Scott's Soapbox

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Jaw-Droppingly Dumb Editorial

Honestly, this editorial is one of the worst things I have ever read. Sloppy, unsourced and gratuitous quotes, it sounds like something Michael Moore would do.

Bernard Moon sets out to provide "A Lesson for the Liberal Elite" or so the title says. He points out that many on the left blame the election results on Fundamentalist Christians who voted overwhelmingly for Bush, and turned out in huge numbers. Which, of course, is true. He then goes on the basically lampoon the liberals for scorning these people, saying we (I will count myself) describe them as [his quotation] "homophobic knuckle-draggers." No source for this quote, of course. He says liberals have a "distorted image" of Christians as being uneducated and anti-science.

He reminds us that in terms of practical examples ese laws, it might be good to look back in history and be reminded that "some of these Christian fundamentalists served a significant part in our great nation's birth. From Sir Isaac Newton to George Washington Carver, from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Martin Luther King Jr." Seriously, what the heck is he talking about? Newton was British and died in 1727. Carver born 1865, died 1943. Wilson- 1856-1924. King 1929-1968. Maybe Moon did not learn this in school, but our nation was born in 1776. None of these men are within 45 years of this date.

"There also seems to be a myth traveling around certain intellectual circles that science and the insanity of Christian fundamental doctrine cannot coexist. Again, history serves to prove this wrong and acts as a reminder. Each of the following people held strong beliefs -- "extremist beliefs," some would say -- as Christians and sought to reveal the work of God through their contributions.

For some liberal minds that cannot reach to their grade school days, I made a summary of their accomplishments:"

Okay, first of all, you are the one who has no idea what country people are from or where they lived, not me. Secondly, one cannot if one holds Bible to be a "literal truth" as he claims to later on in the piece, also be a scientist. But we'll get to that. Let's see who he lists:

"Johannes Kepler was a mathematician and astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion and fathered the study of celestial mechanics." True. Kepler was also [quote from link] "excluded from the sacrament in the Lutheran church. This and his refusal to convert to Catholicism left him alienated by both the Lutherans and the Catholics." Later on, he was forced to move several times as a result of religious persecution, and even had to defend his mother against charges of witchcraft. His grave was destroyed in the religion-based Thirty Years War.

"Galileo Galilei was the inventor of the telescope, discovered the laws governing falling bodies, and made numerous astronomical discoveries." Galileo was a supporter of the Copernican system, and faced the Roman Inquisition twice for supporting this "heresy". In 1633, he was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. Hence- believing that the Earth orbits the Sun (rather than vice versa) gets you a life of persecution and punishment by the Catholic Church.

It is really hard to think of worse examples to choose than this, but this is what Moon chooses. Amazing.

Let's move on to Mr. Moon's personal experience- "I grew up in the Midwest with a familiar story to most Americans. My family members and I have attended Ivy League institutions, expounded upon Emerson and Whitman, lived abroad, and chatted endlessly on various topics in Upper West Side cafes." Does not this seem a little bit elitist to prove his bonafides like this. See, I'm smart! I went to an Ivy League school, I'm not a stupid Christian like you think I am. It seems like exactly what he accuses our side of doing.

He says "Oddly enough, we [he and his family] believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and the literal translation of the Bible." Okay, here is where I talk about the dilemma of the Chirstian as scientist. If one interprets the Bible literally, one must believe that created the Earth in 6 days. The most common interpretation of the date of creation is between 6000-10000 years. Ok, so if you believe this, you have to throw out biology (evolution), anthropology (history), archeology (fossil record), physics (carbon dating), chemistry (how matter is formed,) and let's say math too because the numbers do not add up. Modern science has determined tha ge of our universe to be approximately 14 million years old, with the Earth forming about 4.5 billion years ago. See an interesting discussion of these numbers here and more about Creation stories here. Especially check out the similarities between the Christian story and Babylonian story which came centuries earlier.

The point is, one cannot be an intellectually honest scientist and believe all parts of the Bible are literally true. If people believe God is a guiding force for evolution, for the creation of life, then fine. If people believe that God has a plan for all or that He is watching out for them, then fine. People like Moon are a threat to science- this is why we still argue over evolution in the public schools. To demand equal time for other "theories" is 18th Century. Science and religion ask different questions. To create a conflict between them is just constructing a false choice. How life evolved is a scientific one. What it means is a religious one. Let each method handle their own questions, and if you cannot decide...God gave you that brain to think! Use it. If yours is full, Bernard Moon has plenty of room to spare in his.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Plan Of Attack

Time for Scott's 6 month late book review! I love Bob Woodward books, flaws and all, and normally I read them as they come out. I really thought this one could have been called Bush at War, Part II although it is not so pro-Bush as that one. Reading through Bush at War, I was struck at how little planning was done for post-war Afghanistan. It seemed to me that the military had a brilliant war plan, brilliantly executed, but the civilian leadership failed to come up with anything for the next stage. Luckily Afghanistan was relatively calm after 30 years of war, there was a large coalition so it was not seen as an "American" operation, and the UN was able to help set up the civilian government.

