9/29/2004 01:53:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|iPoddity So the parents surprised me and got me a 20 gig iPod after all. Without hyperbole, I can say that this is the best object I have ever owned. Seriously, that's not hyperbole. Consider: - I collect music like George Bush collects diplomatic failures. In my collection are more than 1600 CDs and around 7000 MP3s - probably more than 30,000 songs over all. - I work out, but have been slowly going crazy at the tendency of my burned CDs to skip after I've used them a few times on a treadmill. - I like holding small metal things. So this little marvel is making my life better every minute. Hell, I'm not even bothered by those monochrome iPod commercials any more, wherein silhouettes of young people bust out hot dance moves. That's the thing about the iPod - you can swing your arms like an octopus, and the damn thing won't skip. It's just such a breath of freedom, like when you're 10 and you realize gravity is different underwater and you use that to renact Chun Li's hurricane kick from Street Fighter II. Maybe I was the only one doing that. Whatever.|W|P|109643404269067836|W|P||W|P|9/25/2004 01:43:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Update As a means of kicking the Kerry thing down the page, let me announce that I got my first-ever speeding ticket, in rural Maryland. Is it pricy? Let me put it this way: I'm no longer buying an iPod for my birthday.|W|P|109608751227959051|W|P||W|P|9/18/2004 01:01:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|John Kerry for president After literally weeks of hurdles and misteps, I finally received my Virginia voter registration card. And in 46 days, I'll drive to Claremont Immersion School to punch a straight Republican ticket down ballot, and John Kerry/John Edwards at the top. This easy decision is the end result of a long and gnarled path. In 2000, I voted Republican for congress, Democratic for senate and governor, and Green for president, in Delaware. Even then I had vague contrarian politics, but knew I didn't like our current stodgy system. My education eased me rightward, and 9/11 mugged me and turned me into a war hawk. In 2002, I voted Republican for every office but governor, where I cast a Democratic vote - this was in Illinois, where the Republicans had left greasy stains on the state house and needed to be kicked out. Up through most of 2003 I supported George W. Bush for president. If this were Europe and he'd dissolved the government to call elections in, say, January 2004, I'd have voted for him. But around that time it was becoming clear to anyone who paid attention that Bush was bungling the two most important duties of the executive: security and fiscal solvency. Boring stuff first - Bush had busted the budget. On the assumption that tax cuts would stimulate consumer confidence and help small businesses, Bush and the congress passed cuts in 2001 that did away with the projected budget surplus. This was a good idea for the time. Although the economy was stumbling (job losses had started in September 2000), stimulating growth with tax cuts was sound policy. September 11th changed many things, but it did not change the Bush administration's economic ideas. Since then the GOP majority has passed two more tax cuts and proposed extensive revisions to the tax system while at the same time growing government spending. The result has been a fast-rising debt, trade deficits, and an outlook sustained by foreign loans. At a time when Europe and China are offering stable currencies, the value of our currency has wavered. The administration has shown no signs of addressing or correcting this, or indicating it might be a problem, and even the expected and unexpected costs of foriegn adventures have had no impact on their program of tax cuts. We're told that raising taxes - any taxes - or even failing to make the tax cuts permanent will "kill the recovery," when the real worry should be what effect long-term deficits will have on our role in a globalizing, competitive economy. This segues to my other worry. The war on Iraq, as Paul Wolfowitz has admitted, was predicated on three goals. The first was removing the threat of Saddam Hussein, who possessed and sought weapons of mass destruction. The second was creating a democratic bulwark in the Middle East that, unlike the current regime, would not support terrorism. The third was removing Saddam because he was a brutal monster. Now, the first and second pegs of the reasons for war have been obliterated. The worthwhile humanitarian goal of liberating 20 million Arabs - which I've been in favor of my whole life - has been achieved with the corresponding effects of isolating the United States from traditional allies and leaving the future of Iraq uncertain. If it were October 2002 again, and we were rearguing the war, I would have said: Let's give the president the authority to conduct some brinksmanship this, but let's not invade unless we have proof of a threat and the 1991 coalition behind us. This is the position of John Kerry. The one that Bush campaigners and pundits make fun of for being "nuanced" or "shifting." I think it would have been the position of a President John McCain or a President George H.W. Bush. But the Bush administration, for pretty obvious political reasons, refuses to reevaluate its reasoning and change the situation on the ground or among diplomats. The result is a less safe world. This is true statistically, as the State Dep.'s figures showed terrorism increasing from 2002 to 2003. It is true anecdotally, as one of my best friends has been put in danger twice when bombs went off near embassies in the Central Asian country she's living in. On the merits of the issues that matter to me, I disagree with George Bush and agree with John Kerry. Moreover, I've been disgusted at how discredited partisan ax-grinders have smeared Kerry for his conduct in 1968 and 1971, when he fought in Vietnam and then came back to participate in a controversial anti-war group. They've tried to say he's incapable in 2004 of leading troops - who are currently being terribly mislead - because he loudly opposed a war in 1971 and disgruntled some veterans in the process. To attack Kerry for this is as shortsighted and stupid as to attack Democrats - and people like me - for questioning George Bush's leadership in the war on terror. It won't rectify a thing for the veterans of that war, but it will prolong the suffering of the veterans of this one. I disagree with Kerry and the Democrats on pretty much every other issue of substance. If I could put Kerry in charge of foreign policy and let Bush choose our judges, I would. But transient social and legal issues are not as important as our safety and our continued solvency as a superpower. Those are the issues this year, and that's why I'm voting for John Kerry.