Saturday, July 31, 2004

Turning the corner to where?

You almost have to feel sorry for the Bush campaign.
Here they go and launch their new campaign theme that states "We've turned the corner and we're not turning back" and on the same day the Commerce Department reports that the economy is sputtering once again.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy slowed dramatically in the spring to an annual growth rate of 3 percent, as consumers, worried about higher gasoline prices, cut back their spending to the weakest pace in three years, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

It does us no good to "turn a corner" when we've been going the wrong direction all along.
The Bush team really has nothing positive to work with so expect lots more negative attacks from that side.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Record deficit - again

Here is the big news that the Bush administration sat on until today so that the Democrats couldn’t use it to criticize the president during their convention:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House projected Friday that this year's deficit will hit a record $445 billion, further fueling a campaign-season dispute over President Bush's handling of the economy.
The figure easily surpassed last year's $375 billion, making it the largest-ever in dollar terms.

Kerry is going to have such a mess to clean up when he moves into the White House next year.

Sandy Berger: smeared then cleared

Remember those news reports right before the Democratic convention that said former Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger was being investigated for stealing classified documents relating to the 9/11 investigation from the National Archive? They quoted annonymous sources charging that Berger had snuck the documents out hidden in his pants and socks? It made great fodder for lots of editorial cartoons and conservative commentators.

Well, nevermind.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the 9/11 Commission on which he serves. At worst, Berger admits that he inadvertently took some photocopies of some material that was later returned. He denies stuffing the documents in his pants.

“Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission.

Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said officials there "are confident that there aren't any original documents missing in relation to this case." She said in most cases, Mr. Berger was given photocopies to review, and that in any event officials have accounted for all originals to which he had access.”

Just another non-story that was blown all out of proportion by our so-called-liberal media and conveniently served the purposes of the Bush administration.

The right-wing web site has put out a story headlined Archives Denies Report That Berger Is in the Clear.

But if you read the story you see that the headline and lead paragraph are misleading. The spokeswoman for the Archive is not denying or disputing the WSJ story. She is only reaffirming a “no comment” statement that she probably gave to the WSJ as well.
Apparently the WSJ has better sources for their story and they did not let a “no comment” from the Archive’s PR flack prevent them from finding out what is really going on like NewsMax has done.
But NewsMax is not a real newsgathering organization. It is a propaganda tool and should be viewed as such. Unfortunately, many conservatives rely on websites like NewsMax and DrudgeReport to get all their information and so they stay constantly misinformed and do silly things like voting for Bush.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

War in Iraq: Have to vs. Want to

One thing John Kerry said tonight summed up my whole frustration with the Iraq war situation. That is when he said that our standard for going to war in the future should be only when we have to and not because we want to.
That is what I felt from the beginning and is the reason why I opposed the war. I never felt like we had to go to war. I never felt that there was an imminent threat hanging over us at any time. But I did feel like George W. Bush and the Republicans very much wanted to go to war.

* They wanted to go to war because it would take the country's attention away from the poor economy.
* They wanted to go to war to advance their ideological foreign policy goals of remaking the Middle East in their own image.
* They wanted to go to war because it would boost the president's popularity and make the Democrats look weak during the mid-term elections (and it worked!).
* They wanted to go to war because they were convinced that it would be a quick and easy victory.
And they thought this because they viewed the intelligence data through ideological blinders - ignoring intelligence that didn't match their predetermined beliefs and embracing that which did regardless of its strengths or merits.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Obama's keynote address

Now I know why the Republicans can't find someone to run for the Senate in Illinois. They might as well just concede the seat to Barak Obama after his masterful keynote speech at the Democratic Convention last night.
While we were in Chicago the media was still all abuzz about former Bears coach Mike Ditka nixing a Senate run. And then during the week they were touting this other local politician Jerry Dillard as a possible candidate before he bowed out too.
I don't blame him. No one wants to be the sacrificial lamb to get steamrolled by this guy.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Snippy vs Foul-Mouthed

A good politician never lets the public see them get riled by a journalist or a political opponent. Of course, nobody is perfect and Teresa Heinz Kerry is no exception.

But the attention being paid to this non-story is really ridiculous. When I first heard that Sen. Kerry's wife had told a right-wing editorial writer who was harassing her to "shove it," my first thought was 'Wow, she's awfully polite.' I mean, just a few weeks ago we had Vice President Cheney telling a Democratic Senator to go F### himself. And Cheney didn't even feel the need to apologize afterwards.

To understand Mrs. Kerry's frustration with this particular "journalist" one needs to know the context of the situation. The reporter in question is actually the editorial page editor for a right-wing paper in Heinz-Kerry's home state of Pennsylvania that has been hounding her for months over her family's philanthropic foundation. I wrote about this issue here at eTalkinghead.

My Kind of Town

Chicago is my kind of town. Seriously. I loved it. It is right up there with Boston and New York on my favorite towns to visit list now. We spent all of last week living out of a hotel room in downtown Chicago and never ran out of things to do. And that was all on foot with my 11-month old son in tow which did limit some of our options (no movies or broadway shows and not many late nights out). Other than one trip on the L (Chicago’s subway) out to the Cell to watch a White Sox vs. Tigers game, we spent the entire trip hiking around Chicago on foot and being constantly amazed at the fun things we found to do.
First, the newly opened Millennium Park is fantastic. So it was four years behind schedule and $450 million over budget. Big deal. “The Bean” sculpture alone is worth that small price. That is going to be drawing tourists from around the world for generations. That and the giant face fountains where kids run about gleefully as parents sit back and gawk. I wish that San Antonio had something like that downtown next to the Alamo.
We saw Picasso’s and Monet’s at the Art Institute of Chicago, visited “Sue” the world’s largest Tyranesoarus Rex skeleton at The Field Museum and also went through the special exhibit on The Forbidden City in China featuring relics from the Quin-long era - early 1700s. We ate several styles of Chicago pizza and had some great steak at Harry Carry’s restaurant (the late sports broadcaster from Chicago).
The White Sox game was a lot of fun and I got to see Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez get his 2,000th career hit with the Detroit Tigers. I still can’t believe how stupid the Texas Rangers were for trading him away. I’m sure watching him lead the Florida Marlins to a World Series crown the next year must have been painful. He is currently the batting leader in the American League.
All in all is was a great trip and Nathan did exceptionally well. We did break down and buy a stroller on the second day which saved our aching backs. I also enjoyed reading the two local papers all week - the Tribune and Sun Times - although the Trib’s editorial page was almost as bad as the Wall Street Journal’s.