Category: Politics

Bill O’Reilly is obsessed with defending his lie about having grown up in Levittown, so much so that on his show, he offered to bet Terry Gross $10,000 on it.

Terry, of course, turned him down, but Al Franken would like to pick up the slack. I’ve got the video. [2’57”, 2.3MB]



IHT: Pentagon blocks site for voters outside U.S.: “According to overseas-voter advocates who have been monitoring the situation, Internet service providers in at least 25 countries – including Yahoo Broadband in Japan, Wanadoo in France, BT Yahoo Broadband in Britain and Telefónica in Spain – have been denied access to the site of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, apparently to protect it from hackers.”

WTF?!? Gee I wonder if overseas voters might be more likely to vote the bastards out. Ya think? Way to support our troops, Dubya.


Looks like the Al Franken Show weblog is coming online. People over there seem to be learning about comments, but they (rightly) don’t know what TrackBack or Permalink mean.

If you’re coming here from the Al Franken Show blog, here’s a quick explanation:

TrackBack is sort of like a comment, but the text comes from a post on another blog that’s linking to you, and the TrackBack page usually links back to the linking post.

A Permalink is a link to a specific blog post (as opposed to a link to the blog). Many blog systems will automatically make a TrackBack link (a.k.a. ping) if a post links to a permalink in another blog, so the features go together (though they don’t have to).

P.S. Alas, the Al Franken Show blog doesn’t seem to be configured correctly for TrackBack to work. Oh well. That feature is too hard to understand anyway.


One point of view I haven’t seen much of yet, either in the weblogs, or in the press, is the possibility that the Bush Administration actually forged the documents themselves, or knowingly released forgeries.

Think about this: One of the easiest ways to stop bad press about Bush’s lack of responsibility during his National Guard service, would be to discredit the detractors. Putting forgeries into the hands of CBS News/60 Minutes, and later discounting them would accomplish that goal quite nicely.

Have another look at Ben Barnes on getting Bush into the National Guard. Do we really need the documentation. What about all of the other National Guard people who never saw Bush? (Please leave a comment or send email if that link stops working, and I’ll put up a mirror.)

Having said that, I really would like to hear from the Bush Administration about the history of these documents. After all, it was them who released the documents in the first place, after the A.P. Freedom of Information Act suit, right? What about an independent investigation? What about a special prosecutor? There was no shortage of that when Clinton was President.


Please read Chris Lydon’s long, but important post about important shifts in the Republican Party, which currently culminate in George W. Bush’s bid for re-election. Reference Norman Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, Pat Buchanan and various nearly-central players in the Watergate affair.

Here’s the crux of Lydon’s biscuit:

“Ronald Reagan’s ‘victory’ in the Cold War and his emergence as a hero in Russia and Eastern Europe doubtless inspired George Bush’s crazy dream of being seen someday as the ‘liberator’ of Arab Muslims. But Bush missed the point by a mile. Ronald Reagan never bombed Warsaw or Petersburg or Moscow. He’d have lost the Cold War if he had. And he would surely have cautioned George Bush: Well, son…you won’t win anything of value, even against Saddam Hussein, by bombing the Cradle of Civilization.

Again, please read it. This is one of the more insightful bits of writing that I’ve seen on Bush, and its relation to our upcoming election questions shouldn’t be ignored, regardless of what party you lean towards.


Mary Jacoby, Washington Correspondent with Salon.Com gives us an account of George W. Bush’s “missing year” in 1973, while John Kerry was fighting in Vietnam.

The piece is based on a first-hand accounting by Linda Allison, wife of the late Jimmy Allison, a campaign consultant and friend to the Bush family, of Bush’s activities in Alabama in 1973. Jacoby writes:

“Asked if she’d ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: ‘Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way.’ ”

Describing a rift that opened up between the Allison’s and the Bush’s in 1973, which may or may not have resulted from the Allison’s non-prevention of George Jr.’s alcohol-induced shenanigans, Jacoby relates Linda Allison’s story:

“The break happened not long after a boozy election-night wake for Blount, who lost his Senate bid to the incumbent Democrat, John Sparkman. Leaving the election-night ‘celebration,’ Allison remembers encountering George W. Bush in the parking lot, urinating on a car, and hearing later about how he’d yelled obscenities at police officers that night. Bush left a house he’d rented in Montgomery trashed — the furniture broken, walls damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the Birmingham News reported in February. ‘He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people’s possessions,’ Mary Smith, a member of the family who rented the house, told the newspaper, adding that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid. And a month later, in December, during a visit to his parents’ home in Washington, Bush drunkenly challenged his father to go ‘mano a mano,’ as has often been reported.”

