Saturday, November 06, 2004


When I die, I want to die like my grandfather--who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car."

--Author Unknown

Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children"

--Author Unknown

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."

--Dave Barry

"My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim."

--Paula Poundstone

"A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: 'Duh'... "

-Conan O'Brien

"You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'"

--Dave Barry


Experts weigh in with their predictions.
North Korea will force the pace," said Peter Hayes, executive director at the Nautilus Institute, a U.S. think tank for global security.

Bush will either raise the ante and take greater risks, or make a de facto acceptance of Pyongyang's nuclear status and leave it to regional powers to manage the mess left behind from this nonproliferation failure, he said.
Does North Korea really want to "force the pace?" Unless P'yongyang sincerely believes that Bush will cave, it seems to me that virtually every likely scenario of forcing the pace ends in an outcome that is worse for North Korea.
Washington's tougher stance toward Pyongyang will deal a blow to Seoul, which has sought reconciliation with Pyongyang through economic assistance, experts said.

Kim Sung-han, a researcher at the state-funded Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, said that "North Korea is likely to wait until the formation of a new U.S. security team next March or April."

Sejong Institute researcher Lee Tai-hwan said that Bush will use a mixture of containment and engagement toward Pyongyang, using China.

Bush's reelection will increase the role of South Korea and other neighboring countries in solving the crisis, he added.
So, Washington's presumed "tougher stance" will "deal a blow to Seoul" by increasing South Korea's role in solving the crisis? Of course these are different "experts" making different predictions.
Korea University professor Hahm Sung-deuk said, "Bush has placed much weight on Japan's role in regional security, and his reelection will accelerate the trend."

Analysts, meanwhile, expect no major change in the relationship between Seoul and Washington.

The Bush administration has already handled such major issues as dispatch of South Korean troops to Iraq and realignment of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, they said.

They said that Korean troops in Iraq will be pressured to extend their stay there, leaving Seoul with few options in order to maintain ties with Washington


An articulate expression of one voter's agonizing decision to vote for Bush (via Instapundit). I don't agree on all of the particulars but I do agree on the general sentiment. A snippet (but I really do recommend that you read the whole thing):
I tried so hard to give you guys a chance. I'm young, I'm not extremely religious, and I'm supportive of liberal ideals like fighting for higher wages, stopping outsourcing of jobs, and standing up for the little guy. I wanted to vote Democratic this time, more than I can possibly put into words. You just didn't give me the option.

President Bush won on values, yes, but not hatred of gays or any other stereotype you have in your head about Bush voters like me.

He won because he has values, clearly defined values, and even though I agree with little of what he believes, at least I know what he believes. At least I know that he really does believe in something. At least I know that he will do what he says he will do.

That's disgustingly little, but unbelievably – you offered me less.

Friday, November 05, 2004


It appears to be an article of faith in many circles that the invasion of Iraq has been a "failure" (just do a Google search of Iraq + failure and you'll see what I mean). If I were in charge, I don't think I would have pushed so aggressively to invade Iraq. But now that the invasion has taken place, I have often wondered what people mean when they declare the invasion to have failed. What, to borrow a Rumsfeldism, is the metric one uses in differentiating between success and failure of a military operation and/or post-military operation occupation? If Iraq is a failure, what constitutes "success?" What are some historical examples of a success? I'm not sure if I have a clear idea of how I would answer this question. But I'm sure there are those with more intelligence and experience that will be able to help me out here.


As a fan of urban legends and their wackier cousins conspiracy theories, I got a kick out of this collection of Karl Rove conspiracies. Highlights:
A mystical adept of Rosicrucianism, Rove is actually several hundred years old and at one time acted as counsel to King Louis XI of France, whom he instructed to vanquish Charles the Reckless, and to set up the first western printing press is Strasburg—thereby ensuring the mass distribution of the very Bible that would one day lead directly to George W Bush’s re-election.

