Friday, October 29, 2004

Exploit your child for Jeebus!

The above story is about a mother suing a school district for not allowing her 4th grade daughter distribute a religious flier at school. My favorite part-

"The flier, about the size of a greeting card, starts out: "Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one." The flier mentions five ways in which Jesus had come into her life."

Ok, the kid is in 4th grade, so about what, 9 years old? Good thing she found Christ after her years as a sinner! Now this mother is going to cost the school district money to defend itself against not allowing religious material to be distributed. Let's ignore for a moment that these are children, not really capable of understanding faith. There is a reason most religions have an age threshold for really joining a church (bar mitzvah, confirmation, etc.). Does anybody really think this mother would be ok with say, a Wiccan kid distributing fliers about the Earth Goddess? I'm sure she would be calling the school outraged that her daughter was being exposed to evil pagans.

I also like the comparison the mother gives-

"The lawsuit noted that Michaela has received literature from other students at school, including literature concerning a YMCA basketball camp, Syracuse Children's Theater promotion of the show "Dragon Slayers" and the Camp Fire USA's summer camps."

Yes, and none of those groups or literature is religious in nature! See the difference you zealot?!?

The Boy Genius

The article linked above is a great profile of Bush's Brain, Karl Rove from The Atlantic Monthly. Some good and bad news and trends for Kerry in there relating to this election.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Undecideds

Ok, they've been analyzed to death, but here is my 2 cents.

On one hand, I can see being undecided if you are a true conservative. Bush has sold out many core conservative values. He's never used his veto on a spending bill, grown government at a rate more than Clinton (even when you remove military/homeland security spending), he favors amending the Constitution, he granted amnesty to many illegal aliens, he pushed through the Patriot Act and passed the massive prescription drug benefit. The list of non-conservative acts is long. But the problem for real conservatives is that Kerry is not an improvement. I can see being a little torn from that end.

On the other hand, what are you waiting for to make up your mind? The differences between the candidates are pretty clear. Jon Stewart made a funny joke that the undecideds are giving Bush one last chance- if he doesn't fuck up this last week, I'll still vote for him, but if he does one more time, that's it! The fact is, by this point there really shouldn't be any undecided voters left.

New Voters and the Youth Vote

The above column by Arrianna Huffington is a good look at the youth vote, by I do think she is being a little too optimistic and/or naive. The thing is, every four years, both parties play lip service to the youth vote, there are tons of get-out-the-vote drives, and MTV and P.Diddy register a bunch of young voters. Every 4 years. And every time, the result is the same- the young voters don't show up to the polls. It's sad, but true.

As far as the record numbers of newly registered voters go, I think that will be a different story, and a good one for Kerry. I simply cannot believe that people are getting involved for the first time to vote for the status quo. And the funny thing is, all these new voters are not counted at all in the polls. So when you read "Bush ahead by 5 points", you know it's just bullshit. I think that if even half of the newly registered voters show up to the polls on election day, Kerry wins by a substantial margin. I really hope that happens, not because I like Kerry, but I think Bush is a disaster, and I would hate to see a replay of the 2000 election in Florida. It's already been reported that there are election law lawyers from both parties in all of the swing states filing pre-election lawsuits and ready to make challenges after the election Wouldn't it be great if Kerry won so decisively that there was no point in fighting in the courts?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Much is being made in this final week before the election about the polls, new voters, undecideds and the youth vote, most of it crap. I have a few quick thoughts on these, and am pretty annoyed with the major media outlets.

First of all, the constant and daily dissecting of the latest poll numbers is out of control and has to stop. The polls are absolutely not accurate; they only poll "likely" voters (ones who voted in the previous election), don't reach people who have cell phones as their primary phones, and even the poll companies admit they only reach about 30% of their target responders. So let's break this down- Say there are 100 total possible voters. 40 voted in the last election. 40 are newly registered and 20 were registered last time but didn't vote. So out of this 100 voter pool, a national poll would reach 12 voters. But wait, it's even less accurate! Say that of those 40 likely voters, 5 have cell phones as their primary phone. Say another 5 are like me and have caller ID and don't answer the phone when we see 800-numbers or unidentified numbers as an incoming call. So now we have a 30-voter pool to sample from. So using the polling companies number of 30% polled, the sample is now 9% of all possible voters. And that 9%, the 9% with time to chat with a stranger on the phone about their personal politics are the people that the pundits base all their predictions and trends on. Even when the talking heads acknowledge the polling problems, it is in passing, and then they go on to blather at length about what these numbers mean. KNOCK IT OFF!

I'll post on the new voters, youth vote and undecideds a little later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

NY Yankees fans are spoiled little girls

Last night's behavior by the NYY fans was pathetic. A-Rod cheated by slapping the ball out of Arroyo's glove in the 8th. The original call was Jetter scores from 1st, A-rod safe at 2nd. The umps huddled and made the proper call that A-Rod is a cheating bitch (disclaimer: I'm from Seattle and hate A-Rod almost as much as I hate the Yankees). A-Rod out, Jetter back to first, no score. The fans reacted to a proper call by throwing things on the field, interrupting the game. Later, they repeated this behavior and the umps called out the riot police. What great fans.

Listen up New York- you are not owed the MLB title. In fact, you're spoiled little girls, whose owner tries to buy a championship every year. There is a reason the rest of the nation hates your team.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Devil's Night on Christ's day

So, people in the Bible belt are apparently upset that Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. My favorite quote from the story-

"You just don't do it on Sunday," said Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, Ga. "That's Christ's day. You go to church on Sunday, you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a child."

Now really, do any children "celebrate the devil" on Halloween? I seem to remember it more as a dress-up-and-get-candy type of holiday. Maybe kids are becoming more evil in my old age....