Fast forward to Iraq. Brilliant war plan, brilliant execution by the armed forces and past-war planning...not so much. When Bush first considered a war against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and made the decision to develop a war plan, he instructed Rumsfeld to do it, but they agreed to do it inconspicously. From that point on, at least from the book, there was a never a discussion amongst any of the principals about whether or not war was really thwe answer. The Iraq war plan just became a snowball rolling down a hill gathering momentum until there was no choice but for war. After all, as Bush told other leaders, he could not keep the troops deployed over there forever. The administration never had a meeting where they just went around the room and said what they thought. Bush knew of course what most people thought, but he never asked them directly.

Of course the final decision to go to war must always be made by the president alone- it is his burden. In his shoes though, I would ask those around me- do we have to do this? What are the potential consequences if we do? What else could we do? What needs to happen to win not just the war, but the peace afterwards? Do we have to do this right now? How do we get our allies to go along?

Our troops suffer each and every day from this lack of planning, lack of foresight and that just breaks my heart. I, for one, supported the Iraq war, but not the horrible mismanagement that has taken place. We have no choice but to win, and that will take more troops, more money, and a commitment spanning decades to build this country. I hope we have the stomach for it.

Clinton Library

I caught some of the ceremonies on replay (see here to watch it all), and it was quite an event I thought. I am someone who is very caught up in the pomp and circumstance that comes along with the presidency- America's version of royalty.

It is amazing how much one can tell about these men from their walks. Bush 43 on the far left boy does he swagger! He walks as if he has just ridden into a town in the Old West on the biggest horse, with the biggest gun. Heading for the saloon, so he can tell the inhabitants that there is a new sheriff in town. (Actually, former WH press secretary Ari Fleisher actually used that phrase once, while discussing fiscal discipline.) Bush's speech later was more generous than one might expect.

Bush 45 seems so much more relaxed now than he ever did as president. He walks exactly as he is, a normal, humble, and decent man. The elder's Bush's speech was hilarious- β€œIt has to be said that Bill Clinton was one of the most gifted American political figures in modern times. Believe me β€” I learned that the hard way. He made it look too easy, and oh, how I hated him for that." He confirmed that he was checking his watch in the 1992 debate to find out how long Ross Perot was going to go on for. Bush 43 looks for the first time like a man comfortable in his own skin.

Walking out next to him was Jimmy Carter. Carter walks as a man hunched over, beaten down by the rain, wizened by age, but still the simple peanut farmer he once was. The man who has been such a great ex-president discussed his first meeting with Clinton 30 years ago- Bill was of course late!

Clinton himself walks like the bigger than life character he is- he almost kicks his feet out in front of him, clown-like, as he goofily trundles down the line. While others speak and poke gentle fun at him, he would slap his knee in enjoyment when he got zinged. I thought, "Wow, he is such a Bubba!" What we liked about him is that he embodied the American dream- how a man could be born poor and to troubled circumstance could rise to become our president. What we did not like about him was not he embodied the other side of America- the struggles with his weight, with his women, with all his excesses. His remarks were mostly about unification of America towards common goals, and most notably the new Post-Arafat opportunity for peace in the Middle East.

The speeches of all four presidents were in good humor, especially given the rancorous political year. They all seem very aware of their membership in the world's most elite club. They have respect for each other, and for the office they have all held. It is a good thing for the country for these four men, two from each party can sopeak so highly of one another and present a unified front. Watching them talk amongst themselves made me feel better about each of them, and better about the shape of things in America.

A Blogger's Lament

I would have blogged, but it was clogged
So instead I read, lying in bed

But then I alighted, because I felt slighted
And blogger worked, I felt perked!

Blogger has been down all night- maybe everyone back on here after the holiday. Nothing but spinning, spinning, round and round earlier...

Friday, November 26, 2004

More Grilled Cheese, Please!

Look here for how it might have grown no mold during its 10-year storage period.

Also see here for a "Hello Kitty" image immortalized in grlled cheese. This actually looks pretty amazing, if you scan down to some of the other photos, where the sandwich and actual character are shown together (it has the little bow and everything!). Possibly owing to the less than divine nature of Hello Kitty, this sandwich only fetched $61.00...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I know I'm a "Blue State" Type, But...

$28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich? I know I have said we Democrats have to be better at talking about values and religion and such, but can't we still call a spade a spade? If you think the Virgin Mary appeared to you in the form of a grilled cheese sandwich, you should probably be taken away in restraints and never allowed out again. Maybe a nice dessert or something, which can be quite heavenly- but grilled cheese? I thought this only happened in Third World countries where every year there is someone who finds a pomegranate that looks sort of vaguely like a person's face and everyone swoons about God for a while.

