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

Narrows

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.

[via]

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

Local

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.

National

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.

Statistics

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%

No.

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.

Values

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 trained Osama on how to beat a super­pow­er in Afghanistan.
  • 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:

Kerry is screwed, and he's screwed our partyCAMPAIGN DRAMA ROCKS DEMOCRATSKERRY FIGHTS OFF MEDIA PROBE OF RECENT ALLEGED INFIDELITY, RIVALS PREDICT RUIN.

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.