republican, just like you. My great-great-great grandparents (only second-generation American citizens then) quite literally worked for Lincoln. I'm a devoted party member. I've volunteered for our party. I've registered people at my school to vote. I believe in the ideals and principles of the Republican party. And I'm writing you today to tell you that the FMA is not Republican.

As a proud Republican, I know you want to do what's right, to honor the conflicting wishes of your constituents. I know you want to respect the institution of marriage, but that you no doubt have, as I do, friends who are gay. I know you want to do what's right, so let me give you my voice on what the right side is.

As Republicans, you and I believe in federalism, and local control. You and I believe that local governments, instead of a national government, should direct the course of public policy, especially on such a personal issue as marriage. You and I know that the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as state laws, prevent judicial activist judges from forcing other states to kowtow to their wishes.

As Republicans, you and I recognize the dangers of encroaching federal government. We know well the slippery slope that can occur when we begin tinkering with local issues on a federal level. It's dangerous territory that you're treading in now.

This amendment isn't necessary. But I'm no idealist. If you have to vote "yea" for the sake of political cover, realize this: even as you vote "yea" to this amendment, you will be voting "nay" to Republican principles. I challenge you to do what is right, to continue the Republican legacy, to let the people reach their own conclusions, instead of forcing one upon them. The legacy of Goldwater, Lincoln, and Reagan demands no less.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, etc
A somewhat belated 4th of July reminder of the difference between America and the USSR, and of the strength that caused us to win.

In the USSR, you had to wait in line for hours to buy rolls of toilet paper, and God help you if you dared raise a voice about the shortages.

In America, you can buy unlimited quantities of it imprinted with the President's face. Dissent that, if we really lived in a totalitarian state (as those at the Kerry booth I visited last night claim) would be brutally suppressed.

Democratic capitalism isn't for wimps.

God bless America.

from The Daily Ablution:

Families of Church of England members... will be dissuaded from cremation, according to guidelines to be announced today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The Sunday Times reports that:

"Clergy are to be asked to discourage cremation because of the greenhouse gases generated..."


"the dead are [to be] placed in biodegradable cardboard coffins or shrouds, and both corpse and container rot quickly without contaminating the soil."

One wonders what happens to the CO2 emitted by these quickly rotting corpses - isn't the best way to address this "problem" either embalming or mummification, followed by interment in a non-biodegradable coffin? In any event, even if 100% of the body weight of a 200 pound body was converted to CO2 during the cremation process (ridiculous, of course), the amount of gas generated would almost exactly equal that emitted by a single passenger taking the ~70 minute one-way flight from London to Paris.

Of course, actual environmental effects are not what's important here. What is important is "the church’s growing commitment to green causes," and Williams' view:

"that humans should no longer see themselves as having “dominion” over the earth."

Incidentally, this view may come as a surprise to worshippers recalling Genesis 1:26. In fact, humans' "dominion" over nature was apparently so important to God that he mentions it again just two verses later, when he also calls upon humankind to "subdue" the earth.

But the mere words of the Bible are irrelevant to the archbishop, who uses the platform provided by his position as leader of Britain's established church to espouse a different religion entirely.


In some later day, a historian will list this as a sign of the insanity to which Western Civilization has fallen.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
I am so incredibly pissed at myself for not reading this article earlier:

Brian Tiemann knocks it out of the park again:

It should be obvious it really should that negotiations between one party who's willing to make concessions, and another party who isn't willing, will fail. But we seem unable to look this problem in the face...Yet it's hard to argue that the less feel-good solutions have been less successful throughout history than the solutions that involve waving signs with rainbows on them...

The pro-gay-marriage front has laid claim to the "F-bombs" of modern debate: terms like equality, civil rights, discrimination, and so on (even though marriage is a privilege, with special benefits and eligibility requirements defined by the people, not an inalienable right). Modern-day America can't argue against such terms they're the bedrock slabs of our national discourse, and whichever side can get to the top of them and plant a flag gets to claim the "moral high ground". From there it's easy to jeer downhill at the opposition as being a bunch of retrograde bigots and opponents of freedom and equality...

This puts the opponents of gay marriage in an uncomfortable, defensive position�one that they really don't deserve to be in. People raised on values such as discretion, chastity, respect for all people (even your opponents), humility, and reverence for tradition are now obligated to watch the Pride Parade go by their downtown windows with near-naked characters bumping and grinding on floats, carrying banners reading LICK BUSH AND DICK, and think miserably to themselves, So this is what "moral superiority" looks like these days, is it?

Tough words that hold more than just a little bit of truth.

Brian Tiemann's on a roll recently, but I especially liked this post:

It's a nice teacher who'll play Pokemon with his or her students. But that's not a characteristic that, when we from our adult perspectives see it in our government, our public school officials, or our President, we treat with a great deal of respect.

This isn't the place for nice. This is the world of grown-ups, and demanding that our leaders be as nice as the teachers who used to declare jumprope days and hand out candy is a sure recipe for ensuring that we remain a nation of children forever.

Read it all.
Dancing to The Beatles right now.

That is all.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
How did the Belief-O-Matic do? Discuss your results on our message boards.

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (82%)
3. Reform Judaism (82%)
4. Bahá'í Faith (80%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (80%)
6. New Thought (73%)
7. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (70%)
8. Sikhism (64%)
9. Scientology (58%)
10. New Age (56%)
11. Neo-Pagan (55%)
12. Theravada Buddhism (54%)
13. Mahayana Buddhism (53%)
14. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (52%)
15. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (51%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (51%)
17. Islam (46%)
18. Secular Humanism (45%)
19. Taoism (44%)
20. Orthodox Quaker (44%)
21. Jainism (41%)
22. Hinduism (38%)
23. Jehovah's Witness (34%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (32%)
25. Roman Catholic (32%)
26. Nontheist (29%)
27. Seventh Day Adventist (26%)

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