Wait! I think that is the face of God in my parking lot!...Nope, just a smushed Bud Light bottle cap. Sorry, false alarm. Maybe I can still get something for that on EBay?

Heart Tour

I hope my doctors had more training than just this- although it does "remain healthy" according to the article.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Certain things are just perfect. Like a quiet night at home with just some beer, some old friends, the truly great ESPN NHL 2005 for Playstation 2, and finishing off with a hard-fought overtime victory. Getting this game every year for 12 years has been a celebration. Good times- nothing has really changed since college- same guys, same game, same taunting, same jokes, same laughter. Playing that game with the guys is like putting on your favorite sweater and pair of jeans as comfortable as can be.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Pick Your T-shirt




Caution: these links are good clean fun, but there is some really funny and sometimes really profane stuff on this site, so search with caution.

This is just so Hideous

He has an apology for what he said, but not to Condoleeza Rice. The whole thing is here.

"It is with a heavy heart that I apologize this morning to Aunt Jemima," John "Sly" Sylvester said on WTDY-AM in Madison. "She wasn't a self-serving hack politician who got up in front of Congress and lied. Aunt Jemima didn't kowtow to Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney."

Sylvester made his comments in conjunction with a giveaway of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup to listeners.

Sylvester, who is white, said he called Rice "Aunt Jemima" on Wednesday's show to describe her and other black officials as having only a subservient role in the Bush administration. He also referred to Secretary of State Colin Powell as an "Uncle Tom" -- a contemptuous term for black people whose behavior toward whites is regarded as fawning or servile.

Unless Condi actually owns a maple syrup company that I am unaware of, someone should fire this racist jerk before he ever says another word on the public airwaves again.

Listen to his boss-

Tom Walker, general manager for Mid-West Family Broadcast Group, which owns the station, said he doesn't agree with Sylvester's statements but defended his right to free speech.

"He has the right to do it and say it," Walker said after Friday morning's broadcast. "As long as he isn't hateful and as long as he isn't racist, I'm fine with it."

Ok, as long has he is not racist! You know what, let's fire Mr. Walker too for being such a freaking moron. You're both gone, find someone else to work for- maybe David Duke or the NAAWP is hiring. This is disgusting and demeaning to Ms. Rice, who I bet went a little farther in school than some bomb-throwing flunky DJ or loser station manager who I had never heard of before this incident. Michael Moore's loony left strikes again. Guys, this really is not helping the cause, huh. How about you all just knock it off. Thanks.


AP - In a defeat for President Bush (search), rebellious House Republicans on Saturday derailed legislation to overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies along lines recommended by the Sept. 11 commission.

Same day...

AP- The House on Saturday commended the Boy Scouts and condemned legal efforts to limit government ties to the group because of its requirement that members believe in God.

Same week...

AP - A divided Senate approved an $800 billion increase in the federal debt limit Wednesday, a major boost in borrowing that Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats blamed on the fiscal policies of President Bush .

The mostly party line, 52-44 vote was expected to be followed by House passage Thursday. Enactment would raise the government's borrowing limit to $8.18 trillion β€” $2.23 trillion higher than when Bush became president in 2001, and more than eight times the debt President Reagan faced when he took office in 1981.

The false hope that is Hillary Clinton

Michelle Cottle wrote a good article in this week's New Republic about the prospects for Hillary in '08. She agrees with me- it would be doom for the Democrats? Why?

Well, let's see- one of the main hurdles as we have all seen is for the Democrats to be comfortable talking about values in a way middle America can understand and relate to. So, I present Hillary, who said back in 1992 (during her husband's campaign!) β€œI suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas," she told reporters. "But what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life." Wow, great, tell off stay-at-home moms. When Bill's infidelity came out yet one more time, she said "I'm not some Tammy Wynette standing by my man." Hope folks do not like country music either. Seriously, is their anyone more "blue state" than an uppity female lawyer from New York? Or Illinois? Or Arkansas? Or wherever she moves to to run?

Oh, and her last name is Clinton- Bill is, as we all know, both uniformly popular and ethically clean as a whistle. (Honestly, and I said this back in 1998- she should have left him, been openly hurt that he could do this to her after far so long and come back as her own woman. What if Hillary had, instead of raving about a "vast right-wing conspiracy" trying to drag them down- which is true, but not my point- she had broken down and cried on Katie Couric's shoulder. Her numbers would have gone through the roof and she would have appeared strong. I like Hillary a lot, but if she could never once stand up to Bill, how could she win a war.) She carries so much baggage- some of it her's, some not. Her 1993 health plan was certainly a rousing success as it flew unaltered through Congress.

Michelle estimates that "At minimum, Hillary starts with some 40 percent of the country dead-set against her." I disagree- she has at least 50 percent of the country against her. She has alienated many in her rise to power, and left few friends behind. Now, do not get me wrong- I think Hillary is smart, tough, and has been a good Senator who has served New York well. But then again, I am an elite, East Coast liberal. I am not who the Democrats need to convince. For those that are, Hillary is not the answer.

