« August 2004 October 2004 »




Here's part of a screenshot of cnn.com from immediately after tonight's debate:

Why, you might ask, is someone from VH1 being linked next to stalwart pundits like Begala and Novak on CNN's front page in the immediate aftermath of one of the campaign's biggest events? I don't fucking have a clue. The link goes to the blog of one Jessi Klein, which contains this editor's note:

VH1 Best Week Ever's Jessi Klein is providing a lighter take on the debate this evening through this CNN.com blog. Follow along as she shares her observations and insight into the political process tonight.

Klein, for her part, says this, among other things:

Overall, I think Kerry had the edge over Bush in this debate. He didn't seem too flip-floppy, he was clear and concise, and his haircut was pretty decent.

Bush, on the other hand, seemed pretty baffled for a lot of it, and there were some moments when he paused for so long before speaking that I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

Watching Bush talk always gives me that feeling like when you're watching an alcoholic uncle give a toast at a wedding - you're just kind of hoping he'll get through it without messing up too bad, but he inevitably does.

None of this takes away from the fact that I still can't picture John Kerry and Teresa actually kissing.

Fuck you, CNN. Fuck you, VH1, for not getting Viacom to step in and stop this inter-corporate madness. Fuck you, news-consuming public for going back over and over to the same poisoned troughs. And fuck you, Jessi Klein, for this:

The most important thing is, please remember to vote, and for Pete's sake, if you're one of those undecided voters, would you please get over yourself and make a choice already? It can't be that hard.

Your feigned impartiality sickens me, and is enabling these undecided morons to remain the focus of the able-minded among us. Get bent.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... TV ... Permalink ...
Comments (12)




After The Daily Show won a Peabody award for its coverage of the 2000 Presidential election, there was a lot of "Man Bites Dog"-style reaction from the mainstream press. This year, the novelty factor is gone, replaced by propagandic moralizing about how terrible the state of our discourse must be that a comedy show ranks so highly in it. Ted Koppel took Jon Stewart to task on Nightline for making light of serious stuff, only to have Stewart return fire, accusing the mainstream press of, at best, a lack of due diligence in its reporting; Koppel ended the interview at that point.

But Stewart, for his part, fails to live up to his responsibility at times, too. The show does its best work when standing in for reporters unwilling to report facts that are inconsistent with party talking points; it's at its worst in the live interviews, when Stewart is most likely to roll over and let his guest issue those same talking points without confrontation. Stewart is clearly not a Bush supporter, but also seems to be disenchanted with, at least, the leadership of the Democratic Party. I'm sure many of us can understand this, but we're not in Stewart's unique position. And so it is that Zephyr Teachout (late of the Dean campaign) and friends have launched Dear Jon Stewart, a petition and letter-writing site that aims to get Stewart to formally endorse John Kerry for President. I have no idea if this can really work, but I feel confident that it will eventually get to Stewart's eyes, which is all you can hope for. I urge you to sign it, because this endorsement is probably more important than any other press endorsement this year, and because ultimately, it'll only take ten seconds out of your day. Go.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Still waiting on that replacement router; calling Belkin tonight to bitch them out. Will hopefully have pictures of Kerry rally up later. Trying to launch a side-project blog to discuss political communication research.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Administration ... Permalink




Did you know that on September 9 & 10, 14 Governors received exploding envelopes? Unless you read the New York Times, you did not.

Envelopes containing matches that were rigged to ignite when opened have been received through the mail at the offices of at least 14 state governors in the last two days.

The mailings, under investigation by the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, bear a return address that names two inmates at a maximum-security prison in Nevada. But a Nevada corrections official said it was unclear whether they were the actual senders.

Aides to several governors, including Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, said they had been told by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the case was being treated as one of domestic terrorism, and Jennifer Meith, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Fire Marshal's Office, said that was her understanding as well.


