Berry's World
Saturday, January 24, 2004

The new Newsweek poll is out with some numbers that must be giving Karl Rove heartburn:

44% want President Bush reelected and 52% don’t.

‘Still, voters question the ultimate electablility of anyone other than Bush in November,’ claims Newsweek because 78% feel that President Bush is 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' to get a second term.

I think this speaks less to the ‘ultimate electablility’ of President Bush, as it does to the fact that voters realize that no matter how many votes the Democratic candidate gets, the election may be stolen from him (again).

The Little Teapot points out that on yesterday's BuzzFlash homepage, the word BuzzFlash appeared 60 times, setting a new record.

Sadly, this beats the Berry's World record of 59 set in November of 2003.

Dennis Miller was plugging his new CNBC show on Leno last night when he saluted Attorney General John Ashcroft for keeping us safe for the 'two and a half years' since the 9-11 attacks.

I hate to be a fingernail in the lasagna, but if Attorney General Ashcroft gets credit for keeping us safe since 9-11, wouldn't that have to mean that he gets blamed for the 9-11 attacks in the first place?

As Dennis use to say when explaining how conservatives could be anti-abortion yet pro-death penalty, 'It's gotta be the timing.'

ABC's Nightline was devoted to Governor Dean's post-Iowa speech, and the damage control his campaign has exercised.

It was funny for a couple of days, but come on, is it that big a deal? Are voters seriously going to vote for another candidate because Governor Dean, in a 60 second video clip, actually looked like he was having some fun? Anybody who points to this incident as the reason they chose a different candidate is flat out lying, and they never had any intention to vote for the Governor in the first place.

'Ooooh, but Keith, it wasn't presidential!'

We've got a guy who tried to hide a DWI conviction, brags that he hasn't done illegal drugs since 1974, and as a grown man claimed the S.E.C. ate his homework and you want to talk about presidential?


Vice President Cheney can’t seem to catch a break.

9-14-03 On Meet The Press, Vice President Cheney is asked if there is a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 attacks and says, “We don’t know.”

9-18-03 President Bush says, "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks."

1-22-04 Vice President Cheney says, "We've found a couple of semi-trailers at this point which we believe were in fact part of (a WMD) program. I would deem that conclusive evidence, if you will, that he did in fact have programs for weapons of mass destruction."

1-23-04 Weapons inspector David Kay is asked about the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and says, "I don't think they existed.”

Remember at the end of The Godfather when Michael Corleone brings his brother-in-law Carlo back to the compound to answer for fingering Sonny to the Barzini people? The time has come for Democrats to call Senator Tom Daschle back to the compound for a similar conversation.

Senator Daschle is a very nice man, but starting with the U.S.A. Patriot Act, and going forward, he has committed too many blunders to remain as Senate Minority Leader.

"You can act like a man (SLAP!). What's the matter with you?"

It was Senator Daschle who thought that a quick vote on the Iraq War Resolution would allow us to put it behind us and concentrate on the 2002 elections. We all know how well that turned out.

"If I had a wartime consigliere, a Sicilian, I wouldn't be in this shape!"

Senator Daschle was even getting pushed around by Senator Rick Santorum on the Omnibus Spending Bill:

Senator Daschle: "Our desire isn't to kill this bill. Our desire is to give them a chance to fix it."

Senator Rick Santorum: "We are not changing this bill, period."

The bill passed 65-28.

"You slapped my brother around in public?"

It was Senator Daschle, who in October of 2003 said Democrats would "absolutely not" have any qualms about a filibuster if they don't like the final product of the Medicare Bill. A month later, Senator Daschle voted to cut off the filibuster just before the bill passed.

"But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever."

When Democrats were successfully filibustering the Energy Bill to death, Senator Daschle voted with Republicans.

You're out of the Family business, that's your punishment. You're finished. I'm putting you on a plane to Vegas.

As I said, Senator Daschle is a good man, but he's got to go.

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse".
Friday, January 23, 2004

Back in August, David Kay was leading the hunt for the weapons of mass destruction and said 'I think the American people should be prepared for surprises.'