Breakfast Menu

225 mg Rythmol (propafenone)
20 mg Nadolol (corgard)
5 mg Warfarin sodium (coumadin)
10 mg Lipitor
10mg Prednisone
400mg Ibuprofen

Bon appetit!

Dogs and Other Matters

I just finished a really interesting article on Slate about dog breeeds, opwnership, attacks, and the consequences. Through telling a story of one "rescued" dog belonging to a friend, he explains a larger story of the mentality behind those who would rescue those breeds (read pit bulls, rottweilers, et cetera) disproportionately under the assumption that other people do not want them.

The fact is, other people do not want them. Because they bite people. Because they do significantly more damage when the do- especially to children. The reputation of these typed of dogs alone is enough for me to not want one. Why have a dog that frightenes people? I grew up with an energetic border terrier- who would bound along our neighborhood investigating anything in his path. If he was of his leash, or had dug out under the fence, one would find him somewhere around the neighborhood- following a jogger, playing with other dogs, poking around in something. He was friendly and greeted everyone with a lick, a jingling collar, and a wagging tail. He weighed somewhere between 20-25 pounds usually and we left him sort of "shaggy" all year so his coat gave him a warm and fuzzy appearance. In short, he looked like a sweet dog who if he was giving you any trouble...well, you could just pick him up and move him. So I never saw anyone recoil in fear or move to protect their children from him. Kids would immediately bend over to pet the little fellow, and get a good licking for their efforts.

Now imagine if I had a 60 or 80 pound pit bull. Off its leash, moving towards a child who anxiously backs up behind a parent's leg. The whole thing takes on a different flavor. If it scares a child, "good dog" or not, why would you want such a thing?

I was heading out for work the other morning and opened the door from my patio. One of my neighbors had their two dogs out (I guess to go to the bathroom) and I just looked up innocently. Both dogs ran towards me and one jumped way up on me. She was saying, "No, no, come back [dog's name], stop it!" But instead, of course, I got pawed, mud on my suit, slobber on my hand, and a nice sense of fear. She apologized about it and I asked her if she had ever heard of a leash- she just kept smoking on her cigarette. How charmingly trashy. So I go back inside and clean myself off and thought- what if I had a son? What if I was walking out there with my four-year-old who would be at eye level, not hand level? Why would someone in a residential area have two larger dogs not on a leash? Why are dog owners (in Columbus especially) so unaware of these things.

Columbus is not a very dog-friendly town, and I always wondered why. You cannot take a dog to most parks, even out of town for a walk in the woods. But as I have lived here for a few years. I have just been astonished by the arrogance of some of these owners. Go to the park- you see dogs off leashes, dogs on the wrong trails, dogs where they should not be. Be smart, be considerate of others- be a good owner.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What to do Without Hockey Season?

Why, here in Columbus we can pass the time on watching a "Blue Jackets Classics" game on TV. That's right, a team which has never come close to the playoffs, a team with no appealing stars until Rick Nash's emergence this year, has "classic" games.

Tonight's was a real exciting contest from 2001-2002- Columbus hosting the Atlanta Thrashers. The two worst teams in the league- Atlanta would finish at 19-47-11, Columbus at 22-47-8, battled hard with Columbus emerging with a 5-4 victory.

Maybe it was a classic because it did feature Derrick Walser's first ever NHL goal. He now is all the way up to 6! Only 888 behind Gretzky!

What's most sad about this it I sat there and watched part of it. I watched Jean-Luc Grandpierre turn the puck over to Jeff Odgers. I watched Chris Tamer miss a check on Mike Sillinger. This is hockey at its absolute worst. Ia it pathetic this is on TV? Is it pathetic that I watched it?

Yes, and yes. Boy I miss hockey.

Another Victory for Ethics in Government

So the House Republicans changed their own rules to mkae sure Tom DeLay would not have to lose his House leadership position even if he is indicted for his role in a 2002 campaign finance scandal. Three people (along with eight companies) have already been indicted for violating campaign finance laws relating to a pact DeLay helped create.

Kind of sad, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ex-Van Halen frontman now paramedic?

Check this out.

How great would it be if I was having heart trouble and David Lee Roth showed up. "So, now that you are a paramedic, are you still 'Hot for Teacher' anymore?"

Democrats have "Urban" Values?

First,look at this dramatic visual of red versus blue weighted by population. has a really interesting take about whether democrats need to worry about losing the red part of the country or can survive on just "An Urban Archipelago." A money quote is here:
It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Austin is our island in Texas; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans.

As you can tell, it is a completely balanced and fair analysis. But it is hilarious- you can read it all here (Warning: contains bad language and possibly offensive jokes ahead!)