|W|P|109548589994313006|W|P||W|P|9/14/2004 02:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|More Nader bullshit This is probably the most ridiculous Nader spin you'll read all week.
Curley argued that Nader cost Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore the election in 2000 by drawing away valuable votes from the Democrats. A volunteer replied that Nader would have won the election using the Condorset (sic) method, an obscure voting system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.
This is untrue. John Tabin applies the Condorcet method as follows:
If all Gore voters' preference was Gore, Nader, Bush, all Nader voters' preference was Nader, Gore, Bush, and all Bush voters' preference was Bush, Gore, Nader, the winner would be Gore (Nader wins match-up with Bush; Gore wins match-up with Nader; Gore wins match-up with Bush). To believe that Nader would win a Condorcet election, you must believe that Bush voters would prefer Nader to Gore
The idea that Nader could have appealed to more Americans than any major party candidate - and would have, if the rules were fair - is a fanciful lie. Nader's popularity, according to the Gallup polls in 2000, was around 40% positive, 34% negative. It's decreased dramatically since then - in March, Gallup pegged him at at 30% positive, 48% negative. In 1954, Joe McCarthy's favorable rating was 35%. |W|P|109518938045299211|W|P||W|P|9/13/2004 01:34:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|It Must Be (a) Summer (Movie Roundup!) Despite the effort of Hollywood to poison me with bullshit, I see lots of movies. Here's the stuff I saw this summer. THE GREAT Spider-Man 2 For the reasons everyone else has expressed, from Roger Ebert to the Eltingville Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Club. I mean, holy shit - a smart and ironic comic book blockbuster! When's the last time you saw that? Not counting X-Men 2. Napoleon Dynamite Not "smart and funny," like most movies of this stripe, but "stupid and funny." Like some mysterious alien race found the ruins of an American high school movie and tried to reconstruct it. THE GOOD Super Size Me and Fahrenheit 9/11 I'm a documentary whore, and enjoyed these despite their premises. Open Water Excellent in how its structure stripped away all the horror cliches that usually eliminate tension. Not that great on its other merits. THE OVERRATED Shrek 2 Cute, but trite and rote. I mean, a CGI Joan Rivers at the red carpet? Wow, that's so ... 1998. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azerbaijenikanistan Hey, let's play the ending of the movie TWICE! THE UNDERRATED The Chronicles of Riddick Mostly because everyone claims it's the worst movie ever made. Actually, there's as much awesome imagery and twisty fight scenes as two summer movies. It's just really dumb. THE BAD Anchorman Just a lot of wasted potential. Did anyone think the "Afternoon Delight" singalong was funny? THE HORRIBLE Van Helsing I don't know how you can take $170 million and three Universal monsters and make a piece of shit, but, hey Stephen Sommers has skills. THE STUFF I WANTED TO SEE BUT HAVEN'T YET AND WILL CATCH ON DVD Garden State Honestly, I got turned off by the trailers swooning over Zach Braff's moony face as Natalie Portman learned how to love him. Everyone says it's good, though. Before Sunset Richard Linklater = automatic interest. Hero Who doesn't love paens to Chinese authoritarianism? Not me, fucker! Alien vs. Predator and Exorcist: The Beginning I'm not that smart. |W|P|109505228547693030|W|P||W|P|9/13/2004 01:33:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Delinking, pt II Andrew Sullivan's gone for now. Maybe he'll be less hysterical after Nov. 2. |W|P|109505006331516417|W|P||W|P|9/12/2004 09:13:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Planet Tim Graham Tim complains that Time didn't ask Kerry hard questions. A hard question, in his mind, would be "In your 1971 Senate testimony, you said American soldiers committed atrocities daily with the full knowledge of their commanders. Will you apologize for that?" He forgets that Time's Bush interview was possibly even softer. Personally, I want someone to ask him, "in July of last year," you said 'There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us [in Iraq]. My answer is bring them on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.' Do you regret saying that?"|W|P|109504995669476888|W|P||W|P|9/12/2004 08:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Delinked I've removed Instapundit from my blogroll. It just seems like he's stopped linking to interesting stories and become a full-time Bush hack. Hopefully, he'll get back to serious topics after the election. |W|P|109503733137993002|W|P||W|P|9/12/2004 08:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Kerry's pissed Two things are making me feel like Kerry has figured out how to win. The first is this AP story.
Just as GOP efforts to question Kerry's military record in Vietnam helped revive nagging questions about Bush's service in the Air National Guard, the "flip flop" attacks on Kerry could boomerang against an incumbent running on his record and reputation as a straight talker.