He was dead right, as I was completely surprised by his answer in a Reuters interview:

Q: What happened to the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that everyone expected to be there?

A: "I don't think they existed.

Sadly, Reuters didn't ask about those pesky 'weapons of mass destruction program activities'.
Thursday, January 22, 2004

On January 15th, Matt Drudge inserted himself (along with the RNC) into the Democratic primaries by posting some, shall we say, ridiculously distorted quotes from General Wesley Clark which purportedly showed the General has changed his view about the invasion of Iraq.

Of course, the story was shown to be false, but Drudge did get some publicity by being mentioned by Lou Dobbs on CNN and in the Wall Street Journal.

Clearly seeing this as an opportunity to jumpstart his under whelming career, talk show host/columnist and self pronounced 'Stooge of South Central' Larry Elder got in on the action. So, a week after the story had been proven to be a fabrication, Elder took the quotes from Drudge, made a few MORE alterations, and presented them as proof General Clark supported the 'unilateral' invasion of Iraq. Of the 386 words Drudge supplied from various points of General Clark's testimony, Elder reprinted 287 of them. Below is the testimony Drudge posted on January 15th, and in bold is what Elder omitted.

"There's no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to take the actions they deem necessary in their self defense,"

"Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He's done so without multilateral support if necessary. He's done so in advance of conflict if necessary. In my experience, I was the commander of the European forces in NATO. When we took action in Kosovo, we did not have United Nations approval to do this and we did so in a way that was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn' t agree with that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it with a resolution."

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we."

"And, I want to underscore that I think the United States should not categorize this action as preemptive. Preemptive and that doctrine has nothing whatsoever to do with this problem. As Richard Perle so eloquently pointed out, this is a problem that's longstanding. It's been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this."

"I think there's no question that, even though we may not have the evidence as Richard [Perle] says, that there have been such contacts [between Iraq and al Qaeda]. It' s normal. It's natural. These are a lot of bad actors in the same region together. They are going to bump into each other. They are going to exchange information. They're going to feel each other out and see whether there are opportunities to cooperate. That's inevitable in this region, and I think it's clear that regardless of whether or not such evidence is produced of these connections that Saddam Hussein is a threat."

It's shocking (shocking I say!) that Larry Elder would be so disingenuous, deceitful and duplicitous. I mean, he's a lawyer for God's sake!

As a kid, I was awesome at the game Which One Doesn't Belong. You'd see a screwdriver, a hammer, a monkey wrench, and a kangaroo, and then have to pick out which one was out of place. (Hint: In the above example, the kangaroo was the correct choice.)

Want to play?

OK, here are 5 convictions. Pick the one that doesn’t belong.

1) Jerome Lamont Williams-Lexington, Kentucky: Strangled his grandmother. Convicted of Second Degree Manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence.

Sentence: 15 years in prison

2) John Biskind-Phoenix, Arizona: Abortionist who let patient die after late term abortion. Convicted of Second Degree Manslaughter.

Sentence: 5 years in prison

3) Kevin Hart-Long Island, New York: He was drag-racing when the OTHER DRIVER lost control and plowed into a minivan, killing two and injuring one. Convicted of Second Degree Manslaughter.

Sentence: 5 to 15 years in prison

4) Bill Janklow- Flandreau, South Dakota: Ran down and killed a man on a motorcycle. Convicted of Second Degree Manslaughter.

Sentence: 100 days in prison, eligible to leave prison during the day to perform community service after 30 days

5) Mark Miller-Herkimer, New York: While drunk, ran over and killed a woman. Convicted of Second Degree Manslaughter.

Sentence: Up to 14 years in prison

Answer: This was way too obvious. The correct answer is number 2, as John Biskind is the only convict who hails from a state that begins with a vowel.