The whole magazine is an intersting read try "We Won" for a reality check- beter for Kerry to lose this time around anyway?

P.S> I was really hoping "The Stranger" title came from Camus, but I looked around and found no evidence for it. I wish Albert Camus was still alive to write a column these days.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Watch Shopping - Please Comment

What do you all think of this watchas Christmas List material? I want a blue-faced watch to wear with all my blue dress shirts, and I love the color and the grid background.

Or this one, to be casual/athletic and also I like the cool 12/4/8.

Or another one- love the mesh- not crazy about the 12/3/6/9 boxy design.

Or, perhaps this one which I like the face but not so much the black leather band.

Your thoughts?

Interesting take on why Kerry Lost

In TNR here. Not sure I agree with it all- you can read what I thought below, but interesting article nonetheless.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Post Surgery

So I am sore, tired, but loving it!

It will all be worth it to fix my heart- and it loooks like my surgery was a success. Amazingly, 48 hours after the procedure I am up around, and blogging. I came home yestreday and even got to sleep in my own bed. Besdies the soreness in my right leg/groin, I feel pretty good, considering. Also, I sleep a lot. But it is all worth it.

Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts from everybody.

I hope to be fully back in the swing of things soon!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Long Time, No Post

Okay, I have really been slow on this. I have a whole post-election wrap up half finished...

My life has been so busy lately. First of all, I got promoted to run our mortgage brokerage. This is a terrific opportunity, means I have been spending lots of nights at the office, getting home from work after 9:00, and just feeling worn out. I have many mangerial things to do, in addition to handling my own loans, of which I have closed 6 in the past two weeks! We need a lot of order, a lot of organization, and a lot of motivation in a hurry. So, work is so crazy right now but it is already getting better. I feel like what our office needs, I can bring to make it successful.

Also, I have been busy with life outside of work- Thursday, hockey game. Friday night, had to work late and miss Happy Hour with the boys. Saturday- Hocking Hills to hike around. What a beautiful day, 68 degress and sunny. Not too many leaves left, but still a great time and some magnificant views. Laura's pictures to be up later. On Sunday, another hockey game (now 3-0 on the year) and tried to get some weekend-life stuff done- groceries, ATM, laundry.

I have been trying to get a lot of stuff done because tomorrow will be my last day in the office. My heart surgery is Friday up at the Cleveland Clinic. So my parents are taking me up tomorrow, testing to start Thursday morning. All goes well, I should be coming home Saturday, although I will be groggy and sore. So this of course has been on my mind as well. My family and friends have been wonderfully supportive and I have every confidence in my doctor and the hospital. Still, I cannot help doing things, going places, and seeing people and wondering if I am having those experiences for the last time. I have been making a point to see certain people, give a call, or send an e-mail...just in case.

Thanks for everyone's warm thoughts- it really means a lot. Love, peace, and happiness to all- hope to be blogging again soon.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Post-Election Wrap Up

Okay, so it has been a while- I have been gone for a while- here in no particular order, it my wrap-up. Don't waste any time thinking for yourself, just let this pour in through your synapses as gospel- it's what James Dobson would do. WW James Dobson do?

Okay, overall, John Kerry ran a campaign of being "against" things. Of being against Bush, against Cheney, against the way the war was managed in Iraq (which Bush turned into against the troops), against Bush's very existence. This is a campaign which will get you up to about, oh, 47-48% of a polarized elctorate but not move you any further. I could have told you that at any time. Just election theory. As such, he failed a couple of tests, and that's why he lost.

1) John Kerry never gave me a reason to vote FOR him, rather than against Bush. I had, right after he clinched the nomination, ordered myself a John Kerry bumper sticker- I got a basic one, also they sent me "Kerry us to Democracy" one. So I got them months ago, and I made myself a little pledge...a challenge if you will...I will put these on my car when John Kerry gives me a reason to support him. Support him as a man, as a president.

He told me what was wrong with what Bush was doing, but made only vague noises on how he would do better. The campiagn is over, and does anyone really know how Kerry would have...fixed the economy? Made the situation better for our troops in Iraq? Improved the effectiveness of our War On Terror? Did Kerry ever if a "this is what I would do- 1,2,3,4,5" answer to anything? Solutions would have been nice.

Oh yeah, the bumper stickers? Never went on the car.

2) John Kerry, by being against things while not being clear what he was for (see above) became the negative candidate. We always, without fail, every year, elect the more optimistic candidate. Kerry woyuld come out here and tell us how bad the economy was in Ohio and that we had lost all these jobs because of Bush and blah blah blah. You know what, we knew the economy was bad already. Ohioans knew this state has lost more jobs in the past four years than any other. Bush would come out here and tell us things were getting better, that we had turned the corner- sunshine always sells. Again, what if John Kerry had come out and said "the economy is bad- with statistics" and then..."But you already know all that. You live here. You all know a family memeber or a close friend who has lost their job in the last four years. You all know a family member or a close friend that is worried about losing the job they are barely hanging on to now. you may know a small business owner who is reluctant to expand, to add new jobs, who is sturggling to stay afloat, because of all this "economic uncertainty" people like me keep telling you about. But that uncertainty is real. It is real people, real families, folks trying to go to work, play by the rules, and support their families, and live the American Dream. Here's what I would do to get the economy moving again and creating good jobs here in Ohio- 1,2,3,4,5. And that's how we'll do it together, with your hard work and just a little help from Washington we can get Ohio moving again!"

