« October 2004 December 2004 »




We bought a Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-P73) at Best Buy today, then bugged out and bought a bunch of basically free blank CD-R and DVD-R media at Office Max. This came after a ridiculous sidetrack to Radio Shack, where we wanted a Casio Exilim EX-Z4 until we found out it was "mismarked" and they wouldn't give us the "wrong" price.

We also picked up a little straw hat for Franny -- just 29¢! Unfortunately, she had to be, let's say, coerced into wearing it. Oh well.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink




posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




Included in an omnibus foreign expenditure bill passed by Congress this weekend was money to repurchase the USS Sequoia, the Presidential yacht that was gotten rid of during the Carter Administration. Meanwhile, everything from education to interest payments on the federal deficit to military body armor is being underfunded. Members of Congress who voted for this imperial party barge and whose constituents read this site include:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
  • Rep. Jerry Kleczka (D-WI)
  • Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI)
  • Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
  • Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI)
  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)
  • Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)

As an added bonus, minority "leaders" Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle both voted for it as well.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink ...
Comments (1)




Black Box Voting found the fraud in Florida.

TUESDAY NOV 16 2004: Volusia County on lockdown

County election records just got put on lockdown

Dueling lawyers, election officials gnashing teeth, Votergate.tv film crew catching it all.

Here's what happened so far:

Friday Black Box Voting investigators Andy Stephenson and Kathleen Wynne popped in to ask for some records. They were rebuffed by an elections official named Denise. Bev Harris called on the cell phone from investigations in downstate Florida, and told Volusia County Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe that Black Box Voting would be in to pick up the Nov. 2 Freedom of Information request, or would file for a hand recount. "No, Bev, please don't do that!" Lowe exclaimed. But this is the way it has to be, folks. Black Box Voting didn't back down.

Monday Bev, Andy and Kathleen came in with a film crew and asked for the FOIA request. Deanie Lowe gave it over with a smile, but Harris noticed that one item, the polling place tapes, were not copies of the real ones, but instead were new printouts, done on Nov. 15, and not signed by anyone.

Harris asked to see the real ones, and they said for "privacy" reasons they can't make copies of the signed ones. She insisted on at least viewing them (although refusing to give copies of the signatures is not legally defensible, according to Berkeley elections attorney, Lowell Finley). They said the real ones were in the County Elections warehouse. It was quittin' time and an arrangment was made to come back this morning to review them.

Lana Hires, a Volusia County employee who gained some notoriety in an election 2000 Diebold memo, where she asked for an explanation of minus 16,022 votes for Gore, so she wouldn't have to stand there "looking dumb" when the auditor came in, was particularly unhappy about seeing the Black Box Voting investigators in the office. She vigorously shook her head when Deanie Lowe suggested going to the warehouse.

Kathleen Wynne and Bev Harris showed up at the warehouse at 8:15 Tuesday morning, Nov. 16. There was Lana Hires looking especially gruff, yet surprised. She ordered them out. Well, they couldn't see why because there she was, with a couple other people, handling the original poll tapes. You know, the ones with the signatures on them. Harris and Wynne stepped out and Volusia County officials promptly shut the door.

There was a trash bag on the porch outside the door. Harris looked into it and what do you know, but there were poll tapes in there. They came out and glared at Harris and Wynne, who drove away a small bit, and then videotaped the license plates of the two vehicles marked 'City Council' member. Others came out to glare and soon all doors were slammed.

So, Harris and Wynne went and parked behind a bus to see what they would do next. They pulled out some large pylons, which blocked the door. Harris decided to go look at the garbage some more while Wynne videotaped. A man who identified himself as "Pete" came out and Harris immediately wrote a public records request for the contents of the garbage bag, which also contained ballots -- real ones, but not filled out.

A brief tug of war occurred, tearing the garbage bag open. Harris and Wynne then looked through it, as Pete looked on. He was quite friendly.

Black Box Voting collected various poll tapes and other information and asked if they could copy it, for the public records request. "You won't be going anywhere," said Pete. "The deputy is on his way."

Yes, not one but two police cars came up and then two county elections officials, and everyone stood around discussing the merits of the "black bag" public records request.