It really wasn't that long ago that we were hearing that the race for the Democratic nomination could very well be over if Governor Howard Dean won Iowa and New Hampshire:

If candidate Dr. Howard Dean gets on a roll and wins Iowa and New Hampshire, it could very well be the end of the hopes of other candidates.
Ed Matthews, Erie Times News-1/5/04

Here's my guess: If Dean wins Iowa and New Hampshire, the race will probably be over by the end of February.
Terry Neal, Washington Post-1/8/04

If Howard Dean wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he's going to be very hard to stop in any circumstance.
Ron Brownstein, on CNN's American Morning-1/2/04

Political observers believe if Dean wins Iowa and New Hampshire – where he is leading handily – the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination is all but over.
Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily-12/10/03

With Senator Kerry opening up a sizable bulge in New Hampshire, it seems like the talk of a brokered convention is wishful thinking. Considering the bump Senator Kerry got in New Hampshire after Iowa, if he wins again in New Hampshire will he be able to run the table to the nomination?

I'm not sure, but I sure wouldn't bet against it. On the upside, that sort of scenario would anger Mickey Kaus enough to pull his own hair out (pun intended).

Gene Lyons’ column (For once, press acts just as it should) in yesterday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had to be heartening to General Wesley Clark, and, indeed, all Democrats. It concerned the blow-up over the General’s congressional testimony in 2002, which according to the RNC and Matt Drudge, showed the General ‘flip-flopped’ his position on the invasion of Iraq. The RNC and Drudge pretty much took General Clark’s testimony, moved a bunch of sentences around, omitted around 11,000 words between sentences, and may have added some quotes from Joe McCarthy for good measure to show that General Clark supported the war that he now says was against.

However, rather than allow the right wing to run roughshod over a Democratic candidate, the press did something it consistently failed to do in 2000; it investigated the story. KnightRidder reporters Dana Hull and Drew Brown ran a story (GOP chair claims Clark supported war; transcripts show otherwise) saying that General Clark's comments were taken out of context, and a complete read of his testimony show he actually said, pretty much, the polar opposite of what Drudge and the RNC claimed. Further, the big mainstream media outlets also reported the whole story, rather than simply regurgitating the false charge as fact.

Lyons feels this is 'the single most significant event of the 2004 election campaign' and 'indicates that turning the Democratic nominee into a caricature won’t be as easy as lampooning Al Gore with phony stories like "inventing the Internet," " earth-tone clothing, "etc.'

The story came out January 15th, and had been thoroughly debunked within a couple of days. So, that's that with that, right?


The only problem is that Lyons seems to forget that it's Republicans we're dealing with here.

In yesterday’s American Daily, J.B. Williams’ column (Both Faces Of Wesley Clark) relies on the altered testimony.

Today's column from Larry Elder (On WMD's -- what did the Democrats say?) quotes General Clark's testimony almost exactly as it appeared on the Drudge Report.

In this morning's Washington Times, Charles Hurt, in a story called Republicans train sights on Clark, writes 'In that statement, Mr. Clark seemed to be supportive of the war to remove Saddam Hussein, calling him "a threat" and saying he had chemical and biological weapons.'

So, while Gene Lyons is celebrating that some of the press eventually got the General Clark testimony right, Republicans will just keep on repeating that General Clark has flip-flopped on the war as a matter of political convenience.

And why not? It's worked for them in the past.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Monday night I took Mickey Kaus to task for his wildly off-base prediction concerning Senator John Kerry, highlighted by this paragraph:

It was merely six weeks ago when Kaus started the Kerry Withdrawal Contest, inviting readers to 'Help him drop out now and avoid humiliation.' Kaus went on to show his prognostication skills with '...Democratic Senator John Kerry, once proclaimed the frontrunner in the press, faces not just defeat but utter humiliation in the New Hampshire primary.'

Wednesday morning Howie Kurtz had a strikingly similar paragraph in his story concerning political soothsayers:

This was three weeks after Slate columnist Mickey Kaus held a contest to help Kerry drop out of the race, saying the Massachusetts senator "faces not just defeat but utter humiliation in the New Hampshire primary."

You don’t think Howie…nah, that would be unethical. And Howie’s ethics are above reproach, right? I’ll just chalk it up to an extremely unlikely coincidence.