"The guy who is the ultimate flip and flop is this sitting president," said Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record) of Delaware. (snip)

If he is a flip-flopper, Kerry has company.

_In 2000, Bush argued against new military entanglements and nation building. He's done both in Iraq.

_He opposed a Homeland Security Department, then embraced it.

_He opposed creation of an independent Sept. 11 commission, then supported it. He first refused to speak to its members, then agreed only if Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) came with him.

_Bush argued for free trade, then imposed three-year tariffs on steel imports in 2002, only to withdraw them after 21 months.

_Last month, he said he doubted the war on terror could be won, then reversed himself to say it could and would.

_A week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush said he wanted Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) "dead or alive." But he told reporters six months later, "I truly am not that concerned about him." He did not mention bin Laden in his hour-long convention acceptance speech.

"I'm a war president," Bush told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Feb. 8. But in a July 20 speech in Iowa, he said: "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."

Boom. By having top supporters (like Biden) push this line, Kerry is making it clear he wants to attack Bush's "I'm a steady leader, and I never fuck up" strategy. I still think the best way of doing it would involve running footage of Bush's dumb on-camera gaffes in TV ads, but this is a start. And so is this Time interview, in which he seems to have mastered, finally, the talking points jujitsu.
I will fight a more effective war on terror, and over the next weeks the American people will see the phoniness of the Bush efforts.

They haven't done port security; they're cutting cops; they haven't taken assault weapons off the streets. Firehouses are opened in Iraq; they're shut in the United States. Port security: 95% of our containers come in, and they are uninspected.

<>The fact is that these guys talk tough, but they haven't done what is necessary to make America as safe as it can be. There have been more terrorist incidents around the world in the last months than any time in recent history. Whole parts of Iraq are under the control of terrorists, and they never were. Afghanistan is exporting drugs like opium like never before, and whole parts of the country are under the control of the Taliban and terrorists again.
Phony and unsafe: If Kerry paints Bush like that, he can neutralize his lead on national security/terrorism. I think most observers missed the point of Kerry's post-RNC speech. The substance wasn't the chief lesson. The chief lesson was that Kerry is willing to take unthought-of tacks in campaigning and challenge Bush on everything he says, unlike Al Gore (pace SNL: "I uh-GREE with Governor Bush."). This leads me to believe that when he finally shares a debate poduium with Bush, he'll use his time to point out Bush's failures and flip-flops and wait for the media to repeat them. |W|P|109503689122593473|W|P||W|P|9/12/2004 05:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Typical So, yesterday I'd expected to go into the city early to have lunch with a friend who'd come into town. She didn't return my calls, so I assumed it was cancelled, and settled on going to a concert tonight and hanging out with another friend Sunday night. Today I wake up late, having gone comatose after the concert. Three messages on my phone. I check them at 4:55. 1:) From Friend 1, 1 pm. She had car trouble and wasn't here yesterday. Want to have an "early dinner" tonight? 2:) From Friend 2, 2:50 pm. He crashed his bike and was in the hospital. Can't hang out tonight! 3:) From my parents, 4:50. Had I contacted any of the people who owe me money? Call back. The point isn't so much the misfortunes of the friends. The point is the hilarious timing of events. |W|P|109502406794153691|W|P||W|P|9/11/2004 03:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|9/11 I started the first version of my blog in June of 2001. I didn't know what Blogger was, much less moveable type. So I took a page from my role model Casey Newton and created an html document with tables, and posted a new row of the table each day. Thus, when the planes were hijacked, I had a blog, and I posted my immediate thoughts. I even colored the table black to mark the occasion. What I said then has been lost to the ether, or, if you want to be crude about it, to the dark recesses of my reformatted hard drive. But I remember what I felt. I wanted America to hunt down the terrorist organizations and states that had sponsored this and publicly execute those responsible. I pondered long and hard about how we should kill Osama bin Laden. And I really launched into all the material I could find on Islamic terrorism. I read Ahmed Rashid's "Taliban" and Robert Kaplan's "Soldiers of God" and a bunch of online resources of dubious quality. I can still remember the mood that brought all this on. It was like being 11 and psyching yourself up to go meet a bully at the basketball court at 3 o'clock. It wasn't insurmountable - I even bought Bob Dylan's new album on 9/11. But it was everpresent for months, and I can still fall into that mindset when I want to. This is the first Sept. 11 since then that I haven't felt safe. What's changed since 2003? Richard Clarke, mostly. I was glad that George Bush was going after terror networks in 2001, but now, I think someone with a smarter, less myopic strategy would do better. And that's it. |W|P|109493063878705575|W|P||W|P|9/10/2004 03:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|"A different set of rules" This is pretty indefensible.
Bush forced a smile as the seven interrupted his speech in waves. As the crowd drowned them out with chants of "Four More Years," the demonstrators were led roughly from the room by event ushers as a few attendees shouted "traitors." Outside, plainclothes Secret Service agents, joined by Blake Gottesman, Bush's personal aide, circled the demonstrators.