If this is true, then it sounds like Dubya hasn’t changed much over the years, except that now he’s a dry ego-maniacal jerk with a lot more power, rather than a drunk ego-maniacal jerk who could safely have been ignored.

But is Linda Allison to be believed? Is there a counter-argument? Does Dubya have any evidence, any evidence at all, that he’s a different George W. Bush than the one who pisses on cars, drunkenly insults the police, shirks work and responsibility, and back-stabs those who get in his way? Yes, we know he’s not a drunk anymore, but what about the rest?

If you’re on the fence about Bush vs. Kerry, you owe it to yourself to read the article. If you’re already decided, then don’t bother because it’ll just piss you off either way.


Jeff Cheney, in reaction to Phil Ringnalda as quoted in yesterday’s post:

“I think it’s a great sign for democracy when we can have such heated debates. However, there is a danger that we’ve stopped listening to each other and that we’ve grown attached to our points of view. A danger that we’ve become bigots. I’d like to see more blogs pointing at opposing views rather than similar views — engaged in a dialog rather than preaching to the choir.”

I agree with Jeff in principle, but we’ve got a pretty dirty battle going on with this (any?) election. I think at the moment it’s hit-hard, hit first, and ask questions after innaguration day, and there may not be much way around it.

I’d also like to see a dialog. A dialog among the bloggers, a dialog in and with and among the press, a dialog between the candidates.

As it stands, it’s mud-slinging all around. Or as a comedian I’m fond of once said in a completely different context, “hurling flaming piles of poo.”

I’m angry that Kerry either has been unwilling or unable to make his campaign into a dialog about the issues. He tried to early on, but was either told by his handlers that he’d be over our heads, or got distracted by flaming poo, or simply got tired. (It happens.)

I’m also angry that Bush continues to refuse to play straight, and tell us what’s really happening without all his obfuscating double-talk. After all, what the hell does it mean to say that the war in Iraq has been a “catastrophic success?” I agree with Edwards — I don’t have any idea what that means.

I listened to part of the RNC’s opening night on the radio earlier this evening, and the message I heard repeated loudly and clearly was: “9/11 was a tragedy, you’re in danger, don’t worry — this administration has everything under control, see we even set foot in NYC, and if you elect Kerry it’s going to be a heyday for terrorists.” Some of this is between the lines, but most of it isn’t.

And what ever happened to Bush’s claim that he’d never use the 9/11 tragedy for political advantage? It was a public statement I heard over and over again before our invasion of Iraq, but ever since then 9/11 has been the keystone of Bush’s domestic political strategy, and his primary selling point in his campaign for reelection.

Then in the smoky back room over here, we have the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to thank for helping to create a press environment in which it’s so easy for the RNC speakers to imply that Kerry can’t handle the terrorist threat.

But that’s not even the real issue. Does anyone really think that if Kerry were elected, that we’d go back to our pre 9/11 collective state of mind, and the belief that terrorism can’t happen here, that we’re somehow immune? I don’t think so. And yet Bush and his friends are happily taking credit for our collective-conscious’ terror-alert-level, while at the same time playing on our fears to get us to stick by them. (Oh wait — they invented the idea of the terror alert level.)

What I want to hear about is real issues. We people with lives and minds, families, jobs in some cases, and voter registration cards, have lots of questions that are going unanswered by any candidate, and for the most part, unasked by the mainstream press:

What about a plan for getting our people out of Iraq? What about jobs and the economy? What about oil prices? What about the national debt? What about education, health care? What about social security? What about the other wars in Asia, Africa and elsewhere? What about guns in schools? What about alternate energy sources? What about free speech, personal liberties, and privacy? What about the scoundrels who are probably ripping off millions or billions of dollars right now, from average people, because the FBI has redirected most of its white-collar crime resources towards anti-terrorist investigations?

I could go on all night.

There are so many more things we should be talking about, but because of this innane debate about Kerry’s war record, we’re stuck in a 24-hour news cycle that’s obsessed with his dirty laundry, his wife’s shoot-from-the-hip personality, and Edwards’ hair. And for balance, we’ve got the RNC and its 9/11 spin, its “see, we did the right thing” free-for-all.

As I said: Poo-slinging ’till Election Day.

Unless you like cats:


Phil Ringnalda: “The best-selling political books have absolutely no nuance, no awareness that politics is about compromise, not volume and vitriol… I fear for my country.”


Rogers Cadenhead:

“There has to come a time in this country when politicians face a backlash for engaging in win-at-any-cost, blatantly false gutter politics. Sixty seven days from now is a good place to start.”