Jokes, Pranks, And Hijinks:

Student apologises for 'foolish' joke about bombs on US flight

A British student apologised yesterday for joking that she was taking three bombs on board a flight in the United States.

Q-C boy expelled for fire prank

A Bettendorf Middle School student has been expelled for the rest of the school year after he attempted to set fire to two other students’ hair.

Train driver on leave after 'gnome on tracks' prank

A New Zealand train driver has been put on leave after running over a garden gnome he thought was a child. Police said the gnome was apparently placed on rail tracks in Tauranga, south of Auckland, as a practical joke.

Grandview High may expel 2 over prank

Two Grandview High School juniors face expulsion for pulling the pants off a freshman wrestling teammate in a hotel room, according to the Cherry Creek school district.

Prank leaves one child partially blind

It turns out Chris was shot with a paintball from a passing car. Police say four teenagers were at the other end of the paintball gun.

Suspicious package at warehouse was a prank

Yolo County Bomb Squad technicians determined a suspicious package thought to contain explosives was a prank, Woodland Police Sergeant Dan Letamendi said.

Britney prank puts local DJs on ice

It may be the biggest uproar over singer Britney Spears since her recent quickie marriage. The pop princess is all over the front pages of national magazines, and just a mention of her name provokes strong emotions from many. So when Nashville DJ's Billy Breeze and Marco announced that Britney was at their Murfreesboro Road studio Thursday morning, the effects were immediate.

Fart joke backfires on BBC

The BBC has apologised to the Albanian ambassador in writing for a comment made by comedienne Jo Brand on a Christmas show. Brand apparently offended Albanians by offering to break wind to the sound of the country’s national anthem.

President Bush “radiated strength and leadership."
Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va.

A safer, stronger, better America is within our grasp under the continued leadership of President Bush.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN

The President has shown courage and great leadership on a number of other important and difficult issues.
U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

President Bush has once again demonstrated his extraordinary leadership, as he has consistently set goals and achieved them throughout his presidency.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

President Bush's leadership and positive vision for America stand in marked
contrast to the current political mudslinging by the men who hope to win
his job.
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

As a mom, I also have to say I really appreciated his leadership on
helping teach our kids to make the right choices, because it really
takes all of us.
Presidential adviser Karen Hughes

Golly, it's almost as if their post State of the Union comments were coordinated, or something.

Driving home today, I listened to some AM radio, and the Republicans are mercilessly mocking the performance of Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tom Daschle in their response to the State of the Union. But, as usual, the Republicans have it all wrong.

As tough as they are being on the Democratic Dynamic Duo, they are still going too easy on them.

I was literally in physical pain watching the Democratic Leaders of the House and Senate. 30 seconds after it ended, the only thing I remember coming out of Senator Daschle’s mouth was some nonsense about a food’s country of origin being on the label. That must really fire them up in the Health And Safety Commission Agriculture Industry Sub-Committee meetings, but it nearly put me to sleep. As for Representative Pelosi, her eyes were open so wide that I was absolutely certain that she was about to confess to the Kennedy Assassination.

I can’t believe that one of them didn’t say something like:

‘Listening to President Bush tell it, life is great. For him, it probably is. God knows that it is for Vice President Cheney. But, things aren’t all that great for the 500+ families who have lost a loved one in Iraq. Life isn’t a weekend in Hef’s jacuzzi for the 2.5 million people who have lost their jobs since President Bush was sworn in. President Bush, life among the country club set probably is wonderful, but someday you might want to come off your ranch and see how the other 9/10th’s live.’

I was all set to suggest just eliminating the Democratic response, but Calpundit has a better idea. Either way, something has to be done. Last night’s performance was simply unacceptable.

Watching Charlie Rose last night, which was really a Republican pep rally, one reporter made a point that I've overlooked, and maybe you have too. It was either (sadly, Rose doesn't provide a free transcript for tightwads like me) David Sanger of the NY Times or Jon Meacham of Newsweek who pointed out that heading into the general election, the pressure really is on President Bush.

