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Step off, old man!
Sunday, 25 July 2004
Repugs for Nader
This is from www.talkingpointsmemo.com and pretty much sums up the Nader campaign.

"From ABCNews ...

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's quixotic presidential campaign says it submitted about 5,400 signatures to get on the Michigan ballot, far short of the required number of 30,000. Luckily for him, approximately 43,000 signatures were filed by Michigan Republicans on his behalf, more than meeting the requirement.
Speaks for itself.

Idiots ..."


Posted by brettdavey at 8:37 AM EDT
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Friday, 23 July 2004
Fox relentless against Bush
This is from www.salon.com. These clowns from Fox must think people have rocks in their heads. On second thought, that does describe the typical Fox viewer.

(July 23, 2004) --Under continued scrutiny for the way its newscasts are tainted by a plainly partisan slant, some inside the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel are fighting back, insisting FNC doesn't go easy on Republicans. A favorite talking point has become how it was the Fox News Channel that first broke the embarrassing news, during the closing week of the 2000 campaign, that George W. Bush had been arrested for drunken driving in 1976 when he was 30 years old -- an arrest Bush had never come clean about.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes crowed about the Bush DUI scoop in a recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, where he fended off criticism of FNC's news standards. And this week, FNC's chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, made the same point to the New York Observer, which noted that he "was the reporter who broke the Bush D.U.I. story." Said Cameron: "My relationships with Republicans in the 2000 campaign didn't stop Fox from reporting the D.U.I. story that Karl Rove said cost George Bush the popular vote."


The problem is that both Ailes and Cameron have had to rewrite history to make their DUI claim stick, because the tale of who broke the story is not as simple as they'd like to spin it. And the notion that the FNC crew -- Ailes, Cameron, Brit Hume, Tony Snow, Bill O'Reilly, etc. -- was hounding the Bush camp at the end of the election campaign and asking hard questions about Bush's drunken-driving past is pure fantasy. Plus, once the DUI story leaked out, FNC reporters, anchors and guests spent days spinning furiously on Bush's behalf in an attempt to downplay the story.

The truth is that it was a resourceful 27-year-old reporter at a local Fox affiliate, WPXT-TV in Portland, Maine, who uncovered the DUI story, not the Fox News Channel in New York or Washington, the partisan national network that's the focus of Robert Greenwald's new documentary, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." Nobody associated with "Outfoxed" or elsewhere participating in the media debate has suggested that local Fox news teams in places like Bakersfield, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; or Boise, Idaho operate under Republican marching orders as they cover arsons, car crashes and zoo openings. So it's not that unusual that an enterprising reporter, operating off the FNC reservation as it were, could play a starring role in the DUI story. Not surprisingly, Ailes and Cameron are now conveniently trying to pretend that it was Sean Hannity's "Fair and Balanced" Fox News, those bold seekers of the truth, who unearthed the damaging dirt on Bush that almost cost him the election.

Here's how the DUI story came to light in 2000. Covering a local arson trial at the Portland county courthouse on Nov. 2, reporter Erin Fehlau was tipped off by a local cop that a judge and attorney had been overheard discussing a long-ago drunken-driving conviction against Bush on file in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fehlau soon spotted the attorney in question, a Democratic activist, and asked him about the DUI rumor. He gave Fehlau the docket number of Bush's arrest record and Fehlau did the rest -- obtaining a copy of the arrest record, confirming the story with the secretary of state's office and interviewing the officer who had arrested Bush.

Only after Fehlau nailed down the story did Cameron and the FNC team enter the picture. As a reporter with the Bush campaign, it was Cameron's job to get a comment or confirmation from the Bush team. At 6 o'clock that night, he got confirmation and Fox News aired the story.

But if Fox News was proud of its scoop, as it suddenly professes to be, the FNC team in New York and Washington sure had a strange way of showing it: They immediately set out to dismiss or dismantle it.


Fox host O'Reilly: "It is a non-issue in my opinion. The DUI incident has no relevance to the campaign."

Fox anchor Hume: "My sense is that there's no indication it hurt anybody or helped anybody in the polling. I think it's a wash."

Fox correspondent Cameron: "A lot of people are saying, '24 years ago? We knew the governor has already disclosed his alcohol problem. What's the big deal?'"

Fox guest Matt Drudge: "We're talking tonight about a story about a guy pulled over for driving too slow with a little too many beers. This is amateur chump stuff."

Fox guest Mara Liasson: "I think it's going to have little effect on George W. Bush's chances for the White House. It's not a bombshell."

Fox guest Mort Kondracke: "I think this is a minor story."

Despite Fox's uniform optimism, exit polling later indicated that the drunken-driving revelation did severe damage to Bush's campaign, halting any momentum he'd built down the stretch and allowing Vice President Gore to virtually run the table on tossup states come Election Day.

When not dismissing its supposed scoop, the FNC team was busy trying to deflect the confirmed account of Bush's drunken driving onto Gore.

Snow: "I guess David Maraniss has in his book that [Gore] smoked [marijuana] more than 200 times. And one would presume maybe he got behind the wheel one of those times?"

Fox reporter Jim Angle: "And one of the speculations, of course, is whether Gore himself has ever been arrested."

Snow: "The Gore campaign said it had nothing to do with it, didn't know about it. Does everybody buy that?

Fox guest Rush Limbaugh: "It is the Gore campaign. They're behind it."

Despite the conspiracy theories, there was never any evidence to support the idea that the Gore campaign played any role in leaking the DUI story.

But defenders of Murdoch's empire might insist, if Fox News was truly in the bag for Bush, couldn't it have just sat on Fehlau's report? Not really. According to press accounts, she had already gone with the story locally. And as the Boston Herald noted, a handful of other reporters in the area got wind of the rumor the same day she did and were chasing it down. (Inexplicably, although a Portland Press Herald reporter had uncovered the Bush DUI story three months earlier, he was told by his editor that it was a nonstory.)

So the truth is that Fox News knew other news organizations had the story and had no choice but putting its locally produced story on the air. Which means one of journalism's great what-ifs remains unanswered: What if Ailes' Fox News Channel -- and not one of Fox's local affiliates -- had discovered exclusively, just days before the 2000 election, that Bush had been arrested for drunken driving? Would Fox News then have aired that damaging report?


Posted by brettdavey at 1:14 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 21 July 2004
Another Fox laugher...
If you don't read ww.mediamatters.org, you're missing something. Here's something from there today.

"On July 19, FOX News Live anchor Bob Sellers identified guest Penny Nance as a "suburban stay-at-home mom." The text displayed on the screen while Nance discussed "what issues matter most to suburban moms" and whether Senator John Kerry can "count on their votes" indicated only that Nance is a former "full time lobbyist" who "started a nonprofit organization for moms." Yet Nance, who said on FOX News Live that she is "clearly in favor of President [George W.] Bush," has made a career out of pushing conservative causes.

Penny Young Nance is the president of anti-abortion nonprofit organization Kids First Coalition, which "works to promote and encourage traditional families as well as to help those in crisis pregnancies." Nance is currently registered as a lobbyist for the group, according to filings with the Senate Office of Public Records. Nance is also a board member of the right-wing Christian women's organization Concerned Women for America, for which she formerly served as legislative director and lobbyist. Additionally, she is a former staff member of Representative Pat Swindall (R-GA). Nance also serves as president of Nance and Associates, a public policy and media consulting firm.

From the July 19 edition of FOX News Channel's FOX News Live:

SELLERS: So as John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, hit the road, one special group they'll be courting along the way: America's women voters. ... Let's talk about one particular group of women the Kerry and Bush campaigns will be focusing on: the suburban moms, the so-called "soccer moms," as some of them are referred to. What issues matter most to suburban moms, and can Kerry count on their votes? In our studio, we're joined by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen and president of the RasmussenReports.com; and, in Washington, Republican pollster David Winston, he's president of the Winston Group; and Penny Nance, a suburban stay-at-home mom. Forget these guys who do this all the time, lemme just ask you, Penny, what are your feelings here? Are the candidates talking about the right things and who are you inclined to vote for?

NANCE: Well, I'm clearly in favor of President [George W.] Bush because I believe he is the man that American women trust to protect our children and he cares about the safety and well-being of our children.

[...]Well, I talk to women all over the country, Bob, and I'm hearing women talk about the issues of safety and well-being of their kids. ... [T]hese safety issues are the things that American women are talking about on the playgrounds and on the soccer fields of America and we believe that President Bush hears us and cares about these issues. His Department of Justice is working on this, his homeland security is meeting evil head on."


Posted by brettdavey at 2:45 PM EDT
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Halliburton hijinks
Everyone knows the Boston Herald is the local equivalent of the National Enquirer, mixed with the right wing fanatacism of the Drudge Report. Still, even this is a little silly for them. They gave this story big play under the headline, "Kerry's Haliburton Hypocrisy"

"As Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign escalates charges over energy giant Halliburton's government deals and ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, there's one thing they don't mention - the Kerry family's own Halliburton payday. Teresa Heinz Kerry liked the Cheney-run Halliburton enough to buy and sell more than a $250,000 in company stock in 1996, netting a tidy profit of up to $15,000, records show."

Let me get this straight: Being CEO of the company (Cheney) is the same as owning stock in it. So I guess all those Enron stockholders were responsible for its collapse.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:15 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 20 July 2004
Rating the curses
The 24-hour news channels can be useful, especially when there is breaking news, but this flap about Arnold calling some legislators "girlie men" illustrates why these channels may be the worst thing that ever happened to journalism.

As a service to America (or more accurately, the three people reading this. Hi Mom!), I'm going to rate the last three flaps regarding language, involving the unlikely trio of Dick, Arnold, and Whoopi.

1) The F-bomb on the Senate floor.
Kind of a dick move. Say Gore had done the same thing to Orrin Hatch, what do you think the reaction would have been? Oh, the sanctity of the Senate. And another thing: I always laughed when Republicans said Clinton taught children that lying and promiscuity was OK. What's the lesson here? Tell anyone you like to fuck off and never, ever apologize.

News Value: B

1) Whoopi and the B-word.
What is wrong with these celebrities? They are so self-involved that they don't realize they are actually hurting the causes they support. Put it this way: is there anyone who was energized by Whoopi's comments? Is there anyone who was turned off? Thank you. Still, not a very big deal. Maybe I say that because I don't like Whoopi too much anyway. Although, I would like to say that "Rat Race" is on a near constant loop on TBS right now and that is one of the funniest movies of the last ten years. She's only part of the cast, but she's pretty good in it.

News value: C

1) Girlie men.
Were people outraged because a movie actor was stealing a line from a TV show? Whatever. I don't see this as anything. Sorry.

News Value: F



Posted by brettdavey at 8:20 AM EDT
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Monday, 19 July 2004
The Note, Outfoxed, and the election blowout
* If you're interested in politics, you should definitely read, ABC News' "The Note". It's a daily compilation from around the country. Just go to abcnews.com and then link to "politics."

There's a section today with questions that they want answered. This is the one that I think might be most pertinent: "Can you find five Americans in battleground states who voted for Al Gore in 2000 who say they will definitely vote for President Bush in 2004?"

Think about it. People that voted for Gore last time did so without knowing just how radical Bush would be if he was elected. He was thought of as a moderate. After the last three and a half years, can you imagine any of those people crossing over to vote for Bush? Not likely.

* I saw the documentary "Outfoxed" this weekend. I didn't see it at one of the house parties hosted by moveon.org. I bought it. It's well worth it, just as confirmation of the fraud that Fox News is. There's a great scene with Carl Cameron, Fox's chief political correspondent, sitting down to interview President Bush. Before the cameras are rolling, Cameron is telling Bush that his (Cameron's) wife is campaigning for Bush with the president's sister. That's nice to see. Fair and balanced, huh? And don't give me the "CNN is just as liberal" BS. A producer at CNN had a husband who was a lawyer on Gore's team and she was forbidden from doing any Gore stories during the election.

"Outfoxed" was the top selling DVD on Amazon this weekend. Pair that with the success of "Fahrenheit 9-11", Air America Radio, and loads of lefty books and you can easily shoot a hole in the conservative argument that liberal radio and TV personalities don't draw an audience. They don't because they're either not given a chance or the liberals that are acceptable are alien-looking dudes like Alan Colmes.

* Chris Matthews said something interesting over the weekend in regards to the closeness of the presidential election. He aired statistics that showed presidential races between incumbents and challengers are never very close. From Nixon to Ford to Carter to Reagan to Bush I to Clinton, incumbents either lost or won by a pretty sizable margin.

The winner was usually determined by what was going on with the economy or with a war. Since neither is going well for Bush, you'd think that was an ominous sign.


Posted by brettdavey at 11:02 AM EDT
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Friday, 16 July 2004
Tucker Carlson's compassionate conservatism
This was posted by Charles Pierce on Eric Alterman's website.

"In 1994, an eight-year old girl named Valerie Lakey was playing in a wading pool. She got caught in a defective drain. Her intestines were ripped from her body by the suction. She is now 17. She will have to be fed through a tube, 12 hours a day, for the rest of her life. In 1997, John Edwards won her family a $25 million judgment, of which he took a portion. The judgment helped jump-start his political career.

