Political MoJo

Ann Coulter's Voting Violation! And Misuse of the Word "Ironic"!

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 10:35 PM EST

Stop the presses! The Palm Beach Post reports that:

An alleged voting violation by GOP pundit and bestselling author Ann Coulter will be investigated by Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer's office.
Arthur Anderson, Palm Beach County's elections supervisor, said today that he would refer the accusation that Coulter voted knowingly in the wrong precinct Feb. 7 in a town of Palm Beach election to the state attorney "within 48 hours."
Anderson said that Coulter, since the allegations surfaced, made "efforts to distract and divert focus on the process regarding this complaint."
"I did express my frustration to the state attorney in a recent meeting and warned him I may need his services," Anderson said.
Ironically, Anderson said that Coulter's voting rights would not be rescinded for next week's election.

Ok, so that's not "ironic," just like rain on your wedding day or a black fly in your Chardonnay or a free ride when you've already paid aren't ironic either. These are all merely unfortunate (or perhaps, in the case of Coulter, bureaucratic.

Misuse (or abuse) of exclamation points in blog posts is, however, perfectly acceptable. Dontcha think?

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There's No Apologizing in Politics!

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 1:30 PM EST

To dip briefly into the Botchgate fray, when Bush called for an apology from Kerry during a campaign stop in Georgia yesterday it marked the tenth time that the word "apology" has been used in official speeches or remarks by the President and VP in their nearly six years in office. ("Apologize" shows up 24 times, mostly when the press apologize for interrupting, Bush for inconveniencing folks with his bike riding, etc.) Bush has always ducked from apologizing or taking any onus where things go awry, in Iraq and elsewhere. It's not like he hasn't been asked:

April 13, 2004 - Question re 9/11 Intelligence:

Q Two weeks ago, a former counterterrorism official at the NSC, Richard Clarke, offered an unequivocal apology to the American people for failing them prior to 9/11. Do you believe the American people deserve a similar apology from you, and would you be prepared to give them one?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, I can understand why people in my administration anguished over the fact that people lost their life. I feel the same way. I mean, I'm sick when I think about the death that took place on that day. And as I mentioned, I've met with a lot of family members and I do the best I do to console them about the loss of their loved one. As I mentioned, I oftentimes think about what I could have done differently. I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack.
Here's what I feel about that. The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.

April 6, 2006 - Response to a Question re NSA Wiretapping:


THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to describe that decision I made about protecting this country. You can come to whatever conclusion you want. The conclusion is I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program, and I'll tell you why. We were accused in Washington, D.C. of not connecting the dots, that we didn't do everything we could to protect you or others from the attack. And so I called in the people responsible for helping to protect the American people and the homeland. I said, is there anything more we could do.

June 14 2006 – Question re Plamegate:


Q Mr. President, when you ran for office for the first time, you said you would hold the White House to a higher ethical standard. Even if Karl Rove did nothing illegal, I wonder whether you can say now whether you approve of his conduct in the CIA leak episode, and do you believe he owes Scott McClellan or anyone else an apology for misleading them?
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate the job that the prosecutor did. I thought he conducted himself well in this investigation. He took a very thorough, long look at allegations and rumors. And I, obviously, along with others in the White House, took a sigh of relief when he made the decision he made. And now we're going to move forward. And I trust Karl Rove, and he's an integral part of my team.


Katrina, Iraq, the list goes on. No apologies.

Democratic Ad Challenges "These Are the Stakes"

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 1:29 PM EST

Countering the Republican National Committee's now-infamous TV ad quoting Osama bin Laden, Democrats today began airing a television spot arguing that the Iraq occupation has spread the military too thin, increased terrorism and diverted attention from seeking bin Laden's capture. It features arguments by three Iraq veterans—one of them an amputee—and retired General Wesley Clark, each of whom repeat the words, "because of Iraq."

The 30-second ad comes 11 days after Republicans began showing a 60-second spot suggesting the GOP was the only party capable of combating terrorism. To the sound of a ticking clock it featured a sepia-toned montage of terrorist leaders and their underlings carrying weapons, burning things and kicking people. It concluded: "These are the stakes." (The ad mirrored President Lyndon Baines Johnson's Cold-War-era "Daisy" ad, which helped re-elect him during the Vietnam War. That ad juxtaposed a girl plucking a daisy against an exploding nuclear bomb, saying, "These are the stakes to make a world in which all God's children can live or go into the dark.")

Sponsored by the VoteVets PAC, today's Democratic retort builds on the party's efforts to decouple the Iraq war from the War on Terror. It closes with Clark standing in front of a replay of the bin Laden ad like a well-dressed schoolteacher. "So, if you see commercials, telling you to be afraid of terrorism," he says, "remember, it's because of Iraq."

Meanwhile, the RNC moved on to more fertile national security terrain today, replacing the bin Laden ad on the front page of its website with a new spot calling on Sen. John Kerry to apologize for his comment yesterday that a poor education leads "you (to) get stuck in Iraq." Kerry said he'd meant to imply that Bush was uneducated, but the Republican ad suggested he was impugning rank-and-file soldiers—it juxtaposed the comment with quotes from Republicans lauding the troops.

Don't Call It Civil War - OK, How About Chaos?

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 12:14 PM EST

Just about everything you need to know about the horrendous state of Iraq is captured in this PowerPoint slide, obtained by the New York Times. Here it is in a nutshell:

iraqchart.gif

What bunch of freedom-hating doom-and-gloomers put this assessment out? None other than the U.S. Central Command.

I Had My Bible and I Had My Gun

| Wed Nov. 1, 2006 11:21 AM EST

Conrad Burns, running behind in Montana's Senate race, is the beneficiary of an advertising campaign by the National Rifle Association -- 7 billboards; 4,143 radio ads on 88 stations; 1,824 cable tv ads; and inserts in 11 newspapers.

Nationwide, the NRA is all over this election. In a video ad running on Newsmax, the NRA describes how victims of hurricane Katrina had their guns forcefully yanked out of their hands by bullying cops. One elderly woman who was trying to protect her dogs says she was slammed against the wall and put in a headlock by the invading police when they saw she was clutching a pistol in one hand. Then there's the little old African-American minister woman who was plenty put out when the cops came to her house. "Why come and get my gun?'' she says in the ad. "I am a good citizen. What are you worried about me for? I am a widow.I am 65 and I am here by myself.''

But she wasn't scared: "I had my Bible and I had my gun.''

Michigan Proposition is Ward Connerly's Latest Assault on Affirmative Action

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 6:41 PM EST

Michigan's Proposition 2 (a dead ringer for California's Proposition 209 which passed in 1996) is in a tight spot in the polls with only a week to go.

The proposition would ban any affirmative action programs that "give preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin." Also known as the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" the proposition's campaign is funded by Ward Connerly, the same man responsible for the California proposal and is headed by Jennifer Gratz
plaintiff in the 2003 University of Michigan Supreme Court case, which upheld the school's use of race as a factor in admissions while also outlawing their formal points system in making such decisions.

Conservative students on the Michigan campus have been actively supporting the measure while the National Bar Association, the UAW, the ACLU and both the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates oppose it.

Connerly, who is African American, has spent $500,000 on the Michigan campaign, and has been on a zealous crusade to end affirmative action programs for more than a decade. As he told the New York Times, "When my toes turn up, that's when I'll stop fighting this."

Poll numbers suggest many in Michigan haven't made up their minds yet. An October 18 Detroit Free Press poll showed 41% in favor, 44% opposed and 15% undecided.

Should the measure pass California could be a window into the future, where numbers of Latino and African students in the state's University of California system have dropped significantly since 1997 (the year after Prop 209 passed). At UC Berkeley this year only 3% of the entering freshman class was African American and at UCLA the number was 2%, the lowest in 30 years.

—Amaya Rivera

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No Sex Please, We're Consenting Adults

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 5:55 PM EST

It's not news that the Bush administration doesn't want teenagers to think about sex, much less do the deed. (It's spent $1 billion on abstinence-only programs already—see "Virginity for Sale" in the current issue of Mother Jones.) But now it's encouraging grown adults not to go there, either. From today's USA Today:

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007. [snip]

But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children. [snip]

"The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,' " Horn said. "The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence."