The police finally let Harris and Wynne go, about the time the Votergate.tv film crew arrived, and everyone trooped off to the elections office. There, the plot thickened.

Black Box Voting began to compare the special printouts given in the FOIA request with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold, some were missing. By this time, Black Box Voting investigator Andy Stephenson had joined the group at Volusia County. Some polling place tapes didn't match. In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans.

Hmm. Which was right? The polling tape Volusia gave to Black Box Voting, specially printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or the ones with signatures, printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape?

Well, then it became even more interesting. A Volusia employee boxed up some items from an office containing Lana Hires' desk, which appeared to contain -- you guessed it -- polling place tapes. The employee took them to the back of the building and disappeared.

Then, Ellen B., a voting integrity advocate from Broward County, Florida, and Susan, from Volusia, decided now would be a good time to go through the trash at the elections office. Lo and behold, they found all kinds of memos and some polling place tapes, fresh from Volusia elections office.

So, Black Box Voting compared these with the Nov. 2 signed ones and the "special' ones from Nov. 15 given, unsigned, finding several of the MISSING poll tapes. There they were: In the garbage.

So, Wynne went to the car and got the polling place tapes she had pulled from the warehouse garbage. My my my. There were not only discrepancies, but a polling place tape that was signed by six officials.

This was a bit disturbing, since the employees there had said that bag was destined for the shredder.

By now, a county lawyer had appeared on the scene, suddenly threatening to charge Black Box Voting extra for the time spent looking at the real stuff Volusia had withheld earlier. Other lawyers appeared, phoned, people had meetings, Lana glowered at everyone, and someone shut the door in the office holding the GEMS server.

Black Box Voting investigator Andy Stephenson then went to get the Diebold "GEMS" central server locked down. He also got the memory cards locked down and secured, much to the dismay of Lana. They were scattered around unsecured in any way before that.

Everyone agreed to convene tomorrow morning, to further audit, discuss the hand count that Black Box Voting will require of Volusia County, and of course, it is time to talk about contesting the election in Volusia.

Quoted in its entirety to help get it spread as far as possible.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Dear Tony Blair,

I applaud your commitment to bringing the miracle of democracy to people around the world. Please let me know when Queen Elizabeth will be deposed and your own citizens will know the sweet taste of freedom.


posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




Saw the Pixies on Saturday, will be posting pictures later. Great show, even if the crowd was a little too old to really get into the singalongs.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink ...
Comments (2)




Looking for terrific holiday gifts? Look no further! Now, at CafePress, clothing and merchandise bearing this image:

Get 'em before nine-hour voting lines become passé!

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Administration ... Permalink ...
Comments (1)



Matt Welch makes the point that apparently the press corps can't see:

Jeff Jarvis says "Michael Moore lost the election." Roger Simon adds that Kerry blew "an obvious opportunity to win the election - the perfect 'Sister Souljah' moment," i.e., denouncing Moore.

Let's address Roger's point first, with a question: When, during the entire presidential campaign, was the incumbent president of the United States ever asked to come up with a Sister Souljah moment? (Widely understood to mean something like, "a controversial repudiation of your own party's extremism.") I did a Lexis search on "George Bush" and "Souljah moment" covering the last six months, and came up with exactly 8 responses. Six of those were actually about Kerry, and the 7th condemned both candidates equally. Only 1 result -- over six months -- was an unequivocal call for George Bush to distance himself from the lunatic fringe of his own party. Significantly, it did not come from the Mainstream Media, but rather from political director of the Log Cabin Republicans, who argued that keeping anti-homosexuality language out of the Republican Party Platform was an excellent way for Bush to reach out to moderates. We all know how well that went.

"John Kerry" and "Souljah moment," meanwhile, produces 26 results. 20 are directly about Kerry, just 1 about Bush. Which begs the question: Is the Moonbat Left 20 times more worthy of denunciation than the Lunar Right? While you chew on that, here are some examples of the media either urging Kerry to go all Souljah on some Lefty's ass, or lamenting that he didn't.

