Read it again, Mommy!

Disturbing literature for children, thanks to the folks at

Hey Gayle - it still matters in CA!

Gayle, are you reading this? I know that Kerry is going to win California and the electoral college, but a lot of us are afraid Bush is going to win the popular vote. Could you make sure 2 million more of your left-leaning friends get to the polls on Tuesday? It sure would prevent a headache - thanks!

A little suppression of our own

Missy just suggested that we print some fliers to distribute in wealthy Madison suburbs:

"Hate voting with those dirty hippies? Come to a special (insert pretentious subdivision name here - "Winding Oaks" for example)-only prayer breakfast/vote at 9:30 a.m. on November 3rd!"

Cutting myself off

I've been thinking about cutting myself off from the news (particularly blogs) for the next few days. I think it's a self-protection mechanism - I need to distance myself from the campaign for a little bit. I have two reasons -

1) It's too goddamn depressing - highly organized voter suppression drives, missing explosives, fake ads, self-censored polls - the only news that's lightened my mood over the last week was hearing about Katherine Harris being run down by a car for "political expression". Tee-hee!

2) I'm afraid #1 is giving me false hope for Tuesday. I'd like to think that all of these depressing stories would make Bush voters reconsider, but honestly - if you're undecided at this point, are you going to follow a complex story about whether U.S. troops broke IAEA seals before or after the fall of the government, and if so, which members of the administration knew, when, and why they didn't make it public? No, you're going to vote for Bush because you think it's cute the way he shrugs his fucking shoulders when he laughs.

I'm having trouble sustaining my contempt for these idiots, and if Bush wins on Tuesday then I'll need to learn to ration it out for four more years.

Only fair

Since the Madison city clerk's office DID stay open an extra few hours last night, I guess this kind of stuff is OK too...

Thing #1:
"This is really just a message to vent and to spread the word that I truly do not believe the election in Ohio will be a fair one. Yesterday, I received a letter from the county board of elections stating that some random woman named Joelle has challenged my right to vote. she filed a petition to the county saying that I am not a real person, that I do not live in Ohio and therefore my name is to be removed from the voter registration list and I will not be allowed to vote on Tuesday. If I want to contest this, because obviously the burden of proof should be on me to prove that I exist rather than on Joelle actually proving that I don't exist before filing such a petition, I have to attend a court hearing this Saturday at 11am and testify that am eligible to vote. But it is not just me. Two other people in my department alone also got this letter."

Thing #2:
These fliers have apparently been distributed in black neighborhoods in Milwaukee -

You are healed!

Bush - over-eager gladhanding, or prayer-based health care?

I really think it's psychological...

In Bush's reality...
"Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001, and that our military passed up the chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified criticism of our military commanders in the field."
--10/25/04, Colorado campaign speech

Meanwhile, in the reality-based reality...
"The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge."
--4/17/02, Washington Post

"Well, thanks, it's good to be back"

I really liked this line about Clinton's campaign stops for Kerry:

Everything about Clinton makes George W. Bush seem limited and petty, and perhaps those who hear him over the next eight days will remember how nice it was to have a president who treated Americans like grownups to be persuaded and inspired, not children to be distracted and frightened.

Here are a couple photos from the event, which had 100,000-120,000 in attendance (CNN estimate) -


The Washington Post just came out with a "Best of Blogs" list, which included categories for best conservative and best liberal blog. Since blogspot is looking more and more like the default blog hosting service, I just registered as many of the top vote-getters in the former category as I could with Now, someone mistakenly typing in rather than will be directed to the message:

Power Line - America's conservative voice!

Sorry, folks, we just can't support that dipshit or his cronies anymore. Check out Talking Points Memo if you want more explanation...

I registered powerlineblog, ejectejecteject, citizensmash (and lt-smash), and rightwingnews with and had already registered those names with, but I grabbed and

Maybe YOU took it!