Not bad, huh? Took me 5 minutes to write. I never heard Kerry say anything like it. Notice, again, specificity is a moral value. (Bush's plan for everything- more of the same. He ran as if he were not already president and offered nothing new. The problem was, Kerry did not contrast this enough with new clear ideas.) Right there, Kerry would have positioned himself as a defender of the American Dream. Not a bad moral stance to take. "Make the American Dream a Reality" or "Defending the American Dream"? How about "Defnding the American Way of Life." Any of those are better than talking about being "respected in the word" because you know what, if I am a guy who lost my job at the plant in Springfield, Ohio, where I worked for 25 years and I got a buddy killed in Afghanistan I do not give a crap about what France thinks of us right now. I want my problems fixed.

Some have asked- was it the message or the candidate- to those, I say...what message? Ryan Lizza has a funny piece about this in TNR here. It's subscriber only, but you get the drift. Actually, really,I think Kerry was not bad as a candidate- he got to be much better as a speaker, he won the debates, he has the personality of my keyboard.

On the "Culture War" Kerry struggles with a basic New England problem, a reluctance to talk about themselves and their values. Howard Dean was exactly right when he said the Reublicans wedge the country with "guns, God, and gays." This is a horribly divisive strategy, but an effective one. But the problem is not Democratic values- we have them- but how we express them. Democrats have a well meaning, but ineffective tendency to see all points of view, to respect all points of view, to see gray where others see only black and white. Look at the abortion question. Kerry threw up all over himself trying to not offend anyone in the debate. For Bush, the answer is easy- "Abortion is Murder." Now, I do not agree with him, and since he supports abortion rights in cases of rape and incest, he does not actually agree with himself. Coming from W, this is unsurprising. But the point is, he has a postion and he says what it is.

On gay marriage- Kerry's position is actually the country's position! Kerry supports civil unions but not gay marriage. Bush says he supports states deciding the issue, but of course supports a constituational amendment taking away their right to do this. The proposed amendment would ban not just agy marriage but would prhibit states from granted gay (or straight) unmarried couples any type of benefits. If Bush's amendment took effect, what might happen to Mary Cheney (yes, let's bring her up) and her partner of 10 years? If something horrible happened to Mary her partner could end up with nothing. Could not get the house, the money, or even visit her in the hospital. Those are not my values, not the country's values, and Kerry should have brought this up.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So Is It Over? A View From the Center of the Storm

Not if the following is true:

But how can he win Ohio? Simple. Provisional ballots. When voters are challenged, they cast a "provisional ballot," the validity of which is verified 11 days after the election.

Right now Bush is winning by about 140,000 votes in Ohio. Democrats say there will be about 250,000 provisional ballots. It's fair to assume that the overwhelming majority are Democratic, for the simple reason that Republicans systematically challenge ballots and Democrats do not. Four years ago, 90 percent of those provisional ballots in Ohio were ultimately accepted.

Jonathan Chait in TNR thinks not.

The key questions are: how many provisional ballots are there?
1) The Kerry camp says 250,000, Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell says he does not know, but told CNN last night that number or even more was "within the realm of possibility." If this is true, there is no way Kerry should concede or the network can call it.

Why do we think those are Kerry ballots?
2) Most of these historically are by new voters who did not go to the right place. These went for Kerry 56-44% this year. Many of these belong to people in urban areas (Kerry supporters)where voting continued so late, they were handed paper ballots to vote. ALL of these paper ballots are "provisional" ballots and have not been counted yet. I can tell you from local news and talking to people in Columbus the areas still voting last last night were Cleveland, Ohio State campus area, other selected counties and college towns. Some people, the Washington Post reports, were in line until 2:30 some having refused to take provisional ballots and wanting to wait for the mahcines in the hopes of having their vote matter. The republicans were challenging voters at the polls, democrats were not, hence many of the "invalid" ballots that would have been filed by Republicans have been screened out. One more thing, Bush voters tend to be at an age where they are less likely to move around, more stable and hence got their registration forms. Folks that did not, and went to the wrong place simply because of a change of adddress filed a provisional ballot yesterday.

How long will it take?
3) At least 11 days by state law to count these ballots. Then, each county has to look at each of them indiviually to decide if the are valid. People wanting a quick result will love this part- it can take up to an hour per ballot to decide. Lawyers will love this- contrary to Bush v. Gore (and please notice, despite all the protesations, who filed this lawsuit and who is the defendant) each county has a different standard. Hanging chad? County by county. Corrected address? County by county.