It's not just that no one asks Bush (or any other prominent Republican) to denounce people like Rush "Abu Ghraib is just frat hazing" Limbaugh, Ann "kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" Coulter or Michael "the ACLU are America's worst vermin" Savage. These people are entertainers first, loudmouths second and fringe assholes with no policy influence last. It's that no one asks Bush to denounce Republican elected officials and candidates like PA Sen. Rick "stopping gay marriage is the ultimate homeland security" Santorum, OK Sen.-elect Tom "abortionists should get the death penalty (even though I am one)" Coburn or SC Sen.-elect Jim "gays and single pregnant women out of public schools!" DeMint. These views aren't just floating around under the Republican banner, they in the Republican mainstream, in our halls of power. Michael Moore's dangerous and troubling opinions that George Bush is a deserter (which is more right than wrong, legally speaking) and that Iraqis were better off before we invaded their country have no pull at all in the Democratic party. So -- not to sound like a broken record -- fuck you, idiots.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



I said there'd be more.

5. Do whatever it takes to stop gerrymandering. Did you know that without the outrageous redistricting of Texas last year, the balance of power in the House wouldn't have changed at all last week? Thanks to Tom DeLay, Rick Perry and the FAA, Texas is no longer a democracy. And guess what? Any state that has a unified governorship and state house can expect the same. Some states have decent protection built in -- Iowa, for instance -- but most don't. Something has to be done on the federal level.

6. Stop "conscience" clauses for pharmacists. The big thing in the last couple years for dominionist shitheads has been to convince Christian pharmacists not to give out drugs that they find morally objectionable, and then not to give the prescription to any other pharmacist; some states have even passed laws protecting this despicable behavior. I don't care what it takes, but somebody has to step in and stop this at the federal level.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Here are some things Congressional Democrats should do in January and February, which I swear I am entirely serious about:

1. Propose a Constitutional ban on divorce. The terrific thing about this is that it forces Republicans, who claim that marriage will be "destroyed" if gays are let into the club, to defend not just the idea of divorce, but the country's current 50% divorce rate. As an added bonus, many of them will be forced to defend their own divorces. Perhaps a Constitutional amendment is a bit much, but it could include exceptions for physical violence, etc. -- the kinds of things that Republicans would hide behind when standing up for the only thing that actually ends marriages. This also will force into the national debate data that show Massachusetts as the least divorcing state in the union and red states running up the country's ten highest divorce rates. A subsection that bans the eating of shellfish at wedding receptions would be classy, too. This one feels like a Robert Byrd play, assuming he's not divorced himself.

2. Propose an end to welfare for states. Blue states pay more to the federal government in taxes than they receive back in services; we are subsidizing the red states that hate the federal government so much. The worst offender is North Dakota, which received $2.03 for every dollar it sent out in 2002; at the other end is New Jersey, getting back only $0.62, even though we're supposedly so concerned about security in the metro NYC area. If these phony conservatives say they don't need the federal government's help, fine, they don't get it. Let's cap state-by-state spending based on payments to the federal government. If they want to keep the status quo, hypocritical Republicans will have to stand up and defend their own acceptance of federal welfare. I think Charles Schumer's good for this, since his state of New York is getting screwed at $0.81 on the dollar.

3. Propose a link between federal contraception education funding and the number of abortions performed per annum. President Abstinence-Only has, not surprisingly, seen the American abortion rate climb during his term. This bill would bring this information to light and make anti-choice Republicans stand up in public and say that sex for purposes other than procreation is morally wrong. This seems like a good bone to throw Hillary's way.

4. Officially propose John Kerry's domestic agenda. Put the tax cut rollback out there and make the Republicans turn it down. Put health care out there. Put alternative energy out there. It doesn't matter that they won't go anywhere. The public needs to see a truly oppositional, reform party. If all the Democrats do is vote against Republican proposals, they look obstructionist; if they're forcing the Republicans to squash proposals with popular support, they look like a good alternative. If Kerry's going to step up and lead the Congressional opposition as he's said, this is where he should start.

You may notice I'm picking exclusively on Senators here. This is because I think it'll probably be easier to make noise and get attention via the Senate, and because I think these things could make great filibuster fodder for when Bush tries to elevate Clarence Thomas to Chief Justice. Probably more of these will come to me, but really anything that fits the theme will do -- make Republicans stand up for their hypocritical, nonsensical or unpopular positions. Make them deny that they fuck pigs.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



**Mad Craft-mas Show and Sale**

What: A show and sale of handmade and original purses, magnets, photos, mosaics, and more by local artists.

Who: Butterfly Jester, Emily Kircher Recycling Artist, Get In My Mouth Stuff, and herspiral

Where: In the Company of Thieves (coffeeshop) 908 E. Johnson St, Madison, WI 53703

When: On display 8am-11pm daily now through 12/18
Opening Sale: Friday Nov 12 6-9pm
Closing Sale: Saturday Dec 18 12-6pm
Free and open to the public!

Why: Support local artists and buy handmade this holiday season!

See examples from Emily Kircher Recycling Artist and Get In My Mouth Stuff at Street Fair America.

posted by
Emily Says ... Permalink




I'm trying to figure out what all the little things were in this election outcome, and I'm going to start with the uncomfortable ones: What fault can be attributed to the selections of John Kerry and John Edwards as our candidates? Kerry first.

Back in early 2003, we were all a-twitter about poll results that showed George Bush trailing an "unnamed Democrat" by four points. This led us to believe, rightly, that Bush was beatable, despite the general belief that he was guaranteed a second term. Thus, "electability" became the key issue of the Democratic primaries. Who can look Presidential? Who can stand up to Bush in the debates? Who can exploit his weaknesses? In a surprising show of party unity, we wound up with John Kerry instead of Edwards, Dean or Clark.

Unfortunately, what we ignored in that same poll was that a 31% plurality said Iraq was the important issue. And here we find Kerry's most significant weakness as a candidate -- he voted for the war. Not just that, he voted for No Child Left Behind and he voted for the USA PATRIOT Act. He had ceded the basic premises of those issues to Bush ahead of time; all that was left was for him to campaign on "Yes, but...." Some other candidates had this same problem, but Dean and Clark didn't.

The second problem is that Kerry tried for as long as he could to be that unnamed Democrat. Apparently hoping to ride Anybody But Bush sentiment all the way to the White House, Kerry never coherently and comprehensively explained his plans for Iraq, health care and the budget. I don't know why this happened, but I suspect it's because he wasn't comfortable campaigning on sheer competence, that he didn't want to just come out and say, "Listen, I'll do better at this because I'm willing to accept reality and deal with it as it comes, not plow ahead facts be damned."

And then Edwards. I've seen the choice of Edwards, celebrated at the time, described as "disastrous" this week. I wouldn't go that far, but the fact is, Edwards ultimately brought nothing to the campaign. Kerry got a slight uptick from Gore's finish among rural and small town voters, but lost slightly among urban voters. He lost big in the south. Edwards was, to be blunt, the non-candidate, the next best thing to not picking a running mate at all. His votes in the Senate mirrored Kerry's, and he was never a risk to overshadow the man whose name came first. He disappeared after the convention, garnering even less media attention than Bunker Man himself; when they met in the debate, Edwards seemed cordial but unprepared while Cheney presented himself as the stern boss that his figurehead so desperately needed. In short, Edwards didn't cost Kerry anything, but didn't gain him anything either. Could Gephardt have delivered Iowa and Missouri? Could Clark have allayed concerns about national security? Could Dean have gotten out more than 51% of the youth vote? Nobody knows, but this election was the death of 1,000 cuts for the Democrats, and every little bit contributes.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




We're finally letting it sink in now that the urban/rural split is the most important demographic division in American politics today. Look at any of the purplish, adjusted maps of election returns -- in each case, the country is colored plum red, with pockets of bruise blue signifying urban areas. To say the ensuing electoral results are caused by a "values" gap is a simplistic mass media's way of discussing the issue. In reality, urban vs. rural translates into Democrats vs. Republicans through a variety of processes. I'm going to try to unpack those over a series of stream of consciousness posts, but first I want to talk about John Gard.