What's this? 350 tons of high-grade explosives were stolen nearly a year ago? And that the theft occurred "due to lack of security"? And that's the source of the weapons being used against U.S. troops daily? And the administration knew about it? And took steps to keep the public from finding out?

Maybe you're wondering what Kerry had to say about it -
"This is one of the great blunders of Iraq, one of the greatest blunders of this administration and the incredible incompetence of this President and this administration has put our troops at risk and this country at greater risk," Mr Kerry told a campaign rally in Dover, New Hampshire.

"The unbelievable blindness, stubbornness, arrogance of this administration to do the basics has now allowed this President to once again fail the test of being commander in chief."

The Bush administration replied by apologizing for the security failure and the cover-up, and vowed that it would not happen again. Oh, no, wait, they said:
"John Kerry has no vision for fighting and winning the War on Terror, so he is basing his attacks on the headlines he wakes up to each day."

Those fools - reading newspapers and knowing what's going on in the world! Fools!

Enamored or annoyed?

Am I enamored that he's a real cyclist or annoyed that he can't fix his own flats?

OCTOBER 20, 2004 -- PORTLAND, OR --During a recent campaign stop in Portland, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry stopped in to a Bike Gallery. The visit wasn't a planned photo op--the man just needed service.

"It seems that even the most high-profile people can succumb to a flat tire, or in Senator Kerry's case two flat tires," said Kevin Brooks, Bike Gallery's marketing manager. "Senator Kerry rolled into the Bike Gallery about 5:00 p.m., had both tires repaired, and rolled out with plenty of time to resume his ride around Portland."

The Bike Gallery has been a family owned business in Portland for more than 30 years.

One more before I go...

I just got this e-mail from a friend in Nebraska. I'll let her speak for herself -


It is good to hear that you are rallying support for Kerry.

In August my brother's service was up (he is in the Reserves) and they sent him to Iraq anyway. He drives a supply truck into Iraq every few days.

My Mom called me crying the day before yesterday because some commentator on NPR stated that among the supply truck drivers there is a daily symbolic lottery in which fate decides who the unlucky six will be for that day--"suicide missions" some of the troops are calling runs.

I am so scared and so angry. I want someone to give me a legitimate reason why I have to go through my day dreading a phone call that he was one of the "unlucky six." Someone (Bush) needs to be held accountable for the dead lives of our soldiers and those of all of the civilians.

Furthermore, I do not see why seeing autopsy photos of Uday and Qusay Hussein is going to make anyone feel better.

Where have all the peace-lovers gone? What ever happened to seeing the value of every human life? How can we be so selfish?


Out of town

Hey kids - I'm going to be in D.C. until late Sunday night, so no blogging until Monday. I'll post pictures when I get back, but until then you should check out Talking Points Memo (since it's where I steal most of my posts from anyway).

At least they're not getting pregnant

"Lesbianism is so rampant in southeast Oklahoma schools that girls must go the bathroom one at a time."
--Tom Coburn, Republican Senate candidate from Oklahoma

"I'm Tom Coburn, and I approve messages that make me think of underage lesbians."

Ethical hypothetical

Who would you date - dumb but liberal, or conservative but smart?

Assume, for the purposes of this hypothetical question, that (1) attractiveness has been controlled for, and (2) that a dumb liberal is not an oxymoron. Neither one of these assumptions hold up in reality, since McKibben (2003) demonstrated that an indicator variable for ideology (conservative=1) was negatively and statistically significantly related to an ordinal attractiveness scale (the traditional 10-point scale). Additionally, conservatives are dumb - Q.E.D.

Oh, the obscenity!

How telling is it that BC04 considers the phrase "Protect our Civil Liberties" obscene? Sometimes I wear pretty obscene a "Protect the Wetlands" man-thong, but never out in public and never when there are conservatives around.


Tom Tomorrow

While I'd like my blog to be full of insightful analysis, but you have to play the hand you were dealt. For me, that hand consists of amusing cartoons.