One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that "the press is having a field day" with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a "different set of rules" for reporters who did not seek out the activists.

Glenn is usually so concerned about the crushing of dissent. Where is he on this one?

|W|P|109484631404427080|W|P||W|P|9/10/2004 01:38:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|About face(s) The single most ironic aspect of this campaign is that George Bush - an inarticulate guy prone to misstatements and gaffes - is winning points by using footage, in his ads, of John Kerry speaking. I'm including the Swift Boat guys ("cut off limbs," "I don't know how many I threw back") in this analysis. The thing is - Bush has, on camera, said incredibly dumb things since 9/11. He has said we're going to win the war on terror, then said "I don't think you can win it." He's said "I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence." He has said very stupid, very wrong things. So why the fuck am I not seeing Kerry/Edwards ads using this footage? I wonder if anti-Bush types are so familar with Bush's gaffes and mistakes that they assume the rest of the country knows about them, too. There's a lot to that - the Nation magazine types have been shouting about Bush's idiocy since, Christ, 1999 or so. But it is one thing to say "the president has made wrong choices," as Kerry is, and another to show him awkwardly changing his positions after he's fucked stuff up. Do that. For Christ's sake. |W|P|109483842713217243|W|P||W|P|9/10/2004 01:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Conversation with a young person, 2031 YOUNG PERSON: You voted in the 2004 election? Wow! DAVE W: Well, it was actually pretty uneventful. YP: What are you talking about? What about the anthrax attack in New York? DW: No, that happened in 2005. YP: Oh. But countries were dropping the dollar to start trading in Euros, right? DW: Actually, that was more like 2006, early 2007. After the oil crisis. YP: So what was happening in 2004? DW: Well, it was pretty obvious that Iraq was becoming a fundamentalist state. Terrorists were raising hell pretty much everywhere - the ex-Soviet states, our European allies, South Asia. YP: Yeah, I know. But did Bush have a way to explain that stuff? DW: Um. Not really. He sort of kept saying "America and the world are safer." YP: Come on, that's bullshit! DW: Yeah, it was. But that's what he said. YP: And Kerry called him on it? DW: Not really. He sort of talked about health care and entitlements. YP: So he didn't challenge Bush and say America was less safe? DW: Nope. Not sure way. YP: But what were reporters doing about this? DW: Well, apparently veterans were angry with Kerry for opposing the Vietnam war in 1971. And Bush had dodged the draft. And apparently some people forged memos about Bush's national guard days. People were really obsessed with that. YP: ... DW: What? YP: Are you fucking kidding? What the fuck? The country was fucking under attack and terrorists were fucking striking all over the world and you people were fucking talking about what the fucking candidates had done in the fucking 1970s? DW: I don't have a witty response to this. UPDATE: This post originally contained a link to a state-run Egyptian paper. I have removed that link. Removed a dumb joke, too. |W|P|109483518729012614|W|P||W|P|9/07/2004 06:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ralph Nader lies Well, duh, but this one is particularly bad.
On Labor Day, neither the Republican or Democratic Party candidates focused on the crisis in our workforce—high levels of unemployment and underemployment, low wages, the right to organize undermined, no job security, losing competition to the world market.
What did John Kerry focus on?
Over the past four years, America has lost 1.8 million private sector jobs -- while giving tax breaks to companies that send jobs overseas.