Gard is the Assembly Speaker here in Wisconsin. He is a 41-year-old Republican from tiny Peshtigo, a farm and outdoorsman community in the state's northeast corner. This week's issue of our free weekly, Isthmus (which is unfortunately not available online), has a profile of Gard, which shows him to personally exemplify many of the worst characteristics of modern American politics (this profile is actually an excerpt from a longer piece in Milwaukee Magazine, also not online). Gard's driving force is his loathing of "Madison elites;" he feels personally slighted because not everybody agrees with him that small towns like Peshtigo are the source of our most important wisdom.

One of the things Gard's been pushing hard of late is a repeal of the state's concealed weapons ban. Apparently, the right to carry a loaded gun under your coat is considered an important "value" in Peshtigo, and the big city folks just don't get it. But this is one of many instances in which politicians like Gard put vitriol ahead of common sense; we have a concealed weapon ban in Wisconsin because it helps keep the crime rate down in places like Milwaukee, Beloit, La Crosse, Janesville, Oshkosh, etc. -- places where there are enough balls-out gun nuts to keep such a ban from happening on the local level. Instead of saying, "Yes, this is a reasonable compromise," Gard declares that his constituents are being demeaned.

Similarly, Gard plans to push a gay marriage ban in the upcoming legislative session. Never mind that nobody in Wisconsin has actually put any political weight behind legal gay marriage in this state, and never mind that his legislation would also bar civil unions between gay or straight couples. The fact that Wisconsin is not a theocracy is evidence that Madison elites think they're better than the "real" people of Peshtigo.

This whole idea that liberals think little of the "moral values" crowd and therefore deserve to be wedged out of the political discourse is laughable. Liberals disagree with Christian conservatives. Christian conservatives blame liberals for the terror attacks on New York and Washington, declare that liberals are not "real" Americans and believe that liberals will make their beliefs criminal if given the opportunity. At the end of the day, liberals call Christian conservatives names, and Christian conservatives call liberals names. We deal with it, learn to laugh at ourselves, and move on. They, in control of the whole of the country's power structure, tell us we're going to hell for persecuting them.

So let's quit all this talk about reaching out. We've tried to be nice. We know how to understand without agreeing, and we've done that. They've interpreted anything less than full capitulation as the moral equivalent of slavery, so fuck it. We, as an ideological bloc, don't need their shit.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



Andrew Sullivan says the US can't be committing war crimes in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a piece of shit. Fuck you, pal.

Samarra, an ancient city of gold-domed mosques that once served as the capital of a Muslim empire extending from Spain to India, was recaptured from Sunni Muslim insurgents last September and was touted as a model for restoring government control to other areas formerly under guerrilla domination.

US and Iraqi forces hope to use the same techniques if they drive Sunni militants from Fallujah. American commanders have assembled a force of Marines, Army soldiers, and U.S.-trained Iraqi fighters around Fallujah, a major insurgent base 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad.

They are awaiting orders from interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to launch an all-out assault.

Col. Gary Brandl voiced his troops� determination:

"The enemy has got a face. He�s called Satan. He�s in Fallujah and we�re going to destroy him."

Satan is in Fallujah. But don't worry, we've made sure the queers won't make you uncomfortable.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
The World at Large ... Permalink




We're now four days out. I'm watching last night's Real Time With Bill Maher, in which Bill is duking it out with Andrew Sullivan over the "moral values" canard. This is just the latest piece of punditry in which people are coming to radical conclusions about what this exit poll means (the show opened with a similar but, frankly, insane exchange with former Senator Alan Simpson).

Here's the thing. Twenty-two percent of respondents picked "moral values" from a list of seven choices for the most important issue (the other choices were "taxes," "education," "health care," "terrorism," "iraq" and "economy/jobs"). They did not give pollsters descriptions of what moral values they were concerned with -- whenever you hear someone saying that these were simply anti-gay voters, that's an unfounded extrapolation. All they did was check a box that said "moral values." All the other stuff is fake meaning inserted by fake "experts." This "moral values" trope has allowed the entire pundit class to unleash a torrent of unfounded claims that they've just been waiting for an excuse to bring out.