Fahrenheit 34 degrees

Missy and I saw Michael Moore speak on the Union Terrace Saturday night. Hightlights included Moore calling pro-Bush protestors "assholes" (after chiding the pro-Kerry crowd to "be nice to them"), his impassioned plea not to vote for Nader, an emotional reading from his new book of letters from troops in Iraq, and him reading an internal Pfizer e-mail that told employees to be on the lookout for a "fat, middle-aged man in rumpled clothing". He also gave everyone the Pfizer-Moore-alert hotline number that they included in the e-mail. Hee.

Other than being face-numbingly cold, I had two impressions:

1) Moore is either not a very good public speaker or does a convincing job portraying his everyman persona. He stumbled through the first 20 minutes of his speech and really seemed to get distracted by the pro-Bush protestors. Missy compared him to an inexperienced stand-up comedian, which seemed like a pretty accurate observation to me too. He got into a groove after about 45 minutes though, but by that time, unfortunately, a lot of people in the audience had died of hypothermia.

2) If I can stand outside in the cold for 3 1/2 hours on a just-above-freezing Saturday night to listen to a not-very-good speaker tell me things that I already agree with, then you can damn well take 30 minutes out of your day on 11/02 and vote.

Here are some photos from the event:

...some...thing...on the wing!

Today, Pitchfork gave Elliott Smith's prophetic, harrowing new album a posthumous 7.2/10 and WILLIAM SHATNER's (yes, Captain Kirk's) ego project a 7.5! Wha-wha---whaaa?

lesbian? lesbian.

lesbian? lesbian! lesbian;lesbian. [lesbian-lesbian-lesbian-(lesbian)]

Feel free (lesbian) to add your own (lesbian) comments (lesbian).

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Egad - this may be the funniest thing I've ever seen on CNN!

Tucker and Paul were clearly expecting a fun, softball interview - making fun of Bill O'Reilly, maybe a little Lambert Field joke, etc, etc. What they got was Jon Stewart at his absolute best - self-deprecating, but insightfully critical of the mainstream news media. At one point early in the interview he called them hacks and told them their show hurts America. Later he had to BEG them to let him make his points about their responsibility as journalists. Great stuff - watch the video (about 40meg).

Outrage fatigue

There was a very funny, very true article in the Onion a while ago about liberals in America suffering from "outrage fatigue" - like junkies, needing more and more injustice to get motivated to do or say anything about it. There were great lines like, "Two years ago I wrote letters to the editor about Bush's judicial appointees, but I just don't have the energy to respond to the war in Iraq, the faltering economy, AND horrifying social programs. I'd probably forward an e-mail that had proof Bush was planning to reinstate the draft, but most of my friends just delete anything with "Bush" in the subject anyway." Good stuff, but it's too old to be in the archives and I don't have a membership to the site.

I think I'm outrage fatigued.

Polls, Schmolls, Byron!

On 10/12, the Iowa Electronic Market had Kerry shares (.500) pulling higher than Bush shares (.499) for the first time since 8/23. Kerry stayed ahead at the close of trading on 8/13, but dropped to a .002 cent deficit at yesterday's close (.501 to .499).

John Kerry? Smart.

Andrew Sullivan makes some excellent points about the brouhaha over John Kerry's remark about Mary Cheney's sexuality - primarily that to be outraged by it requires a fundamental assumption that homosexuality is something to be ashamed of. Mary Cheney certainly isn't - why should we try to force her back in the closet?

I'm positive that Kerry made the comment because he knew that it would cause exactly this type of reaction in the conservative community. He's a good enough debater to know that it wouldn't help him make his point about same-sex marriage, so I really believe that he wanted to publicize the right's homophobia.

Wacky internet rumor

Look at the photo below - what does the bulge in gee-dub's back look like? The box for an earpiece? Yeah, that's what lots of other people think too. Apparently the debate rules, at gee-dub's urging, prohibited behind-the-back shots of the candidates. Hmmmm....

Sean Hannity - regular guy?