On the first day of last year, as part of his opening comments on Crossfire, this is how the incident was described by Tucker Carlson, whom public and private broadcasting networks tumble all over themselves to hire: "Four years ago, he (Edwards) was a personal-injury lawyer specializing in Jacuzzi cases."

Jacuzzi cases.

An eight-year old who got disemboweled.

Jacuzzi cases.

A child who'll have to be fed through a tube for as long as she lives.

Jacuzzi cases.

Now, I know it's a terrible thing when Whoopi Goldberg makes salacious fun of C-Plus Augustus's last name. I know that society may simply collapse. But here is a professional communicator at the top of his profession who, because he couldn't come up with anything else to say at the moment, smugly dispatches the tragedy of a child whose guts were ripped out. (Later in the same show, he told co-host James Carville to "Lighten up," about his comments.) It was an interesting evening -- not only should Tucker Carlson have lost every job in the professional media that he has, and not only did he lose forever any right to criticize anyone for intemperate speech, he at that moment should have been shunned by decent people for the rest of his sorry life.

Jacuzzi cases.

Christ."

This comment was added by www.bartcop.com, "I guess if that happened to Tucker Carlson's daughter, he'd say, "That's OK, I don't want to sue over something this trivial."

Posted by brettdavey at 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 July 2004 4:13 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 July 2004
How liberal are Kerry & Edwards?
All the right wing nuts keep harping on the National Journal's rankings of John Kerry and John Edwards. And they all use the same talking points, helpfully provided by the RNC.

Keep in mind that both Senators missed a lot of votes because of the presidential campaign. A more accurate rating would be their rating over the past five years. Here it is:

2003: Kerry - 1st (96.5) Edwards - 4th (94.5)
2002: Kerry - 9th (87.3) Edwards - 31st (63.0)
2001: Kerry - 11th (87.7) Edwards - 35th (68.2)
2000: Kerry - 20th (77) Edwards - 19th (80.8)
1999: Kerry - 16th (80.8) Edwards - 31st (72.2)

Average: Kerry - 12th (85.9) Edwards - 24th (75.7)

Just thought you'd like to know.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:52 PM EDT
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Scambaiters
Read this funny story about one of those e-mails from an African prince who wants to share his millions with you. I'm too much of a knucklehead to make a live link so just copy this and paste it into your address line:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3887493.stm

Here's the beginning of the story:

"Mike is a "scambaiter," dedicated to fighting back against those who send out the notorious 419 e-mails, promising untold wealth to anyone gullible or naive enough to disclose their bank details.
Mike asked us not to use his full name because he's dealing with some heavy cross-border criminals.

Those who fall for the 419 cons are hoping for millions. His group of volunteers at 419eater.com use their computer skills to fool the scammers, to disrupt their crimes, and to have some fun at the scammer's expense."

Read the rest of it. There are some funny pictures in there too.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:48 PM EDT
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Welcome to Bush's America
Is this really the America people want?

"A husband and wife who wore anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's Fourth of July appearance aren't going down without a fight: They will be represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union as they contest the trespassing charges against them Thursday morning in Charleston Municipal Court.

Police took Nicole and Jeff Rank away in handcuffs from the event, which was billed as a presidential appearance, not a campaign rally. They were wearing T-shirts that read, "Love America, Hate Bush."

Spectators who wore pro-Bush T-shirts and Bush-Cheney campaign buttons were allowed to stay.

"We weren't doing anything wrong," said Jeff Rank. The couple, who said they had tickets just like everybody else, said they simply stood around the Capitol steps with the rest of the spectators.

"We sang the national anthem," Rank said.

The Ranks hardly fit the image of rabble-rousers. Jeff Rank, 29, has a master's degree in oceanography. Nicole Rank, 30, has degrees in biological science and marine biology. They have been married for seven years.

Nicole Rank arrived in Charleston soon after the Memorial Day floods. She was working as deputy environmental liaison officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, making sure cities and counties obeyed federal environmental laws as they repaired roads and bridges.

After police arrested the Ranks, fingerprinted them and took their mug shots, FEMA told Nicole Rank she was no longer needed in West Virginia.

"I have not been fired per se," she said. "But I was released from this job. And when they release you from a job, you no longer get paid."

Posted by brettdavey at 2:39 PM EDT
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