The governors who were sent the envelopes are Democrats and Republicans alike. In addition to Mr. Romney, of Massachusetts, and Ms. Martz, of Montana, they are George E. Pataki of New York, Rick Perry of Texas, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Gary Locke of Washington, Olene S. Walker of Utah, Bill Owens of Colorado, Theodore R. Kulongoski of Oregon, Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, Kenny Guinn of Nevada, Linda Lingle of Hawaii and Janet Napolitano of Arizona.

Thank Vishnu we've got these ridiculous memo stories to keep us from having to think about this stuff.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Orange America ... Permalink




Once I was guarding my uncle's flock of sheep and a wolf came to attack them. I summoned the townspeople, but the wolf was gone by the time they arrived. Four years later, it happened again. And like clockwork, the wolf returned yesterday. So I can really feel for this guy.

A Republican family attended the rally to show support for the Bush-Cheney ticket. Phil Parlock, a Barboursville resident and strong Republican, said his family was accosted by some Kerry supporters.

"We do it peacefully and quietly to show respect. And, we don�t want to get kicked out of anything," Parlock said.

After standing on the tarmac with the Kerry supporters, Parklock and three of his children moved down to the airport road near a parking lot exit.

With Parlock were sons Phil II, 21, and Alex, 11, and daughter Sophia, 3.

Parlock said a Kerry supporter yanked a Bush-Cheney sign out of Sophia�s hands, making her cry. As they stood along the road later, someone threw the ripped-up remains of the sign at them as they passed.

And wouldn't you know it, this is the third straight Presidential election in which this poor guy and his family have been so violated by Democrats. In 1996:

Phil Parlock's experience was less calm.

The Huntington man said he was knocked to the ground by a Clinton supporter when he tried to display a sign that read "Remember Vince Foster," the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in a Washington, D.C., park.

And 2000:

But each time they raised a sign, someone would grab it out of their hands, the two Huntington residents said. And sometimes it got physical.

"I expected some people to take our signs," said Louis, 12. "But I did not expect people to practically attack us."

Oh, that poor, poor man.

[Via Rising Hegemon and Eschaton.]

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




So, our Belkin wireless router just died. It still operates as a switch for wired machines on the LAN, but won't connect to the Internet, won't let me get to the web-based control interface and won't put out a wireless signal. Also, for some reason the power light doesn't work, even though the LAN connectivity lights do.

I called Belkin tech support, fully aware that they would neither understand nor care that I had already tested everything. Eventually, the guy asks me to go into the network settings for my computer.

ME: OK, I'm there.

BELKIN GUY: What address has been assigned by DHCP? [DHCP, or Dynamic Host Control Protocol, is the program through which servers assign addresses to computers on a network automatically.]

ME: I'm using static IP's. [Static IP's are manually assigned addresses that supercede DHCP.]

BG: (Pause) Why are you doing that? [Seriously, he was dumbfounded, like I'd told him my server was still running on punchcards.]

ME: I find it to be more reliable than DHCP. [It's true -- DHCP doesn't work well with Appletalk in my experience, and it's easier to get the computers on the network to interact using static IP's.]

BG: Well, what address is assigned?

ME: [That's an internal-only address, so don't even bother.]

BG: Hm. Well, I was going to have you assign a static IP anyway, so let's try switching to DHCP.

So, he was going to switch over to static, then was so shocked that I was already using static that he had to demand an explanation. What? Yeah. The upshot is, the router's totally screwed and they're sending a new one in "5-7 business days."

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Technophunk ... Permalink




Because I'm bored, here are several things you won't be hearing George Bush say during this campaign:

  • "Compassionate conservative"
  • "A uniter, not a divider"
  • "I was so moved by what I saw at that young soldier's funeral"
  • "Mission accomplished"
  • "Bring 'em on"
  • "Mullah Omar"
  • "Osama bin Laden"

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




It's been a crazy week with school starting up again, but this caught my eye enough to post.