[UPDATE: Wow, the original wacko asshole Andrew Sullivan is back. What a complete knob.]

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Josh Marshall has now jumped on the Bill Clinton for DNC Chair meme. I would just like to point out that I was calling for this two years ago, the first time Terry McAuliffe dramatically fucked up.

[Edit to add that Paul Glastris is also pushing it, based on this Los Angeles Times piece.]

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



It appears that a number of Democrats are just now waking up to the Southern Strategy that the Republican Party initiated over three decades ago. Thanks for joining us, folks! The predominant intra-party recrimination of the past few days seems to be that Democrats have alienated the morality crowd, that we are "contemptuous" of religion. Kevin Drum says that certain lower-to-middle class whites might have voted for Kerry, except, "Too often, though, a visceral loathing of being lectured at by city folks wins out and they end up marking their ballots for people like George Bush." Who are these people? "They're the ones who are uncomfortable with homosexuality, but understand that a steadily increasing acceptance of gay rights is probably inevitable. They don't want to ban abortion, but feel like it's common sense to require parental notification. And they're ready to agree that we need to do something about global warming, but that doesn't mean they take kindly to thinly veiled accusations that they're personally responsible for it just because they drive an SUV or eat a Big Mac."

For whatever reason, Drum is giving in to the popular framing device of Democrats as extreme secularists who want to ban the Bible and set lions free in the streets of Atlanta. Look at the examples he cites. "They're the ones who are uncomfortable with homosexuality." Wrong -- plenty of Kerry voters are uncomfortable with homosexuality, too. In fact, not a single one of the anti-gay ballot initiatives received less support than George Bush did in those states. They're the ones who actively want to discriminate against homosexuals, who believe that discriminating against homosexuals is more important than building an economic environment that creates jobs, or finding a strategy that leaves Iraq stable and out of our hands. "[T]hey're ready to agree that we need to do something about global warming, but that doesn't mean they take kindly to thinly veiled accusations that they're personally responsible for it just because they drive an SUV or eat a Big Mac." I don't know where the Big Mac thing is coming from, but again, no. The fact is, they are as likely as not to deny the trend of global warming, and, more importantly, are not willing to do anything at all about it. Would they like it if somebody else did something about it? Maybe, but only in the way they'd like it if somebody else fixed any problem that they don't think affects them.

The problem here is not that Democrats are anti-religion or hardline ideologues, the problem is that right-wing extremists brand any opposition as jihadist and the mainstream media -- as well as many "liberal" pundits -- go right along with it. The problem inside the party is that we don't understand this Apocalypse Bunker mindset. These people, whose religion accounts for 85-90% of the population and every federal leadership position, truly believe that they are being oppressed and that anyone who disagrees with them is in the thrall of the Fallen One. Remember, the person who made the infamous ad comparing Bush to Hitler was one lone crank, whose work was immediately discredited by MoveOn.org -- the people who did the "Kerry will ban the Bible and force dudes to kiss!" mailer were the Republican National Committee.

The fact is, both sides come off as arrogant lecturers to people on the other side. Can we honestly say Kerry lost more votes to "very real -- and often dripping -- condescension" than Bush lost to his inability to show even the slightest bit of humility? Oh wait, I forgot, not being able to name a single mistake he's made was good for him, because people like decisiveness. Look, we don't understand the right wing, and we need to stop pretending that we do. We spent about three months in the winter of 2003-4 trying to decide which Democrat was most "electable" by thinking about which one Republicans would vote for; brilliantly, we chose a liberal Senator from Massachusetts whose most recent votes would prevent him from solidly campaigning against the President's record. Josh Marshall has reposted a piece looking back to the Nixon re-election campaign. Pat Buchanan, the Nixon staffer who later launched the cultural war that has now elected a President he doesn't care for, wrote this:

In conclusion, this is a potential throw of the dice that could bring the media on our heads, and cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have by far the larger half.