As a young Reagan operative in the early 80s, Rove ran crack cocaine and guns into the Watts section of California and was known to local gang leaders only by his street name, “Keyser Söze”.
Acting on behalf of Dick Cheney and Halliburton, Rove ordered the assassination of 3 Stanford engineering students who had perfected the first-ever renewable energy automobile, which ran on boiling water and Maple and Brown Sugar-flavored Cream of Wheat. Then, in a ritual ceremony, Rove burned the blueprints while drinking the students’ blood (mixed with bourbon and Maraschino cherry juice).

In ancient Aramaic, “Rove” translates roughly as “Mossad.”
Parody or reality? Only Karl Rove knows for certain.


Seeing Eye Blog points to this Hankyoreh editorial which warns of "Western Gods Possessing the Children." A snippet:
Suddenly children are being possessed by "Western gods." Some of the children in Gangnam were overtaken by the Halloween craze. Somewhere along the line there has been an increasingly solid trend to believe in the "special days of Western children" such as Valentines Day and White Day. Traditional play culture has disappeared and "things Western" are gradually taking its place. It's not something that can be accepted as a natural phenomenon on the way to "globalization."
Halloween I can undertsand and sympathize with (although I'm not sure whether it is commercialization or sugar addiction that is to blame). But "White Day?" Can't say that I've heard of it. Why is this so? Perhaps because it isn't a "Western" holiday at all, but rather a Japanese one (albeit a Japanese response to the Western St. Valentine's Day tradition). "Western gods" indeed!


Isn't everything their fault anyway? (via Tim Blair).

mmmm ... bamboo! Posted by Hello


of red states vs. blue states and red countries vs. blue countries abound. Here's an amusing twist:

Divided North America? Posted by Hello

Just in case anyone might misinterpret the above as an indication of a belief that those who voted for Kerry are un-American or un-patriotic (or whatever), let me in no uncertain terms avow that I do NOT believe this. The map below is a much better indicator of the reality: Americans across the country voted for their preferred candidate alongside other Americans who preferred the other guy. Nothing could be more American.

closer to the reality Posted by Hello

UPDATE: Perhaps this map will better convey they point I was trying to make with the above map. The winner take all system we have obscures the fact that there are many blue staters in red states and vice versa.

Purple states Posted by Hello


I find most talk of a mandate or the lack of it to be rather foolish. There is no constitutional provision that differentiates a 51-49 electoral victory from a 75-25 one. Do 3.5 million more votes mean Bush has a mandate? I don't really know. Judged by historical standards, Bush's victory would seem to be rather slim.


Ann Althouse offers an interesting and sympathetic interpretation of THK's behavior during the campaign.
Who knows what was really going on, but if I were writing a screenplay, fictionalizing her story, I would say that she was still deeply in love with her husband who died, that she even agreed with his (Republican) politics, and that the whole campaign was for her a horror show. She (the fictionalized Teresa) tried to stand by her vows to the man she had married, at the expense of great personal pain. I would write that he (the fictionalized Kerry) really loved her and wanted to help her, but had to put the campaign first and had to work with his advisors, even though he knew they cared nothing for her personally -- she was just a whining rich bitch to them -- and only heartlessly damned her for not living up to the responsibility to be a political asset, a responsibility that the other candidate's wife fulfilled brilliantly.
Read the whole thing.


According to Greg Palast, "Kerry won." How does he know? Exit polls:
Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.
Exit polls? I'd trust them about as much as I trust IQ scores.

UPDATE: Some more reactions to the election that don't necessarily demonstrate denial but rather .... well, I'm not actually quite sure what they demonstrate. Anyway, here are some photos of a post-election rally in San Francisco (warning: foul language). I'm sure there is a nuanced explanation why threatening to attack a local McDonalds is a proper response to a Bush victory.

And here is the venerable Joan Baez channeling a "fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas" in a way that I can only hope that most polite company would deem as offensive. (hat tip to Dean's World for both links)

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Check out this chart of the average IQ's of states who voted for Kerry vs. those who voted for Bush in the election. Interesting, if one assumes that IQ really means anything. So the problem is not merely the people, it is the stupid people. What a lovely democratic, egalitarian sentiment. Luckily for me, I live in the smartest of the red states.

UPDATE: An alert reader points to the fact that Bill Well, apparently the person who posted the chart in the first place, has apologized:
As this has gotten a bit out of hand, I feel, and the editors feel, that I should take responsibility for posting this thing and clarify my reasons and intents about using what is clearly suspect data in the first place.

