Tag Archive for 'politics'

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Letterman Makes Deal With Striking Writers

Breaking news from late-night TV land:

Most of the late-night comedy shows are going back on the air January 2, however CBS will be the only one with writers. I still can’t fathom how John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are going to cope without their writing staff – my fear is that both shows will be slightly more awkward versions of Charlie Rose, (if that’s possible), with better production values.

Kudos to Dave’s negotiators, and let’s hope that the bigger companies step forward and offer to work out something reasonable as well.

People David LettermanUPDATE: Dave kept the beard! This photo is from the taping of his January 2 show.

Saturday Scoot


We unchained the scooters this afternoon, and meandered around Brooklyn in the sun. Not too many days like this left. [from iPhone]

Continue reading ‘Saturday Scoot’

(Un)Happy Planet Index

The (Un)Happy Planet Index is a fascinating examination of countries’ economic and ecological footprints. Like much of social science, I’m not convinced that it shows anything concretely useful at all, but it does satiate my need for rank-order and self-examination. Here is how they designed the study:

The Index doesn’t reveal the “happiest” country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world, but the nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible.

And of course, I decided to take their survey and determine my own HPI score (PDF):

Your personal Happy Planet Index (HPI) is 26, which is similar to that of Zambia, Central African Republic or Belarus. Sorry to say that this is below the world average of 46.

Christ. Apparently my ecological footprint wrecks my score, but then again that was the point of the study – the American lifestyle is f*cking up the world.


Letterman’s Politics

I still love Dave… he stood up to Bill O’Reilly on his program this week, (video here). There were two main points of contention… first, O’Reilly’s imagined “War on Christmas”, and then his calous attacks on Cindy Sheehan. Dave wasn’t as thoughtful or inteligent-sounding as he can be on political topics, but I love the way he sums up O’Reilly:

Letterman: “I’m not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.” (emphasis added)

Indeed. Oh, and get your Tshirts.

The Kennedy Kerry Klan?

Political discourse is in such a sad state, these days. People on the Right viciously brand Democrats and Liberals (capital “L”) with ridiculous comparisons, while simultaneously charging us with doing the same to them. And they get away with it. Here’s the latest example, involving Governor (and likely 2008 GOP Presidential candidate) Romney of Massachusetts, who was introduced by attorney Gerald Walpin at a Federalist Society event:

“Today when most of the country thinks of who controls Massachusetts, I think the modern day KKK comes to mind – the Kennedy, Kerry Klan.”

Romney laughed along with the audience, The Boston Globe reported in a story for Friday’s edition, and thanked the speaker for “a very generous introduction.”

I’m not sure which part is more ridiculous, but since Romney promptly backpedaled and apologized. As for Walpin, the comparison is more than offensive – it’s ahistoric, given all the work Sens. Kennedy and Kerry have done in the area of civil rights.

Why not also assert that Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus for States’ Rights? That makes about as much sense as this KKK joke.

Election Day


It’s Election Day, and I haven’t done much research on the City Council race here in Cambridge. The Globe has a special election section, but I can’t find much information on Our Fair City.

I hate to cast votes blindly, but what can I do at this point? Go by the signs in my neighbors’ yards? By how much political mail I’ve received? (Jesse Gordon wins on that count) Or, perhaps I’ll just take the advice of drunkards.


The national media seems to be writing an awful lot into the Virginia governor’s race. Due to a one 4-year term limit on that office, popular Democratic Governor Mark Warner is out, but his Lieutenant Gov is still leading by 4-5 points:

[Warner], who has anointed Mr. Kaine the candidate who can continue the policies he says have brought the state a budget surplus and improved scores on school tests.

Sounds like Al Gore’s 2000 strategy… Being a charismatic Democrat from a Red state, it will be interesting to watch Warner in the next 3 years. ABC News’ The Note points out:

Sen. Clinton’s camp is closely watching the outcome of the Virginia gubernatorial race, claims the New York Daily News, out of concern that a Kaine win could make Gov. Mark Warner a more formidable opponent for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Obviously, if Kaine and the Dems can hold on to the VA Governor’s mansion, the White House should be the one worrying. Can’t wait to see how they spin this one.