"Less than a week before he was scheduled to speak to students at Washington University in St. Louis, ABC Radio Networks host and FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity -- who regularly casts himself as an "average American" while attacking Senator John Kerry's "elitist lifestyle" -- reportedly canceled the appearance because flight arrangements were not made to his liking."

The entire story

Apparently the company that owned the PRIVATE JET the students had lined up for Hannity wasn't up to his standards. Their offer of a FIRST CLASS TICKET on a major commercial airline wasn't acceptable either. To compound his jerk-itude, Hannity asked the student organizers to lie about why he had cancelled the event.

new ad

"Never has so much military, economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively.... If, after all of this time and all of this sacrifice and all of this support, there is still no end in sight, then I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership, not tied to the policies and mistakes in the past. I pledge to you we shall have an honorable end to the war...."

New Kerry/Edwards ad? Nope - Richard Nixon ran this ad in 1968. You can view the ad at this website Thanks to Gadflyer for the info!

Hi Mom!

It's come to my attention that my mom reads my blog occasionally - Hi Mom! In a letter, she said that she wanted to write comments but wasn't sure if I would appreciate comments from my mom. Everyone say hi to Denise!

He forgot Poland!

More at!

Deer? Are big.

As weather forecasts make me realize that the last few nice days of the year are slipping away, I find myself blowing off work to go mountain biking more and more. One of the advantages to being in graduate school is that, as my own boss, I'm pretty lenient on myself about that sort of thing. Today, for example, I coded for a few hours, submitted a paper proposal to a conference, read a paper for a discussion group, and e-mailed my sections some discussion notes - and then I took the rest of the afternoon off to go mountain biking.

Of the local trails, Blue Mound is by far the most technical and difficult - unfortunately, it's also the closest and it's where I have to go when I don't have a full morning or afternoon. On the "Holy Schist" trail this afternoon I learned that:

1) Leaves changing color is more spectacular from under the canopy, but they hide rocks when they fall.

2) Deer are much bigger in person than they appear on TV. Also, they have some sort of stealth technology that the military should be looking into.

3) Wrists are awfully fragile joints.

My blog has been a bit heavy as of late...

Please lighten the mood by answering the following...





















Ack - I'M flying into Dulles in two weeks!!

According to this morning's Washington Post, in response to an "increasingly high-profile Virginia gun rights group whose members have taken to wearing firearms on their hips in public places to make their case", the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has agreed to ease the "overly restrictive rules" about bringing firearms to National and Dulles Airport.

Thanks TPM

More Cheney lies!

Thanks to Kos and Atrios:

Lie #27 - Cheney stated that, "in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session." In fact, since 2001, Cheney has served as presiding officer only twice (11/12/02 and 12/07/03). That's only one more time than John Edwards himself (10/16/01)!

Lie #101 - Cheney told the viewing audience that Edwards had missed so many votes in the Senate that his "hometown newspaper has taken to calling [him] Senator Gone." Not quite, Dick.

Lie #119 - Last night, Cheney claimed that, "I have not suggested there's a connection between iraq and 9/11." On Meet the Press, however, he stated, "If we're successful in Iraq...we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11" (9/14/03). See more statements by clicking the link above.

Veep debate

My initial reaction during and after the debate last night was that (1) Edwards looked much better than Cheney and (2) this wasn't going to change the minds of any undecideds (except my wife's friend - see below). In addition, a lot of the initial media reaction calls it a draw, so there won't even be post-debate stories about who won to sway their opinions after the fact.

Still, some interesting things were said (and not said):

1) My favorite line of the night: Edwards, responding to a question about his lack of political experience, said, "A long resume does not equal good judgment." Boo-ya!

2) Cheney referred viewers to www.factcheck.COM - which redirects to Cheney probably meant to say factcheck.ORG, a nonpartisan site, although the headline there during the debate was, "Bush Mischaracterizes Kerry's Health Plan: Bush claims Kerry's plan puts 'bureaucrats in control' of medical decisons, 'not you, not your doctor.' But experts don't agree with that."