It was irresponsible of me to post this chart in this format and I apologize to the American Assembler and it's readers for having done so. It was never my intent for anyone to take this seriously and I erred in judgment in not realizing that people would. Even if this chart is not a hoax, as it most probably is, it was inappropriate to post it for it is simply offensive.

I have to say that I did not invent this chart. It's been floating around for years. All I did was dress it up a bit. But I regret posting it and I regret the fallacious distraction it's caused from the real issues presented on this site. And yes, I even apologize to Republicans for implying they are stupid. Some people around here still think there's hope for you all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Eric Alterman explains the election:
Let’s face it. It’s not Kerry’s fault. It’s not Nader’s fault (this time). It’s not the media’s fault (though they do bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It’s not “our” fault either. The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.
A long rant about how the people "don't care" about a variety of deep and important issues follows. Then, a quote from one Charles Pierce:
As Mo Udall once put it, the people have spoken, goddamn them.
"The people" can be so annoying sometimes. They should just listen to their superiors and not get any foolish notions that they are actually capable of judging candidates and weighing issues that are important to them. Sigh.


Blogger appears to have been down for much of the day, thus robbing me of the ability to provide dozens of profound and scintillating insights on the election. Alas! Still, a few are worth making:

Jeff Jarvis has a pledge I think I can live by:
I promise to... Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him..... Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him..... Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.... Unite as a nation, putting country over party, as we work together to make America better.

Ed Moltzen points to another undisputed win that took place yesterday:
Election Day has come and gone.

No terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Kerry made a gracious concession speech. All the more important for the timing. I'm glad that he decided not to draw out the process unnecessarily. Unlike, I'm sad to note, his running mate:
One senior Democrat familiar with the discussions in Boston said Kerry's running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, was suggesting that he shouldn't concede.

The official said Edwards, a trial lawyer, wanted to make sure all options were explored and that Democrats pursued them as thoroughly as Republicans would if the positions were reversed.

Exit polls, especially early one, have proven to be next to useless. When will we resist the temptation to read any significance into them?

The chimerical youth vote actually did turn out this time, but so did unprecedented numbers of other voters which diluted the strength of the new young voters. Better luck next time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


No surprises yet.
--The early afternoon exit polls appear to have been dramatically wrong in at least some cases.
--Some polling data seems to point to the fact that the famed youth vote has not materialized (again). Says Daily Kos, "That's what's killing us." Still need to wait and see before saying for sure.
--Ohio looks like the crucial state. Will we ever know?

UPDATE (11:40 pm). Susan Estrich just channeled Kerry folks arguing that the urban counties and districts in Ohio have yet to weigh in. She claims Kerry will win Ohio. And, assuming Bush wins Florida, it will boil down to Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Mexico.

UPDATE II (11:50) Some networks call Florida for Bush. Now all eyes turn to Ohio.

UPDATE III: (11:55) James Carville: "Kerry needs to draw an inside straight . . . Bush has the superior hand"

UPDATE IV: (12:40) Fox News just called Ohio for Bush. Time will tell whether this is a premature call as was the case in 2000. If you want to see just when which network called which state, see here.

UPDATE V: (1:00 am) Fox News just called Alaska for Bush. If these picks hold up, the worst Bush could do is tie. Still, given potential lawsuits etc., I'm not sure that this thing is over.

UPDATE VI: (1:30 am) Kerry staffers are gamely holding on, unwilling to concede Ohio yet. My hope now is that the Bush surge in Iowa continues and Bush wins in New Mexico and Nevada. This might make Ohio less vital to finishing this whole thing off. Nope. He would need Wisconsin as well.

UPDATE VII: (1:50 am) CNN declares Ohio to be a "green state": too close to call. Lots of talk all over the cable news networks about lawyers, provisional ballots, waiting at least ten days. Please no! Now talk of demanding recounts in Ohio and Iowa. NOOOOOOOO! I do not want to see this country go through another 2000.