Anyway, these Bible-thumping fanatics are the same people that have made schools not allow certain kinds of costumes (witches, devils, etc.), think Harry Potter will make their kid into a Satan-worshipping witch and that nothing more edgy than Full House should be allowed on TV. Can we please get to a place as a society that we can at least all agree that dressing up and reading novels will not make you possessed by the devil?!?!?

(hail Beelzebub! Bwaaaahahahahahah!)

Cheney's gay daughter

Andrew Sullivan is providing the most reasoned critique of the whole Mary Cheney flap. Money quote-

"And I fail to see how Kerry's remark could be understood in any conceivable way as gay-baiting. It never occurred to me when I heard it. It does not occur to me now. You know what is based in gay-baiting? Implicitly, clearly, shamelessly: the Bush-Cheney campaign. The GOP has a nutty candidate in Illinois who called Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist" - but Dick Cheney wasn't an "angry dad," then. Lynne Cheney didn't call that "tawdry." So Bush runs the most anti-gay national campaign ever and it's his opponent who gets tarred as a homophobe! Brilliant, even by Rove's standards."

Click here to read more.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Liberal or Flip-flopper

Ok, maybe I'm too picky, but is John Kerry "the most liberal senator in the House" or is he a "flip-flopper"? It seems to me that if he is the most liberal, he must be consistent in his record. If he's a flip-flopper, then he would have to have voted conservatively a least sometimes. So Mr. President, which is it? Most liberal or flip-flopper? Which do you think is less appealing to the American voter?


Are you flip-flopping?

Friday, October 08, 2004

The FCC and the 1st Amendment

Amendment I to the Constitution-
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. "

From the FCC's website-
"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress."
"The FCC is directed by five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for 5-year terms, except when filling an unexpired term. "

So, here we have a body that decides what is acceptable to broadcast that was created by Congress and whose members are appointed, not elected, who can enforce their decision on what is acceptable by fines and withholding licenses. In what way is the very existence of the FCC even Constitutional?

Today, the FCC is expected to hand down a $1 million fine to Fox for behavior by contestants on the god-awful reality show "Married by America" ( Apparently, the guests engaged in "lascivious banter... And a segment that involved contestants licking whipped cream off each other's bodies."

Oh, the horror! Government must protect us from banter and licking! Won't somebody please think of the CHILDREN!?!?!? This fine was also the result of the work by those prudish nannies over at the Parents Television Council.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

That wacky MPAA!

Ok, this story is funny on it's face- Matt and Trey had to cut out footage of puppets having sex to get an R rating, rather than the box-office poison NC-17.

However, it is a symptom of a larger problem. The "family values" and decency warriors are constantly trying to use government to coerce private companies and performers to censor themselves. Most notably, the Parents Television Council (, is constantly trying to get the FCC to be tougher on broadcasters and performers. It annoys me, but I see their point that it would be nice for parents to have some time on the public airwaves for family friendly entertainment.

However, groups like these are also trying to get lawmakers to grant the FCC jurisdiction over cable TV, and politicians can make a splash "protecting the children" against the indecency of our culture. Cable TV is a service you choose to pay for and bring into your home. Also, most TVs have the V-chip and digital cable has parental controls. But these family groups much prefer to legislate their morality, rather than take responsibility for raising their own children. I'll follow this up later with a post on why the FCC should not even legally exist.

Are the Republicans desperate?

Yes, it's true- the Republican party in Michigan is asking prosecutors in 4 counties to prosecute Michael Moore for bribery. They contend that (jokingly) offering college students clean underwear, chips, and Ramen noodle in exchange for their pledge to vote is bribing them for their votes for Kerry.

That's just sad.

Bush/Cheney '04- We're never wrong (ignore reality)

Dick Cheney last night at the debate said in response to a question about Iraq-

"Concern about Iraq specifically focused on the fact that Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, that they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with al Qaeda....

"What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action. The world is far safer today because Saddam Hussein is in jail, his government is no longer in power. And we did exactly the right thing." [emphasis mine]

Really, Dick? No tweaking of plans, maybe listening to the people who told you the WMD intelligence was weak? With 20/20 hind-site, you would not, I don't know, HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY?!? Maybe you might have wanted to listen to your generals, who told you your estimations of how many troops were needed to be successful in Iraq were completely inadequate. Perhaps listening to your own secretary of State's warnings about the mess you people were about to start would have been a good idea?

Really, you have to look no further than your former boss, and your current boss's daddy to have gotten some good advice on Iraq. Poppa Bush knew, if you conquer Iraq, your job has just begun, and there is no good way to get out.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bush's favorite country is bailing on Iraq

So, Poland is probably going to withdraw it's mighty 2,500 troops from Iraq within a year. What a blow to the president's impressive international coalition!

Bush seemed really excited about Poland's part in the coalition during the debate, twice pointing out their contribution to Kerry (once incorrectly; Poland did not send troops until after we had taken Baghdad). During the debate, Bush accused Kerry of denigrating foreign troops for their contribution to the Iraq war, but didn't he sound a wee bit defensive? It's not denigrating an ally to point out the difference in their troop deployment versus ours. I just find it so pathetic that Bush really seems to think he built an impressive international coalition, when the numbers of troops and money is so wildly out of proportion.

I think my favorite contribution of the "coalition of the willing" was Madagascar offering trained monkeys to set off land mines.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Funny website polls

Ah, the difference in audiences. The quickie polls on Fox News and CNN's websites on the outcome of the debate last night have a remarkable (and funny) contrast.

Fox News-

Tie- 16%
Bush won- 42%
Kerry won-36%
Didn't watch- 5%
None of the above- 1%


Tie- 7%
Bush won- 21%
Kerry won- 72%

I'm just surprised so many Fox viewers could admit that Kerry beat Bush like a red-headed stepchild.