Why was this not fixed earlier?
4) We had four years to prepare for this and still has not happened. With the crippled economy here the budget was cut for improved voting machines and staff. Also, the sheer volume of new registrants overwhelmed the system and did not allow time for the usual "purging" of the voter rolls this year. I and many others have been predicting this exact scenario for weeks. (See my brilliant analysis above for details.)

My old column on October 24th ends with the following:
As a response to this, the Secretary of State, Republican Kenneth Blackwell, sent out instructions to disregard these type of [provisional] ballots. The Democrats filed suit in court and initailly won, only to have this decision reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. So it looks like right now, these ballots will not count. But here is the best part- provisional ballots will not be counted until 11 days past Election Day! As Blackwell says in the article "That could be the ballgame here- provisional ballots from new registrants." New voters are the most likely to have this problem, and most new registrants are Democrats this year. The upshot of this is, if Kerry wins on Election Day- and it appears to be trending very slightly that way, this issue will more likely fade away. If Bush wins close, and the Democrats believe these ballots would turn this around, look out, this will be in court for quite a while. Would we really want an election decided because I went to the school and not the church, so my vote did not get counted?

What a mess. I cannot wait for all the lawyers to descend and for the media frenzy to start...

I wish I had not been so frustratingly right.

Getting Closer

Down to 103,331 as the difference in Ohio. Can Kerry get enough votes from people staying late to vote? From Cuyahoga county? From Franklin county? From provisional ballots?

Down to 101,000 and counting. Stay tuned.


They just called the Colorado senate race for Salazar- Rather says "SO, Pete Corrs gets a silver bullet right through his Senate hopes."

Rather is so unintentionally funny sometimes.

Ohio for Bush- NBC, FOX

Ohio uncalled- CNN, CBS, ABC

Fox News

Just called Ohio for Bush, and thus the election.

Keep in mind, people are still waiting in line, right now to vote in Cuyahoga County, Knox County, and Franklin County.

Is it over?

Kerry's Statement

MSNBC's lovely Norah O'Donnell just read a statement from the Kerry campaign that they believe 250,000 votes remain to be counted and they believe Kerry will still win Ohio and thus the election. If those uncounted yet vote break 2 of 3 for Kerry (possible especially is many of these are from Cleveland) then Kerry wins.

Kenneth Blackwell (Ohio's Republican Secretary of State) is reminding everyone that provisional ballots are not counted in Ohio until 11 days after the election. Blackwell says absentee ballots are counted already, others counting as we speak. He said he did not know how many ballots are out there waiting to be counted. Bush's lead is down to under 102,000 votes.

Chris Matthews says there is an army of lawyers on the way from Boston to Ohio to battle for votes and make sure all votes are counted. The Kerry campaign is now saying they will not concede Ohio, period.

I do not want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Hello, 2000 all over again.

NBC Calls Ohio it for Bush

If this is close and getting closer, this is 2000 all over again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

All on Fox Agree

"It is all about Ohio"

Whoever wins Ohio wins the whole thing.

I am heading out to vote 500 more times...

So What is Going On?

People are still waiting in lines to vote in Ohio and PA. Votes still being counted, results changing. Of course, Bush tends to lead early in state and county polls, because rural areas have less voters, and report their results earlier. So, will Kerry catch Bush in Ohio? In Florida, Bush has a big lead right now as I write, but Miami-Dade and some other southeastern counties are not reporting yet. The Kerry team expects to make up a lot of ground there.

So who knows?

I am so tense I cannot relax at all. Went for a walk, no help. Threw darts, no help. Moved laundry, no help. Aaah!

New York

Uh-oh, in New York it's tied dead even on! Oh, never mind, it is 17-17 so far. I'm going to guess more than 34 people voted.

More on Ohio

The polls closed at 7:30, almost 90 minutes ago as I type this. Given that at some polling places, there were estimates of folks having to wait for 4 more hours, a federal judge has decided to let them cast paper ballots. The Republican spokesman is concerned about fraud, the Democrats want to let people vote. Is it not possible to check people for validity quickly, then just give them a ballot?

Seems like a compromise...


Brian Williams just had an interesting report about the Ohio new voters. In Ohio, there were 800,000 new voters registered this year after about 8 million people voted last time. Many of these first-timers are younger voters, so the big question was- would they come out? The answer is...yes.

According to NBC's polling, 13% of all votes this year are being cast by first timers- and they are going 56-44 for Kerry. Young voters (18-29) are going 58-41 Kerry.

On a personal note, I am glad to still be considered a "young voter" at 29.

Website analysis: Foxnews, roll-your-mouse-over-and-click-on-a-state map is really good.

CNN's is not as good, but you can go down to the county level which is kind of neat but also something that seems more appropriate to local news.