The Boston Foundation has just put out a Greater Boston Housing Report Card [PDF], and drew some ridiculous conclusions. John A Keith of the Boston Real Estate Blog explains [via]:

From the report:

Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood

2004 estimated renter income: $24,132
2004 estimated monthly rent: $1,498
% of median income needed to pay rent in 2004: 74%


Why not?

1) earlier in their report, the authors estimate rents on two-bedroom apartments throughout the city. They estimate a two-bedroom apartment in the Fenway would cost $1,498 per month. A two-bedroom apartment. Would one person, making $24,132, rent a two-bedroom apartment? Why would they? If they did rent a two-bedroom apartment, they’d have a roommate, thereby reducing their share of the monthly rate to $749. Rent would therefore require only 37% of their gross income.

He goes on to question another aspect of their methodology — using the advertised rental rates, which are often higher than what a landlord can get. It’s an interesting discussion, because there is obviously a diminishing pool of “affordable” housing in Boston. The median home price in our fair city of Cambridge is well over $600,000…

It always surprises me, the carelessness with which people use statistics. No where is this more true than in the education reform debate. For instance, when politicians say, “Half of our kids read below their grade level”. This kind of statement is used to provoke anxiety, and to justify raising (sic) standardized test requirements.

What they don’t choose to explain, (or understand for that matter), is that this is precisely the definition of grade level — 50% above the line, 50% below. That’s how you set a grade level, for god’s sake.

I cringe everytime I hear statistics being manipulated like this.

“Underground Man” update

Thanks to Mint, I noticed that a few visitors were referred here looking for the text of a New Yorker article writted in February 2004 titled, Underground Man: Can the former C.I.A. agent who saved New York’s subway get the Tube back on track?. I had scanned the text a while back, but my directory security settings on my server were tightened, and the scans were no longer available.

So, if you’re looking for the article, it’s is now properly linked in the orginal post.

I still wish I had a way of extracting the text via OCR…

Rejected Mandate

If the President’s approval rating is at 45%, according to Gallup, why does the news media cover him like he’s got teflon skin? When will anything stick to this guy?

And, Sen. Cornyn (R-Texas), today defended domestic terrorists who attack liberal judges. I would very much like this ass to defend his comments — preferably to the FBI.


We lost… and we lost big. There is simply no excuse. “Blue” America just doesn’t get “Red” America, and we’re shut out of government as a result.

The magnitude of this loss cannot be written off or explained away as a fluke. Sure, we can stand ‘round the water coolers today, complaining about how “dumb” middle-America is, and where we’re all going to seek asylum abroad, (Iceland? New Zealand?)—but that would just play into the Republicans’ hands.

John Kerry lost because the Democratic party is no longer a party of values. How else do we explain the working poor voting in large numbers for the Republicans, and their tax cuts for millionaires? Clearly, something is amiss.

In presidential campaigns, there are candidates of “Reason”, and candidates of “Faith”. Kerry had all the facts on his side, yet he lost. and lost big.

End Game

Do you believe?

Schilling is Shilling for Bush?

It already seems like a dream—the Red Sox reversed the 86-year curse, by sweeping the World Series on Wednesday night, and I haven’t posted yet. I gotta say, it’s been a great thing for this town, and for its decades of great teams that just couldn’t win it all.

Schilling, Pedro, DLowe, Ortiz, Manny, Foulke… all heroes. Can’t wait to great them at the parade tomorrow.

But what is up with Schilling, shilling for Bush ? Someone needs to tell him that there are two Evil Empires—the Yankees, and the Bushies.

This is Kerry country, Curt. We love the way you pitch, and we put up with all your “I love Jesus” talk, but nobody cares if you’re for lowering your own taxes, and not everybody else’s. Keep that to yourself.

Apparently, his “doctors” instructed him to cancel the appearances with Bush in New Hampshire, today.

Wickid Smaaaht…

VP Debate: Edwards won, Cheney lied

UPDATE: Another funny note, if you go to the URL provided by Cheney in the debate last night, factcheck.com, it forwards to George Soros’ anti-Bush site. The Soros site claims not to be behind the re-direct, so some domain-squatter has a sense of humor.

As usual, kos, atrios and the other Liberal webloggers are fact-checking where the major media outlets will not. Here are some of Cheney’s assertions in the debate, and why they’re lies:

  • CHENEY: “Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you Senator Gone.”LIE
  • CHENEY: “You’ve got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate… I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session… The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”LIE and LIE
  • CHENEY: “Well, the reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they’re trying to throw up a smokescreen. They know the charges are false. They know that if you go, for example, to factcheck[.org], an independent Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details with respect to Halliburton.”LIE

Also, the DNC posted a 1-minute video, Cheney vs. Reality. Good to see the good guys punching back.

Kos also has a good round-up of reactions from the Liberal newspapers, and Salon calls out the Hardball crew on MSNBC.

Lazy, lazy media… they complain that webloggers aren’t always prudently journalistic, but it’s clear that they are better than reporters at digging up the facts.

Air America Radio in Boston

For you Boston-area readers, if you self-identify yourself as a Liberal, or if you’re an undecided, (I still don’t know how you could be), tune your car stereos to AM 1430 or 1200Air America Radio has come to Boston.

One stupid thing, is that the station doesn’t carry Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garofalo live. Because it’s on delay, you can’t call in with questions, as you listen.

Hmmm… since the station is owned by Clear Channel, and they have their own talent and shows… perhaps they are afraid to let Randi and Janeane compete with the home-grown crap?

I’d have to do some more research, but it looks pretty fishy…

Voter Registration Deadline

I just want to remind everyone to register to vote soon, if you’d like a say in the Presidential election on November 2nd.

The deadline here in Massachusetts is October 13, so print the registration form out, and mail in in by 10/13, if you live in the Bay state.

Also, there are lots of things to choose from on the ballot—if you want to be informed, I suggest looking over the Information for Voters 2004 packet.

If you live in another state, or you’re looking for more information, check out Jason Kottke’s initiative, Voters Information Guide for the 2004 US Election.

Oh, and remember, John Kerry needs every vote… I’m looking at you, New Hampshire…

My Electoral Nightmare

I was fooling around with this neat New York Times interactive Election Guide, and I inputted my predictions for how the states will vote in November.

This was my worst-case scenario, with Bush winning both Florida and Ohio… the result? TIED.

It’ll be the House of Representatives rather than the Supreme Court, this time around…

DNC – Tuesday plans

UPDATE: Lame… no celebrity sightings, but we snapped some pictures of the security perimeter, which I will post later.

We’re going to venture into the “protected” zone across the river tonight. Tbone describes his DNC outing last night, spotting Former CA Gov Gray Davis, and the less talented half of the celibrity fomerly known as “Ben-ifer”, Ben Affleck.

We watched a lot of the convention on CNN and C-SPAN last night. I keep waiting to see Wonkette on MTV, but there were Andy Dick re-runs on instead.

I miss Tabitha Soren

DNC Commute

My commute last night back to Boston was uneventful, (which seems to be the consensus). I think half our population was scared away by the DNC.

Helicopters are buzzing around our house, and since we live near the Charles river, we’ve noticed Coast Guard and Police boats patrolling the river in formation… a strange sight, given that on any given day you’d usually see small sailboats and rowing crews.

Boston is locked-down, but I feel safe. I think it’s unreasonable to expect that an event this size will ever be held again without tight security. Though I understand concerns about civil liberties and free speech, can you imagine how weak the Democrats would look if a terrorist attack happened at their Convention?

The image of State Police in riot gear is primarily a deterrent — the message is, “we’re ready”. If the police actually had to use that outfit, then I’d be worried.

Support the Kerry/Edwards ticket

Kerry/Edwards bumper stickerJohn Kerry made a great choice for his VP running mate — they will make a great team.

If you’re a supporter of Kerry/Edwards, they will give you a free bumper sticker, just for signing up with the campaign.