But that's what the internals of the latest Gallup poll tell us. Prior to the Republican convention, Kerry had a one point lead among RVs (47-46) in the battleground states. After the Republican convention, now that battleground voters have had a chance to take a closer look at what Bush and his party really stand for, Kerry leads by 5 in these same states (50-45)! Note that Kerry gained three points among battleground voters, while Bush actually got a negative one point bounce.

And wait--there's more! The Gallup poll's internals also show that Kerry continues to lead among independents (49-46) and that both parties' partisans are equally polarized for their respective candidates (90-7). Note that these findings directly contradict the results of the recent Newsweek poll, which showed Bush doing much better among Republican partisans than Kerry was doing among Democratic partisans. Note also that, given the equal polarization of partisans and Kerry's lead among independents, the only possible reason Bush has any lead at all among Gallup's RVs must be because their sample has a GOP advantage on party ID (my guess is 5 points) that is inconsistent with almost all other polling data from this campaign season.

The continued focus on national polls -- and oftimes three-way national polls -- astonishes me. I know the press corps are stupid, but even they know the real story lies in the state-by-state races.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




It's amazing how sometimes lines can get crossed in this crazy old information age. This message just somehow popped into my inbox:

From: ubljihad@gmail.com
To: president@whitehouse.gov
Date: Friday, September 3, 2004 09:48
Subject: WTF?!?

Man, I thought we had something together. But then I tuned in for your speech tonight and not even one name drop? Are you kidding? I made you, dude! You remember what you were doing before I put you on the map? You were taking a month-long vacation to think about stem cells, you tool! (BTW, I'm right with you on that one.) Without me, you'd never have gotten to throw down in Iraq, and that's no good for either of us. We've both wanted that dickhead Saddam out of the way for years.

But how about a little appreciation? You know, I've been in the jihad game a long time and I've paid so many dues trying to get noticed. I even bombed some of your imperialist boats during your election, figuring that whoever won would have to give me some legitimacy. Instead you waste time making up stories about vandalism by that adulterer Clinton? When I finally did get your attention it was great for a while. It was "crush the evildoers" this and "they hate our freedom" that. And "Operation: Infinite Justice?" Or calling it a "crusade?" Brilliant! Do you know how great that was for recruiting? I bet you don't -- it's only been in about five PDB memos. J/K! :)

I guess I should have known it wouldn't last, though. I had a lot of fun with the stuff you made up early on, like when you said you ran around the country like a "girly man" (I've been using that one a lot lately, thank Arnold for me) because you said Air Force One was a prime target. Then the duct tape stuff -- I have a couple of those 1001 Things to Do With Duct Tape books, they don't say anything about stopping anthrax, my man. But when you started talking about Iraq all the damn time, the writing was on the wall. I know you only have room in your life for one arch-enemy, and I guess I can understand why you'd pick the obviously weaker option, but can't I get something? What if I was your nemesis? I know Michael Moore was angling for that spot, but I really think I'm the more qualified man. Think about it. And hey, next time you give a speech, think about how you got where you are today. Respect is due.


Yep, it sure is a wacky Internet.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




The Kerry campaign's Grand Rapids, MI, office got a cinder block thrown through its window on Tuesday. This is what the local GOP jerk-off had to say:

Kim Yob, chairwoman of the Kent County Republican Party, said she was sorry to hear of the vandalism but dismissed the possibility of any Republicans being involved.

"We're not yelling at Democrats, telling them we hate them," said Yob, who The Grand Rapids Press contacted at the Republican National Convention. "But out here in New York, these (protesters) are out of control. I'm walking down the street and some people were screaming, "I hate Republicans."'

Can't these assholes just say, "That's unfortunate and certainly not the sort of thing that should be infecting American democracy?" It's like listening to that asshole Scott McClellan turn any question about the Swift Boat Assholes into a chance to lash out at MoveOn.org.

How long is it going to take rank and file Republicans to notice that their party has been hijacked by assholes, and that every election just makes the hole that much deeper? George Bush. Dick Cheney. Tom DeLay. Dennis Hastert. Trent Lott. Bill Frist. Karl Rove. Assholes.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink