Friday, October 15, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Bush campaign chair concedes Kerry won debates
I guess when you have the chairman of the President’s election campaign conceding that John Kerry gained ground
in the three debates the spin game as to who won is pretty much over.
Sen. John Kerry gained ground in the race for the White House in the trio of campaign debates, a top official in President Bush's campaign conceded Thursday...
All of the snap polls had Kerry in front on the third debate...
CNN/USA Today/Gallup: Kerry wins 53%-39%.
CBS News poll of uncommitted voters: Kerry wins 39%-25%
ABC News: Kerry wins 42%-41%, even though their audience leaned heavily Republican.
Democracy Corps: Kerry wins 41%-36%.
So the clear consensus is that John Kerry swept all three debates. Meanwhile the tidal wave of bad news for President Bush just keeps coming...
Blasts Kill Five in Baghdad's Green Zone
Trade Deficit Soars, Jobless Claims Up
AP: Report Finds Lavish Spending at TSA
Just imagine if that last one had happened during a Democratic administration! Imagine the outcry from conservatives.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Heroes of my youth
While cleaning out some old files recently I came across a list of people (I’ve always loved making lists) I had put together around the time when I was a freshman in college. I recall at the time I was listing people who I admired or who had influenced my thinking in some way. I wasn’t considering family or friends for my list, just famous people and historical figures. The list was an odd mix of childhood heros and current-day influences from history, entertainment, music, sports and literature. Here is the list in the order it was written:
Martin Luther King Jr.
Hans Kung (Catholic theologian)
Paul the Apostle
Ludwig Von Beethoven
Don Williams (country singer)
John F. Kennedy
Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game)
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Edgar Allen Poe
Bobby Jones (Philadelphia 76ers)
Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Lawrence Sullivan Ross
At some later point (in a different ink color) I made the following additions:
William Barrett Travis
Richard Adams (author of “Watership Down”)
Jackie Sherrill (Texas A&M football coach)
William F. Buckley
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Robert E. Howard (author of Conan the Barbarian)
Fritz Lieber (sci-fi/fantasy author)
Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey)
Chip Young (Blondie)
Cathy Guisewitz (Cathy)
Hershel Walker (Cowboys runningback)
Kevin Murray (Aggie quarterback early ‘80s)
Abigail Van Buren
Mike Scott (Houston Astros pitcher)
Douglas Adams (author of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”)
In a future post I will put together a list of the 100 people I would include on a similar list today.
Bush’s Howard Dean moment
The tide has definitely shifted against President Bush and I don’t see it going back his way before election day. The news reports continue to be all bad here on the day of the third debate: Stocks plummet as oil prices continue to climb
; five more U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.
Bush will try to turn the focus on John Kerry by calling him a liberal who will raise taxes, but with an 0-2 record in the debates so far it is not likely that Bush is going to make up any ground in a forum that looks mainly at domestic issues which are not his strong point.
Paul Krugman has already fact-checked in advance
most of the points that Bush is likely to raise during the debate.
The turnaround in fortunes for Kerry as evidenced by the polls that show him making up as much as 14 points since the first debate are reminiscent of his rapid ascent during the primary campaign after Howard Dean flamed out in Iowa. For Dean it was his post-Iowa “Yeaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!” speech that proved his undoing. For Bush, I believe it was his overall performance in the first debate, that will be remembered years from now as the point when his bubble burst. Since then the independent voters in all of the polls have been favoring Kerry.
I’m not ready to declare the race over at this point, but I’m not sure what it will take to turn things around for Bush. His was a failed presidency that did not accomplish the things it set out to do. There is no way they can put a positive spin on something like that with the daily rat-a-tat-tat of headlines such as the ones above.
Christopher Reeve and stem cell research
Christopher Reeve’s sudden death was very upsetting for many people including myself who admired his courage in dealing with his paralysis. Some people might have just faded from view and become symbols of pity. But Reeve’s star began to shine brighter after his accident and through sheer force of will he used his celebrity and his circumstances to become a cultural icon and a powerful voice for people with disabilities.
The timing of Reeve’s death has brought the issue of stem cell research
back to the forefront of the political debate. Many on the right are critical of Reeves for his advocacy of embryonic stem cell research in the belief that this somehow promotes and encourages the killing of unborn children. But this view is based on an extreme religious axiom that I and many other religious people reject. I don’t presume to know what God’s intentions are for each egg and sperm that meet but I do know that we are provided with hundreds of thousands of eggs
and countless millions of sperm with which to constantly replenish the human population.
Fertility clinics create thousands of human embryos every year as a matter of course that go unused and are ultimately thrown out. It seems a tragic waste to not take advantage of these stem cells to advance medical science in a way that could benefit thousands of people suffering from everything from spinal paralysis to Parkinson’s disease.
Michael Kinsley makes the point
that people who oppose embryonic stem cell research should by the same logic also be opposed to fertility clinics...
If stem-cell research is morally questionable, the procedures used in fertility clinics are worse. You cannot logically outlaw the one and praise the other.
Yet, as Kinsley points out, Bush praised fertility clinics in the same speech in which he banned stem cell research.
President Bush’s decision to ban federal funding for stem cell research is a serious impediment to the hopes of finding cures for these and many other ailments. The argument that privately-funded research can still go forward ignores the fact that most labs today rely on some degree of federal funding through NIH grants and other means. If a lab decides to pursue stem-cell research today it risks losing or being blocked from recieving any other federal funding even for unrelated work because of the complications and possibility of mixing funds.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Dan Cook's America
Recent polls have shown that something like 66 percent of Republicans believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11. That would explain why Bush still has a base of support in spite of all that has gone wrong during his administration.
Obviously Dan Cook, the former sports columnist for the Express-News, falls into that category. This Sunday, Cook wrote an op-ed
for the paper in which he lamented the fact that the country is not unified in its support for President Bush's foreign policy in Iraq. He recalls how when he was a child the country fell in behind FDR after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and supported his decision to take the country into WWII.
What Mr. Cook forgets or fails to see is that the country did fall in behind President Bush after 9-11 and supported his decision to go after al Qaeda and their state sponsors in Afghanistan. It was only after Bush decided to divert our military resources to go on an extended snipe hunt in Iraq that significant numbers of people started to turn against the president.
Imagine if FDR had pulled something like that during WWII. Rather than going after the Japanese and their Axis allies in Europe, what if he had suddenly decided to divert U.S. troops and launch a massive invasion of Mexico. Don't you think people might have questioned the wisdom of such a move, especially in the midst of a war? And what if then FDR's excuses for invading Mexico turned out to be all wrong? Would the American people have remained unified behind him?
What do you think, Dan? Is the U.S. really that different today?