Certainly, a 23-year-old can't be trusted to figure out contraception. And, let's not forget that avoiding sex before marriage will save you not just from premature parenthood but a host of other ills (to quote one federally-funded abstinence curriculum):

"Infertility, isolation, jealousy, poverty, heartbreak, substance abuse, AIDS, pregnancy, cervical cancer, genital herpes, unstable long-term commitments, depression, embarrassment, meaningless wedding, sexual violence, personal disappointment, suicide, feelings of being used, loss of honesty, loneliness, loss of personal goals, distrust of others, pelvic inflammatory disease, loss of reputation, fear of pregnancy, disappointed parents, loss of self-esteem..."

Can't wait to see the educational materials that will be coming out of the Don't Sleep With Anyone Before 30 campaign.

Happy Halloween: Scary Election Stories

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 5:24 PM EST

One week until the election and things are getting scary. Yesterday, the New York Times had a full-page ad featuring a creepy vampire peering over the shoulder of an unsuspecting woman at the voting booth. Maybe the creepiest part was that the poor woman looked like an innocent, naïve and vulnerable librarian-type.

The ad was warning voters to watch out for election fraud, report anything suspicious and not accept provisional ballots. But are voters really too naïve? How easy is it to actually rig an election? Well, one website lays it all out in a detailed list titled "How to: Do Election Fraud, Steal Elections or Fix a Vote." The document was posted on a site about database administration created by computer tech expert named Steven Hauser. It is a work in progress that makes some disturbing statements:

"A simple PC and a database program or spread sheet is enough technology to sort targets by vulnerability or effectiveness for attack. Public available data files such as public voting records from the Secretary of State, (about $45 for the data set from the State of Minnesota) and the US Census are enough data to fine tune a set of targets figure out vulnerabilities and organize subsets of targets by method of attack."

What method of attack, you ask? Well, they range from "Inserting Security Problems with Voting Rule Manipulation" (essentially consisting of challenging voters' identities and records), to the more traditional method of gerrymandering.

If you want something that will give you a good scare tonight, pause that Scream 3 DVD and check out this scary how to list.

--Caroline Dobuzinskis

Menendez in GOP Crosshairs

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 4:45 PM EST

New polls show Bob Menendez hanging on to a thin lead in the New Jersery senate race, but Tom Kean,Jr. is attacking non-stop, now with more backing from the National Republican Senatorial campaign in D.C. A new ad, sponsored by the committee, once again hammers Menendez on corruption. A CNN poll is giving the Democrat a 12 point lead among registered voters and 7 points among likely voters. Nevertheless, the GOP clearly sees the possibility of a win here. They have been diverting money from other key races, such as in the Ohio senate battle, where they have concluded a loss is inevitable. The new money is meant to enhance Kean's image in south Jersey.

Menendez insists he's not under investigation and that Kean is a Bush puppet. "I don't think the national Republican Party would spend $3½ million if it didn't believe at the end of the day that Tom Kean Jr. will be a vote for the president and his policies," Menendez is quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile Kean is off on a new attack, ripping Menendez for giveaways to illegal aliens. In a hysterical ad, young Tom shrieks: "Stop Bob Menendez from giving billions in social security benefits to illegal aliens."

--James Ridgeway

Global Warming Compared to Y2K, the "Killer African Bee Scare"

| Tue Oct. 31, 2006 2:39 PM EST

WVII and WFVX, two local TV stations in Bangor, Maine, will no longer cover stories on global warming. The general manager of the station, Michael Palmer, declared that only when "Bar Harbor is underwater…" will they do stories on the subject. Sounds like a good philosophy, right? In an email to his staff, Palmer wrote that the stations will no longer cover global warming because:

"a) we do local news, b) the issue evolved from hard science into hard politics and c) despite what you may have heard from the mainstream media, this science is far from conclusive."

But won't it be local news when Bar Harbor is underwater? Maybe Palmer should read the latest issue of Mother Jones, where Julia Whitty talks about 12 tipping points in the global ecosystem triggered by global warming, all of which have local impacts. Plus, he can add to his reading list the Mother Jones article last year which broke the story on ExxonMobil's funding of climate change deniers, the ones who agree with him that the "science is far from conclusive." Palmer went on to write that "global warming stories [are] in the same category as 'the killer African bee scare' from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone's computer was going to self-destruct." A little extra reading defininitely can't hurt.