MSNBC's state map is not working for me, and the layout is not great. is just terrible and boring.

My ABC affiliate is right now showing Entertainment Tonight- what?

Random Thoughts

Turnout- Is huge her in Ohio and seemingly everywhere else. That is so big for Kerry. What else is big- young people. I have surveyed myself 5 people from 5 precincts and every one of them said how many young folks, many probably first time voters.

CNN- That is the biggest wall of TV screens I have ever seen. Good lord, Wolf Blitzer showing them all off is like my dad with his home theatre in the basement.

The polls are!

Wow, CNN cannot call Virginia yet! Bad news for Bush. Everything else according to plan. MSNBC agrees- says polls too close.

Of course, maybe after 2000, the networks will be a little more cautious this time, hmm?

Zogby's Call?

Is 311-213 Kerry, with Colorado and Nevada (thought to be Bush's) as too close to call.

Wow! That is a huge surprise.


Not based on any exit polls, just my guess. Here goes:

Kerry wins Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico

Wisconsin (which Gore barely won...but remember, Nader got 3.6% here) is a complete toss-up to me.

Bush wins Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, and upsets in Hawaii

What state did I leave out? Oh yeah, Florida. Kerry wins thanks to early voting increasing turnout.

My state Ohio, is so close, but I have to tell you...just there...waited an hour, the people waiting an hour or more are young. Many more young people than I have ever seen voting. They favor Kerry 2-1 here, this increased turnout is great news for Kerry.

So Kerry wins!

Bin Laden

Do me a favor- ignore him when you vote. His new tape seems to be from a position of weakness, not strength. He has no government in Afghanistan to hide him. He seems to have been knocked down.

So, now that he's down, let's kick him, kick him, and kick him until he and others like him are dead. I lived through September 11th, I saw the smoke, I felt the fear. I dialed my phone over and over again fruitlessly wondering if my father was safe. I went to the candlelight vigil at the White House September 12th. I wept with our nation at the National Prayer Service. I drove past the Pentagon so many times and saw that flag draped over where only days before a proud building had stood.

I thought at the time al Qaeda had awoken a sleeping giant that was America. Now we stand, over 3 years later, bogged down in Iraq, distracted by other issues, and we seem to have lost our "edge." We must never lose focus on this mission- both parts. Winning small the shadows, in the caves, in anywhere those that would do us harm would hide. But also to win hearts and minds, to make a climate where these manipulators of hatred can find no quarter against our message of hope. This is a battle that with all respect to our allies only America can lead. For so many, for so long, we have been hope. It is why Sam Stuart came here, and Charles Edouard Lepaige. It is why I am here, and why I am proud every day. There has never been a nation like ours, and I would give my life in its defense.

But defense and offense must be balanced- safer at home, and respected again in the world. I think we have lost sight of this recently, the truth is to fight a global War on Terror, we need a globe full of allies, not enemies. We need our word to be accepted, not viewed with skepticism. We need to be America again.

How Close is Ohio?

Mystery Polster has some details about the Columbus Dispatch poll which shows a 50-50 tie. Actually, Kerry is ahead by 8 votes out of 2880- a shoo-in!

What does it all mean- I guess we will find out soon.

Finally Here

Please everyone, get out and vote. Vote your conscience, vote for who believe can make the best of the next four years. Do not let anyone stop you- this is America at its best.

Remember whenever it is over, we have only one president at a time- do not let the wounds fester, let them heal. Let us unify behind our winner as one people and do the work only our nation can do.

I wish our country could stand in the world for what we are known for: freedom, equality, possibilities. Let us all let America stand as an example for the world as we have been for so many that dreamed of freedom. Let all who came here dreaming of a better life be enriched and enobled by our purpose. Let us shine forth as a beacon of democracy and hope.

Oh, and vote for Kerry...I am!

The Issues

By now, all of us that care know where the presidential candidates stand on the big issues like the war on terror, Iraq, jobs, health care, et cetera, but what about the important things? Like say, Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame? ESPN has the goods on this and more here.

Money quote:

How do you think Major League Baseball should respond to Pete Rose's
request for reinstatement?
Bush: I believe Pete Rose should not be
reinstated. Because I don't think he has come clean. Listen, the guy's a great
player, no question about it. But I think Pete Rose needs to say that he had a
problem and the problem is that he recognizes it, apologizes for it and
recognizes the damage done to the game of baseball before [he's] admitted into
the Hall of Fame, and he hasn't done that.
Kerry: Well, it's a tough one. If
you just look at performance, he's one of the great performers. ... He'd be a
slam dunk on performance, but as we know from Shoeless Joe and other
experiences, gambling is treated differently and it's over the line. So, I think
that it's my own inclination is that you gotta draw the line. You have to set
the standard and gambling puts you outside.

So, they agree in something!
Favorite athlete for Kerry- Wayne Gretzky. Me too- I'm sold!