3) Cheney, criticizing Edwards' attendance record in the Senate, said that even though Cheney's VP role includes being president of the Senate, the two men hadn't met before they walked on stage together last night. Eagle-eyed bloggers quickly found this photo, from a February 2001 breakfast hosted by Dick and Lynne Cheney. Cheney also gave the introduction that morning: "Thank you. Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I honored to be with you all this morning."

4) John Edwards looked positively brobdignagian when they used the behind-the-moderator shot.

5) Edwards mentioned Kerry at least once in every answer - who is Cheney running with again?

6) Cheney deemed it unnecessary to defend his positions multiple times, even though he was offered a 30-second rebuttal.

7) Did Cheney even mention Israel or Palestine in his 90-second response to that question?

Actual conversation had by me

During the debate last night:

Me: So, if you don't mind me asking, who are you planning to vote for?

Wife's friend: Oh, I haven't really decided yet. Who are you voting for?

Me: John Kerry.

Wife's friend: (motioning to TV) Which one is John Kerry again?

The good news is that she'll probably vote for Kerry on my recommendation now. It's like I have two votes in November!

Americans - too stupid to live?

A recent Gallup poll found that 42% of respondents (and 56% of Republicans) believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11th attacks. Terrifyingly, 32% believe that he was personally responsible for planning the attacks. Jeee-sus - we let these people vote?

Iowa Electronic Markets

Three new polls today put Kerry and Bush in a statistical dead heat,
but what does the best political prediction tool IN THE WORLD say?

The vote share graph is less telling that the winner-take-all graph below. You can see that, after a Bush surge around 9/27, the gap is narrowing quickly. With no major developments, I predict that the candidates' equities will be back at parity by Friday's debate.

But Jason, why is the IEM gap larger than the polls? Unlike polls, the
IEM doesn't report who voters plan to cast their ballots for, but who
investors in the market believe will actually win the election. The
winner-take-all market in the graph below pays out $1 for every share
held in the candidate with the greater number of votes cast in the
election and $0 otherwise. It aggregates information from numerous
sources - polls, yes, but also talk-radio chatter, the tone of TV
commentary, blog activity, etc - anything that gives investors
information about the likely outcome in November.

But Jason, this all sounds more complicated than it needs to be - why not just look at the polls? Putting aside numerous questions about the accuracy of some pollsters' methodology, futures markets are (1) updated in real-time, (2)
uninfluenced by the partisanship of the sponsoring organization, and
(3) simply more accurate than polls (I'll send you the literature
review if you ask for it).

Yeah, but can they make him smarter?

Now that I have the power of photos -

Photo test -

The debate in pictures

Very funny stuff from a fellow amateur blogger -

The Debate in Pictures

The pundits of SNL

Saturday Night Live may be an anachronism of comedy past, but their parody of the debate will surely get some airtime on the major networks. After the 2000 debates, I have no doubt that Darrell Hammond's sighing in the SNL skit gave a lot of people all the information they needed to know about the debate (which they may or may not have watched).

Here's the question - does the way they portray the debate reflect or shape the public's perception of it? It seems to me that there are two ways they could portray Kerry, for example - (1) as a "flip-flopper", changing his opinion two or three times in a single answer, or (2) as giving straightforward, easy-to-understand answers but still being accused by Bush of sending mexed missages.

Ashes of American Flags

Accuradio just played "Ashes of American Flags" which is one of my very favorite Wilco songs. One of the last few lyrics says:

I would like to salute
the ashes of american flags

I love this line - it speaks to respecting the right to dissent and that the flag is only a powerful symbol if we respect everyone's right to use it as such. Please oppose the Flag Desecration Amendment.


Antonin Scalia - swinga?