UPDATE VIII: (2:25 am) John Edwards is speaking, apparently to declare that there is no way they will give up until "every vote is counted." "We will fight for every vote, you deserve no less." All well and good, but Bush is up by 125,000 votes in Ohio (with 97% of precincts reporting).

UPDATE LAST (3:04 AM) I can barely stay awake. I keep waiting for one more state to be called (Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada). Doesn't look as if we'll get any closure this morning. So au revoir for now.


to cross my in-box.

This one connected to my non-existent paypal account:
Dear Paypal valued member,

Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the paypal account we have issued this warning message.

It has come to our attention that your account information needs to be updated due to inactive members, frauds and spoof reports. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and renew your records you will not run into any future problems with the online service. However, failure to update your records will result in account suspension This notification expires on Novmeber 4, 2004.

Once you have updated your account records your paypal account service will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

Please follow the link below and login to your account and renew your account information

[URL deleted]

Paypal customer department!

It isn't exactly like this one, but since I don't have a PayPal account, I think I'll chalk this one up as a hoax as well.


Had to wait more than half an hour to get into the polling place. Every other time I have voted there, I've been able to stroll right it. On the other hand, this is the first time I've voted there in a presidential election. Kerry signs around the polling place outnumbered Bush by a considerable margin. Two girls sporting Bush/Cheney buttons stood outside (the requisite 40 feet away) passing out sample ballots. No Kerry volunteers to be seen. The line of voters was mostly quiet; friends would chat briefly and resume their places in line. Both Bush and Kerry buttons were to be seen, but both were far outnumbered by people unencumbered with campaign paraphernalia.

Inside, the voting was orderly and without incident. Everyone was required to show photo ID and state their legal name and address. No hovering lawyers or observers to be seen anywhere. Then again, Spotsylvania County, Virginia isn't exactly a swing district.

All in all, it was a good experience. Citizens taking their responsibilities seriously. None of the anger, accusations, and recriminations so present in the blogosphere and on tv.

For all of the problems, past, present, and future, this is still a remarkable political system we have.

God Bless America!

Monday, November 01, 2004


Take this quiz (if you dare). I found it to be surprisingly difficult.

A 50-50 SENATE?

Kos thinks this is a likely result (and has the state-by-state analysis to prove it).

Long live gridlock!


The latest intellectual luminary to weigh in on Iraq? Patrick Swayze. Here's what the Dirty Dancing star had to say:
US film star Patrick Swayze in Warsaw Thursday criticized the United States for not respecting local sensitivities in Iraq, and said he wanted to go and support the troops there but feared being killed.
And how does he know what he knows about the region?
"I know a great deal about the Middle East because I've been raising Arabian horses for over 20 years, I've researched the culture for most of my life."
Folks, you can't make this stuff up.


Another reason I hope the election results are clear is so I can get off my partisan high-horse (low horse?) and get back to normal living. But not today.

Every time I hear John Kerry spout his "we had Osama bin Laden trapped in Tora Bora but then we outsourced the job to Afghan warlords" line, my blood starts to boil. Why?

Here is what John Kerry had to say at the time about the U.S. strategy he now criticizes:
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I think our guys are doing a superb job. I think we've had, things break for us, the way, one would want them to, but in addition, I think the people you just heard, they are trained, they are ready. I think we have been smart, I think the administration leadership has done it well and we are on right track.

And when asked whether American troops should go in to Tora Bora with napalm and flamethrowers, Kerry said this:
"But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.

John Kerry, the best Monday-morning quarterback to ever lace up the cleats and play on Lambert field.

I might be inclined to give Kerry's argument some more credence if he would have
1) Acknowledged that his opinion has changed and, therefore, what he said in 2001 was mistaken.
2) Come out clearly in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan either at the time or now. Ditto for Iraq and Kerry's criticism of the missing explosives. The only way I can see that one can lay this at Bush's doorstep is to argue that Bush listened to Rumsfeld rather than Shinseki et al and the relative lack of troops is responsible for missing OBL in Tora Bora and the missing explosives in Iraq. But does Kerry advocate sending more troops to the Middle East? No. He has gone out of his way to make it clear that he won't (remember the convention speech in which he called for 40,000 more troops but "not for Iraq."). So what is the point of criticizing Bush for doing what you approved of at the time and have declared that you will continue to do in the future?