He has to make up 3 1/2 million votes. President Bush lost by a 1/2 million votes to former Vice President Gore, and Ralph Nader got 3 million votes. While this is a simplistic idea, and doesn't take into account the electoral college, it is a reminder that President Bush ain't just gonna to waltz his way to a second term.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In President Bush's State of the Union address, he got quite a bit of applause dissing some of his critics:

Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.

When he's right, he's right:

(Troop figures from The Globalist, unless otherwise linked)

Britain-11,000 troops.

Australia-250 troops in Iraq, 850 more in surrounding region.

Japan-35 troops arrived Monday, will be increased to 1,000.

South Korea-675 troops.

The Philippines-97 troops.

Thailand-422 troops.

Italy-2,754 troops.

Spain-1,300 troops.

Poland-2,500 troops.

Denmark-409 troops.

Hungary-300 troops.

Bulgaria-485 troops.

Ukraine-1,650 troops.

Romania-783 troops.

The Netherlands-1,198 troops.

Norway-150 troops.

El Salvador-360 troops.

There are around 157,600 foreign troops in Iraq. In terms of the total number of foreign troops in Iraq, the United States (132,000 troops) makes up about 84% of these troops.

You know, it doesn't seem like it would be too hard to explain this particular criticism to anybody.

Saturday I passed along advice from the Charlotte Observer to Panther fans planning on attending the NFC Championship Game: Don’t wear a Panthers jersey.

It turns out that Panther fans should have left their hats at home too.

Sportswriter Tom Sorenson passes along some of his wife's observations while attending the game, including this gem:

Behind her sat a man who dared wear a Panthers cap. Before the game, an Eagles fan asked him what right he had to be at the stadium. The fan was serious.

Sorenson's conclusion is that the Sports Deity favors those who deserve it and punishes those who don't. 'This explains why Philadelphia never wins anything.'


By Michael Getler
Wednesday, January 21, 2004; Page B06

When I was offered and accepted the position of Ombudsman for the Washington Post, I thought I had just gotten the best job in the world. I was going to be the reader’s representative for Washington’s oldest, largest and greatest newspaper. I was certain that every day at work was going to be a complete and utter joy.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

While, for the most part, I have enjoyed my time as Ombudsman, the last couple of days have proven to be some of the most miserable days of my journalism career.

It started when my e-mail box started filling up with complaints about Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Dr. Charles Krauthammer. To be perfectly honest, I was not anxious to delve into the latest controversy concerning Dr. Krauthammer, as, well, we sort of have a history.

In early December, Dr. Krauthammer, who in addition to winning a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, is also a board-certified psychiatrist who received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and practiced psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital for several years. In an apparent attempt to be helpful, Dr. Krauthammer diagnosed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean with Bush Derangement Syndrome, which is manifested by the ‘acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.’

Thousands of readers e-mailed me objecting to Dr. Krauthammer’s diagnosis, complaining that under the guise of a medical opinion Dr. Krauthammer was furthering his ‘radical right wing’ beliefs. At the time I didn’t know Dr. Krauthammer all that well, so I thought it was an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other better. I went to his office and mentioned that I was getting a lot of complaints about his diagnosis of Dr. Dean.

“Mike, do yourself a favor; e-mail all those Deaniacs back telling them they are supporting a certifiable lunatic, and to lay off the skunk-weed.” Dr. Krauthammer advised me.

“Well, Dr. Krauthammer,” I said, “You didn’t really get a chance to thoroughly evaluate Dr. Dean…”

I knew immediately that I may have made a mistake when Dr. Krauthammer’s eyes turned as black as midnight on a moonless night, and he told me to “Get the (expletive deleted) out of my office.” I tried to explain that I was only passing along complaints that readers had sent me, but he would hear none of it, and fired his tape dispenser at my head, opening a nasty gash above my eyebrow requiring nine stitches to close. I had hoped that we could put this misunderstanding behind us, but ever since that fateful meeting, every time he sees me he runs over my foot with his wheelchair.