Family income is down by more than $1,500, while health care, energy, and college costs have shot through the roof. Moreover, as America's deficit skyrockets -- threatening Social Security and Medicare -- U.S. taxpayers have been stuck with the bill for our war in Iraq.

...

This administration just changed the law to deny 6 million workers their right to overtime pay, making it harder for them to pay their bills and get ahead.

In addition, they have withdrawn a rule that would have prevented many workers from exposure to tuberculosis. And they've raised the level of coal dust allowed in mines, a leading cause of black lung disease in our coal miners.

At the same time, many businesses are unable to grow and create new jobs because they simply can't afford to pay for the health insurance their employees need.
Politicians are liars. Ralph Nader is a politician. Not a very good one, though. |W|P|109459797660147099|W|P||W|P|9/07/2004 11:22:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Prediction It is 11:22 and this Howard Kurtz column is online. I predict that Eric Alterman will blog on it, make a joke about Kurtz's "conflict of interest," agree, then claim he said it first. |W|P|109457060460823785|W|P||W|P|9/03/2004 03:04:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Katz on Bushes Read. |W|P|109419508155092491|W|P||W|P|9/03/2004 01:09:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Flash At present, C-Span one is playing Bush's 2004 convention speech and C-Span two is playing his 2000 convention speech. I'm surprised. He's worlds better now. UPDATE: I get it now. The 2000 speech was the source of Will Ferrell's impression. Bush stood as if his spine was nailed to a telephone poll, squinted, and rotated his head side to side slowly, like one of those trick holes at a mini golf course. Now he's got those ducking, grinning, and hand-chopping mannerisms that the Daily Show video editors are so in love with. |W|P|109418823682772383|W|P||W|P|9/02/2004 03:33:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Buy Reason magazine! If you see it, buy the new Reason magazine with Kerry and Bush on the cover - the October issue. I have a feature story on the return of the nanny university and the deathbed wheeze of in loco parentis. You should be buying Reason every month, of course. |W|P|109415375837654373|W|P||W|P|9/02/2004 03:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Bad metaphor alert From David at OxBlog:
Cheney had the voice of a rock.
The wings of a llama! The gills of a game hen! |W|P|109415360734617119|W|P||W|P|9/02/2004 02:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rank Last night's Daily Show was terrifically anti-Bush, which doesn't bother me. What did grate was a segment by Stephen Colbert that attempted to goof on Michael Steele. There's no transcript or video up yet (because the show is so groundbreaking and important), but the gag was simple: Steele holds the highest office of any black official, and it's the liutenant governorship of Maryland! Ha, ha! So what black democrat holds the highest office? Well, there are no black governors. There are no black Democratic liutenant governors. In fact, Michael Steele is the highest-ranking black elected official in America. Even after Barack Obama is elected, Steele will be the highest-ranking official in a state (as opposed to federal) office. The highest ranking black Democrat at the moment is apparently Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Now, come on - that's fucking hysterical. Isn't it, Daily Show audience? |W|P|109415156388260171|W|P||W|P|9/02/2004 01:05:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shawn Macomber gets Benjamined! Shawn's account of his stupid (I was going to say "harrowing," but it was really just stupid) arrest is up. FEEL the tolerance of his cellmates! |W|P|109410166987751227|W|P||W|P|9/01/2004 10:44:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Medea Benjamin needs a new damn hobby First this. Then this. Since she's one of the two or three shrillest human beings alive, I'm surprised no one's developed some sort of voice-based security to keep her out of these adult parties. |W|P|109405307617099635|W|P||W|P|9/01/2004 12:50:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Why I love Dkos It took less than 10 minutes for a moron to be proven wrong. UPDATE: I may have to redirect my "moron" statement.
There was no presidential debate in [the 1968] election. Nixon never debated Humphrey.
This is supposed to disprove Arnold Schwarznegger, who said "The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV." You know, Bush and Kerry have not debated yet. By this reasoning, I have not yet watched the Bush-Kerry presidential race on TV. And neither have you, you lying liar who lies. |W|P|109401430824212202|W|P||W|P|