Osama bin Laden is (obviously) still alive. This means my statements made here and here (and probably other places as well) were the incorrect result of wishful thinking. Mea Culpa.

The vast majority of the American electorate do not vote based on a thorough weighing and understanding of all the issues. Rather, they vote based on gut instinct. This works either because people's gut instincts are correct more often than not (there is some evidence to back this up: I read about a study in which college students were shown a 30-second video clip of a professor teaching and were then asked to evaluate how effective they thought said professor was. The evaluations correlated closely with the end-of-semester evaluations given by students who took a course from the same professor. First and/or gut impressions seem to get it right much of the time) or because our system is set up in such a way that there are usually no apocalpytically bad choices. Therefore, whatever the people choose, things will work out, more or less.

Historians are bad prognosticators and I'm proabably on the low end of my cohort. Still, for what it is worth, I predict that John Kerry will win the 2004 election. Why?
--gut instinct (see above)
--Kerry supporters (or more correctly, anti-Bush supporters) seem somehow to be more committed and determined to see their cause succeed.
--Most media accounts indicate that the Democrats have done a better job of recruiting new voters to register. Of course some (most?) of these won't actually vote, but enough will probably do so to make the difference in key battleground states.
--Elections in which the incumbent did not have at least 50% of the vote in public opinion polls usually end up breaking for the challenger.
--The Washington Redskins lost to the Green Bay Packers. When the Redskins win the game on the Sunday before election day, the incumbent wins. When they lose, the incumbent loses (and if anyone actually believes that has anything to do with anything, I strongly recommend that you consult your horoscope more closely than you already do; here's mine for today:
"You're willing to do anything and everything for your career -- and well you should. It's prime time to get things done, get noticed and reap the appropriate rewards. You go!."

I hope that whatever the election outcome that the results are clear and decisive. Legal challenges to electoral results do not help the long-term legitimacy and viability of the Republic.


Hours before I took my kids trick or treating yesterday evening, I was sitting on South Beach looking at this:

south beach Posted by Hello

Breathtakingly beautiful water; warm wind; white sand. Very nice. I was in town for a conference hosted at the young but hungry and quite impressive Florida International University.

A quick summary of the conclusions of the conference: the gains made in the so-called third wave of democracy are real and impressive, particularly in Latin America and parts of Asia. But, as the debate shifts from "should country x be democratic?" to "what kind of electoral system should country x have?" things get more murky and ambiguous. In some places (Venezuela) reactionary forces have figured out how to game the system to obtain and maintain power. In others, powerful wealthy elites co-opt the system. In others still (South Korea?) it remains an open question whether democracy will retain its luster if it fails to deliver the economic goods. Looming above all of this is China and, to a lesser extent, Russia, which may present an alternative model of market authoritarianism for would-be state- and nation-builders to think about imitating.

Random thoughts about south Florida (my first trip):
--far more Kerry-Edwards signs and buttons than Bush-Cheney ones.
--I do not understand the certainty with which one can say (as I heard it said this weekend) "Gore won Florida in 2000." "Gore may have won Florida" is fine with me. "In my opinion, Gore won Florida, but well-meaning people can disagree" is better. "Florida ended in a tie" is better still.
--South Beach on Halloween-eve is an interesting place, to say the least.
--I heard (and saw) far more Spanish than English.
--Saturday was the first time in years that all three big Florida football teams--Miami, FSU, Florida--lost on the same day. I could scarcely contain my glee, but maintained a diplomatic silence whenever the subject might have arisen.


I cut the grass last Thursday evening. So, for a few brief hours, the lawn was free from leaves in pristine emerald glory. But all that had changed by the next morning:

the morning after Posted by Hello

and even more by this morning.

three days later Posted by Hello

Still, I'll take the early days of autumn over any other time of year:

autumn in full force Posted by Hello

And, finally, the fruits of my children's skill and creativity (better than anything I've ever created on Oct. 31)

happy halloween Posted by Hello


via learning to fly

kerry Posted by Hello

bush Posted by Hello

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