From the article:
Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

Yes, I do, thanks

Am I the only one that feels insulted by the "Support Our Troops" yellow ribbon car magnets? I feel like the subtle implication is, "Hey America-hating liberals, support our troops but voting for Bush," which is obviously too long for a ribbon-shaped magnet. Maybe I'm just on the defensive, but my opinion comes from a couple observations - (1) my sense is that "default conservatives" have trouble understanding a nuanced argument, (2) opposing the war without opposing the warriors, to quote John Kerry, is too nuanced of an opinion for them to wrap their minds around, (3) thus, they feel the need to (a) remind liberals and (b) stave off any questions about their own patriotism.

I'm a liberal and I think the war in Iraq was a disastrous mistake, but I support the troops. How? I'd rather not see my wife's brother or any other young man or woman killed in Iraq because of questionable motives and incompetent leadership. I support the troops by wanting their lives not to be wasted. That doesn't sound very complicated to me, but I hate America so what do I know?

Something I didn't notice

I didn't notice this while watching the debate last night, but there's a lot of chatter online about how Bush mentioned multiple times how hard his job was. I, for one, don't feel sorry for him.

Is it too hard for you? Throw in the towel.

Are you tired of it? I'm sure we could find someone to fill in if you just want to resign right now.

Was it a suprise that being president is hard work? Maybe you should have considered that before you agreed to be appointed to the job.

Understanding how they think

I (and many others) have expressed a mix of confusion and despair over people who think Bush did a good job last night, let alone won the debate. To help us understand, here are a few excerpts from CNN's online message board:

Richard Roadman from Gastonia, North Carolina:
I think Bush won the debate, and Kerry only reinforced my fears of having a non-committal weak leader as commander in chief of our military.

Duane Savage from Saint Marys, Ohio:
I thought both candidates did well, although I think President Bush gets the edge in my opinion, for two reasons. Sen. Kerry apparently misquoted a few facts, which president Bush corrected him on. The one point that stands out the most clearly to me, though, was when Sen. Kerry tried to make the point that he would build a stronger coalition with regard to Iraq. He turned around and took the opposite stance with regard to North Korea saying he would open bilateral talks, rather than continue the current process with China, Russia, Japan, etc.

E.J. Ehrmann from Point Pleasant, New Jersey:
John Kerry is an excellent debater. Unfortunately, the substance of Kerry's solutions for Iraq were either unclear or unrealistic and his solutions for North Korea were purely weak and appeasing. Good thing the best debater doesn't make the best President. I hope the Senator enjoys the lecture circuit on losing a Presidential election.

Barbara from Atlanta, Georgia:
Bush won. Fighting terrorism doesn't follow the old rules.

Derek Corson from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
President Bush sent a strong and consistent message. The United States is strong in their resolve. Senator Kerry seems unsure of his position on Iraq before and after the war that he voted to support. He acknowledged Saddam as a major threat prior to the war, he voted for the use of force, but then didn't vote to support the troops with $87 billion of funding. He also doesn't know what country Osama Bin Laden is in. He's a waffling FLIP-FLOP. HE SCARES ME!! Bush isn't a "Slick Willy," he's just more honest and more consistent.

Marilyn from Mobile, Alabama:
President Bush had the advantage in the debate by being himself: straightforward and unequivocal about his commitment to protect Americans and promote freedom. Bush is running for president of the U.S.; Kerry seems to think the election is going to be put to a "global" vote.

Post-debate chatter

Most ignorant post-debate comment:
"I don't think anyone can say this was anything but a tie" - caller on conservative talk-radio show this morning

Unintentionally Funniest post-debate comment:
"I'm so angry at the Bush campaign! His advisers obviously gave him a couple things they wanted him to repeat over and over - it just made him sound stupid!" - different caller, same show

Unintentionally Funniest comment during the debate:
"He forgot Poland!" - Bush

Intentionally Funniest post-debate comment:
"Success, Jon, orgasmic success! President Bush, considered retarded by some standardized tests, held his own against the smartest man in the world." - Rob Corddry, Bush campaign spokesman, The Daily Show