So, when I received several thousand complaints about what readers considered a ‘hit-piece’ on Senator John Edwards by Dr. Krauthammer, I will admit I was reticent to discuss it with him. To be fair, the column seemed fairly even-handed, although I did find one passage to be over the line. Near the end of his column, Dr. Krauthammer wrote:

While trying to fool the voters of Iowa by playing the role of ‘nice guy’, the evil and vicious Senator Edwards received much sympathy over the death of his 16-year-old son. What the voters seemed to ignore is that, despite repeated media requests, Senator Edwards refused to release paperwork indicating that the Senator himself was not the driver responsible for the collision.

Frankly, I felt this passage crossed over the line from a thoughtful analysis of the Iowa results to trading in baseless and foundless rumors. I was all set to call Dr. Krauthammer’s secretary to arrange a meeting, when George Will stopped by my office and told me that Dr. Krauthammer just bought a new, solid steel tape dispenser. Rubbing the scar on my forehead, I decided to let this situation simmer for a day or two.

Then, my e-mail box started to fill up with fresh complaints. This time readers were outraged by a story written by Susan Schmidt concerning the Homeland Security Department’s threat level. In what, I’m sure Susan felt was an innocuous sentence, she wrote:

Democrats seem to forget that President Clinton had numerous opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden, including several occasions when bin Laden stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House as President Clinton’s guest.

Considering what happened the last time I went to see a writer about reader complaints, this time I opted to e-mail Susan a few of the complaints and asked for her response. I was certain that she either had documentation or a good explanation for the offensive passage.

You can only imagine my chagrin when I got a call from my boss the next day. It seems that Schmidt, in an attempt to get me fired, had forwarded highly edited copies of my e-mail to Washington Post publisher, Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr., and chairman of the Post, Donald E. Graham. In the copies Jones and Graham received, I was seen to be making sexual demands on Schmidt, including a request for a rambunctious game of ‘Escaped Prisoner and The Warden’s Wife.’

Naturally, taking into account Schmidt’s history, Jones and Graham exonerated me, and advised me, considering the troublesome week I was having, to take a short vacation. I was quite relieved, as scurrilous charges can stain a career, and I was comforted by my employer’s faith in me. As I walked out of Jones’ office, ready to enjoy a week in the sun on the beaches of Cancun, I was able to smile for the first time in several days. Of course, my smile evaporated when, out of nowhere, a giggling Krauthammer happily ran over my foot.

I’m telling you, some days I really hate this job.

The talking heads are offering a lot of reasons why Governor Howard Dean finished a distant third in the Iowa caucuses; the capture of Saddam Hussein, the endorsement of former Vice President Al Gore, even his wife's failure to campaign.

None of them are right.

The single most important reason Governor Dean was soundly knocked off the front-runner pedestal is 'electability'.

Iowa Democrats loved hearing Governor Dean stand up to President Bush when it seemed like no other Democrat would. After watching Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle roll over and play dead better than Eddie from Frazier ever could, Iowa Democrats thirsted for somebody, anybody to say 'we’ve had enough!'

That's what Governor Dean has been saying for the last year and a half.

We’ve had enough.

We’ve had enough going along with whatever hare-brained scheme President Bush came up with for fear of being painted as unpatriotic. We’ve had enough of our party being relegated to the role of neutral observer as the Republicans treat the national treasury as their own personal piggy bank. We’ve had enough young kids die in a war that never should have been started.

Sadly, for Governor Dean, he was too successful. His message was co-opted by the other candidates. When there was only one guy saying what most grassroots Democrats were thinking, the choice was obvious, and that’s why Governor Dean vaulted to the dizzying poll numbers he enjoyed only a few weeks ago.

But, with several candidates now willing to stand up to President Bush, voters got to consider who could actually beat President Bush. Iowa voters decided that Governor Dean, more than likely, could not. I like Governor Dean, and I’m grateful that he had the courage to show the other candidates that it’s OK to stand up to the president. But, deep down, in a place I don’t like to admit exists, I think Karl Rove and the Republican attack machine would light him up like a crack pipe at the corner of Sepulveda and Ventura.

So, I’m afraid to say, despite all the money, despite all the young people working for his campaign, despite the backbone he single-handedly gave back to our party, we may as well stick a fork in Governor Dean.