The downside is, they’ll email you a couple of times a week, (which some may find inundating). I think that’s a fair trade.

UPDATE: Incidentally, I did it, and when I hit submit, a page appeared saying “help us cover the cost of mailing this, won’t you?” So I felt guilty, and sent another $25 contribution.

The Reagan we aren’t seeing on TV

I suspect much of this country feels, as I do, that Ronald Reagan was not the saint that the radical Right would like us to believe. Still, the media coverage this past week has not only been gushingly positive, but also all-consuming.

While watching that carriage parade around for 4 hours last night, and suffering through Dick Cheney’s political eulogy, I kept thinking of the horrible things this guy was responsible for—and many of them meet my definition of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

  • He gave Iran weapons, laundered money through Saudi banks, and funneled the money to the death squads in central America, after Congress specifically passed a bill forbidding any help to the Contras.
  • He sold cocaine (see the report prepared by a certain Sen. John F. Kerry in the early 90s), to fund the death squads in central America. 500,000 people died in these wars.
  • He pulled us out of Beirut. And then, invaded Grenada like the next day, so he didn’t look like a total wuss. Islamic extremists cheered, and no one could figure out what the hell Granada did to warrant invasion. Bait and switch.
  • He created the homeless problem, and said that people “choose” to be homeless.

And yet, no articles of impeachment in eight years… don’t get me started on what they did to Clinton.

Free to Marry

At 12 midnight, same-sex marriages were given to couples at Cambridge City HallThe Bay State is now the first-in-the-nation to grant same-sex marriage licenses to couples, and I am proud to say that Our Fair City was the first – Cambridge City Hall at 12 midnight, May 18, 2004.

A couple of thousand people, joined together on the front lawn of City Hall, singing songs, holding supportive signs (My favorite was “yay!”), and clapping as each couple made their way up the stairs, and into the building…

It was really moving. Cheers everybody!

No school because of Bush Fundraiser

As if we need further evidence that the president is truly misguided, I read that today Mr. Bush has come to Boston for a fundraiser, forcing the Secret Service to shut down several city streets.

As Mr. Bush collects checks at $2000 a head, for one hour of work, a K-8 public school was forced on 1-day notice to cancel classes today because they “could not guarantee timely pick-up of students at dismissal time.”

This seems shameful for the “No-child-left-behind” President, who is himself the son of the so-called “education” President…

But, maybe I should look at this from the point of view of the students — they got a day off from school. Are the Republicans are trying to ingratiate themselves to our little ones, by cancelling school for a day?

$25 is all it takes…

John KerryI just gave John Kerry $25.

I ended up giving Howard Dean a not-insignificant amount of money, (at least to me), and I feel it was money well spent. I’m going to do so for John Kerry each month.

You should, too. Bush is on the attack.

Intern-gate, Non-existent

So, the general consensus around seems to be that the Kerry/Intern story reported by Drudge (and pointed out below), seems to not hold water.

  • Wonkette says that the woman in question is returning to the States soon
  • dKos thinks the fact that mainstream media hasn’t picked up the story, is a good sign
  • Even cranky Slate had a humorous reaction today
  • Salon takes Drudge to task
  • And the Philadelphia Daily News is cautioning about rumors

In fact, the British press not withstanding, I’m happy to see Big Media using some restraint on this issue. If only I could keep from freaking out on my weblog.

Intern-gate, Revisited

Matt Drudge is reporting the following:


In an off-the-record conversation with a dozen reporters earlier this week, General Wesley Clark plainly stated: ‘Kerry will implode over an intern issue’…

Kerry commotion is why Howard Dean has turned increasingly aggressive against Kerry in recent days, and is the key reason why Dean reversed his decision not to drop out of the race after Wisconsin, top campaign sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT….

A serious investigation of the woman and the nature of her relationship with Sen. John Kerry has been underway at TIME magazine, ABC NEWS, the WASHINGTON POST and the ASSOCIATED PRESS, where the woman in question once worked…

It’s time for Howard Dean to grow up and run a real campaign. We need someone to rescue this party.