He’s done.
Monday, January 19, 2004

While I really didn't have a dog in the Iowa caucus fight, I do have to say that Senator Kerry's win makes me happy if for no other reason that it must be driving card carrying Kerry-hater Mickey Kaus absolutely nuts.

It was merely six weeks ago when Kaus started the Kerry Withdrawal Contest, inviting readers to 'Help him drop out now and avoid humiliation.' Kaus went on to show his prognostication skills with '...Democratic Senator John Kerry, once proclaimed the frontrunner in the press, faces not just defeat but utter humiliation in the New Hampshire primary.'

While Senator Kerry would never stoop to such depths as to chide the Mickster, allow me to do it for him:

Suck on that, Mickey!

Watching the PBS documentary Citizen King, we got this quote from Dr. King that seems as true today as it was on April 30, 1967:

Don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as His divine messianic force to be -- a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America: “You are too arrogant! If you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power"

As you well know, my utter lack of modesty prevents me from failing to point out this political prediction made on Sunday:

I predict that even though he may well finish in the top three, Representative Dick Gephardt will see his presidential dreams dashed in the Iowa caucuses. He may go on to New Hampshire, but his campaign will be on life support, and it won't be able to recover.

With an extremely disappointing 4th place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Representative Dick Gephardt is reportedly going to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination tomorrow in St. Louis.

Combining this dead on prediction with my calling the National Champion two months ahead of time, can it be long before my family stops hammering me over my inexplicable and misguided advice to 'go with the Betamax VCR'?

A group of college Republicans at their Midwest caucus leadership conference crashed a Democratic rally at the Drake University Olmstead Center that urged young Iowans to get out and vote. Apparently one of the young Republicans got a little touchy-feely with, if you can believe it, Joan Jett.

One of the Bush supporters shoved Jett and and the singer pushed back in anger.

Campus security broke things up and the concert resumed, although rumors cannot be confirmed that Jett's next song was Don’t Abuse Me.

This makes the second time in a little over a week that Republicans have attempted to disrupt a Democratic function.

While perusing the blogs nominated for a Koufax Award, I was pleased to see that, like me, nearly everyone felt honored and humbled for receiving their nomination:

It's a great honor to be nominated, and the other blogs nominated along with Terminus represent some really excellent work.

The Liquid List is very proud to have been nominated for a Koufax Award for Best Group Blog. We are part of a nominee field that includes some must-reads, and for that, we are humbled.
The Liquid List

Wow! Talk about honor. Two of my posts have been nominated for the 2003 Koufax Award for Best Post of the Year. I can honestly say that this was totally unexpected and completely gratifying.
A Skeptical Blog

I'm flattered to have been nominated for a Koufax award for 'Best Blog'. The nominees, posted on Wampum's blog, are without exception well known, excellent, and best of all, politically left-of-centre. I gasped just to see my humble blog's name listed in such company. Wow.

It's flattering to see that this blog has been nominated for a 2003 Koufax Award over at the Wampum blog, in the category "Best Series", for the Dead Socialist Watch.
The Virtual Stoa

Of course, the high road isn't for everyone:

Vote Kicking Ass for Best New Blog!

Wampum is running its annual Koufax Blog Awards (the Oscars of the lefty blogosphere), and Kicking Ass has been nominated for Best New Blog. Go now and show your support for Kicking Ass in the comments!

Posted by Jesse Berney @ 11:03 AM

Kicking Ass

Saturday, CBS comes out with the news that President Bush has an aproval rating of 50%, compared with 45% disaproval.

Sunday, the New York Times shows a graphic indicating that President Bush's approval rating is lower that President Ronald Reagan's and President Jimmy Carter's at the same point in their first term.

Sunday, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, makes this inexplicable comment on Meet The Press:

MR. BALZ: We have a very interesting and sort of anomalous situation. We have an incumbent president who is probably as strong, if you look at public opinion, as any incumbent president seeking re-election since World War II. We also have the most polarized, divided, divisive country that we've had in a very long time. Those two things don't add up to something sensible, and so one of them's going to break. (Emphasis added)

Dan's partially right: some things just don't add up.

Jonah Goldberg, in an effort to salvage President Bush's reputation for honesty, penned a recent column claiming that President Bush did NOT, in fact, lie concerning the Weapons of Mass Destruction, but merely made a mistake.


Technically, he is correct. If President Bush thought there were WMD's in Iraq, then the fact that we didn't find them speaks less to President Bush's honesty, and more to his (and his administration's) competence, or lack thereof. Goldberg is cleverly using the Costanza Defense: 'Just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.'

So quotes such as these are not lies, but errors:

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."President George W. Bush, Sept. 12, 2002

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."President George W. Bush, March 17, 2003

However, while painting President Bush as a buffoon, (but an honest one!) Goldberg conveniently forgets this classic:

U.S. forces in Iraq have "found the weapons of mass destruction"President George W. Bush, May 30, 2003

Not even Goldberg can talk the President's way out of that lie.

The independent commission investigating the 9-11 attacks will not get an extension of the deadline to finish their work, according to the Washington Post. Mainly because the White House and Representative Dennis Hastert 'strongly oppose any extension of the deadline'.

Considering the commission is investigating the biggest crime in the history of the Republic, my only question is this:


Unlike the White House and Representative Hastert, I'll give you as much time as you need to answer.

The Los Angeles Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in Chicago last night.

Big deal, you say?

Well, yeah, it is a big deal. The win snapped a 14 game winless streak (0-3-9-2), which was the third longest in franchise history. To put it in perspective, the last time the Kings won a game was 3 days after Saddam Hussein was captured.

In another bright spot, despite the lengthy winless streak, and despite the myriad injuries suffered by the Andy Murray's club, if the playoffs started today, the Kings would be in, grabbing the 8th spot in the NHL's Western Conference.
Sunday, January 18, 2004

With the polls so tight, and the somewhat bizarre way things work in the Iowa caucuses, the smart thing to do is follow Calpundit's lead and not make predictions about the final outcome.

Thankfully, nobody has ever accused me of being smart.

Well, actually, I'm not going to predict the winner, as I might as well draw names from a hat. However, I will predict the candidate who will be considered the big loser after Monday.

I predict that even though he may well finish in the top three, Representative Dick Gephardt will see his presidential dreams dashed in the Iowa caucuses. He may go on to New Hampshire, but his campaign will be on life support, and it won't be able to recover.

The LA Times reports that Governor Howard Dean spent 3.3 million dollars in Iowa on TV commercials, the most any candidate has ever spent in the Hawkeye State.

When you consider that non-programming, which is defined as: "commercial time, public service announcements, public service promotions, promotions aired by broadcast and cable networks, program credits not run over continuing program action, and 'other' unidentified gaps within a commercial pod," takes up about 19 minutes per hour, Governor Dean bought enough ad time to fill every non-programming minute of a network for nearly 10 days.

Factoring that in, it's no wonder Iowa resident Dean Decker says of the Democratic candidates:

"Pretty soon now, they'll all be moving on. And New Hampshire can have 'em."

Ershad Khandker writes a lengthy column in The Daily Star about the upcoming presidential election and comes to this startling conclusion:

Therefore, in all likelihood, George William Bush will win a new four-year term, as president of the United States of America.

A typo? Perhaps, although the opening paragraph begs to differ:

Incumbent President George William Bush and the challenger, Democratic front runner Howard Dean are the two contenders.

Well, at least he got Governor Dean's name right.

Having formally endorsed General Wesley Clark for president, my head got a little big and I started thinking that maybe I had some sort of 'insider' type connection with the Clark Campaign. So, after pontificating at length about how we could improve presidential accountability, I sent an e-mail to General Clark asking if he would champion the monthly town-hall meeting with registered voters idea.

Somebody in the campaign quickly pricked my bubble of pomposity by sending me an e-mail thanking me for 'writing about some of the important environmental issues that our country now faces.'

Point taken. I’ll shut up now.

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