They will not unite the country, and we cannot unite the country. What we can do is go on the offensive and move the dividing line. Drum is absolutely right about one thing -- we lost all across the board on Tuesday, but we lost close. If we hadn't allowed the Republicans to frame the debate to their advantage, a close state or two may have tipped to Kerry and we might be looking at a 50-50 Senate. We don't know; we can't. But when 2008 comes along, we can't do what we did this year, which is to play for a 4th down conversion. We looked at 2004 as a contest in which we only needed to pick up 538 votes; the Republicans looked at it as an opportunity to pick up 4,000,000 votes. They did it, we didn't. In 2008 we have to play for a touchdown. Right now that means a lot of squabbling inside the party. Fine. I welcome it. We have to reorganize. In an election this close, there are a lot of little things that might have caused the defeat. We can't try to just fix a few and hope that it's enough; we have to fix them all. We lost to an incumbent that people generally don't think is doing a good job and generally don't trust to handle the most pertinent issues in the next four years, and worse, we got outmanuevered. We didn't understand how the ballot initiative system can be gamed. We didn't understand how the mystery 4,000,000 voters view the importance of the judicial system, and how the sudden fragility of William Rehnquist may have driven them to the polls.

I'm going to continue with this later, but I want to sum up with this thought: Both parties are obsessed at the moment with pleasing the conservative minority in this country. The Republicans get their Congressional leaders from Mississippi and Tennessee and Texas; we get ours from South Dakota and Missouri and Nevada. As long as that continues, they set the rules.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




Harry Reid has already been installed as the new Senate Minority Leader. We've seen a recrimination an hour over the past 48 hours. The Democratic civil war has begun and the DLC is going on the offensive. Today, George Bush said, "I will reach out to every one who shares our goals."

It's time to get in line, people. Pick a team and armor up.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink



The election didn�t turn out the way about half the country wanted it to, and this phone girl is in that sad half. But I guess nobody really wants to talk about it; the losing, that is. So, what do you do if you have a burning urge to talk about something and no one wants to listen? Call Kelly, I guess. Two sad Kerry-supporting pervs called me last night, both from �blue� states. The first spent 23 min rattling through the states and their electoral votes, mystified that so many could have gone �red.� How we need a Democrat from the heartland to win the presidency, how we need to start right now, and where the fuck were Bill Clinton and Al Gore and Bill Bradley and all those old school Democrats for the campaign? Sad. So sad he didn�t even use his time to jerk off. The second one was a stupid guy, said he voted but hadn�t heard who won (on Wednesday night). When I told him Kerry conceded, he didn�t understand. After careful explanation, he was thoroughly depressed as well. He spent 35 minutes on the phone with me telling me everyone that everyone he knows hates Bush and asking me how this could have happened. I just kept telling him I didn�t know. Sad sad sad.

posted by
My 69 Cents Worth ... Permalink




Just voted. Arrived before 7:30, stood in line about 25 minutes and was the 175th person to vote in the precinct. Voted Democrat in all the important races, Green in a couple of no-chance county offices and No on a city referendum to expand waterfront-wrecking authority. The line grew while I was there but so far they seem prepared for the turnout. A few people looked at the long line and left, but who knows why.

More tonight.

[UPDATE: First early exit poll shows Kerry up 52-43 in Wisconsin; many voters reportedly challenged in Racine, GOP vans' tires reportedly slashed in Milwaukee. Everyone go vote.]

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Permalink




In his last letter before the election, Michael Moore addresses several constituancies and individuals. He ends with this:

To John Kerry:

Thank you.
And don�t worry � none of us are going away after you are inaugurated. We�ll be there to hold your hand and keep you honest. Don�t let us down. We�re betting you won�t. So is the rest of the world.

As I watch people like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain throw away lifetimes' worth of credibility for a one-term boob, I find myself simply astonished that George Bush has been able to form a cult of personality with so much of the former and none of the latter. But now, reading Moore's letter, looking at the pictures of 100,000 cheering John Kerry in Madison, I can sort of see the shape of what the true believers are doing. I don't know what President Kerry will do between now and January 20, 2009, but I see him as a more heroic figure than anybody else in America right now. The idea of a Bush term both supported by Americans' popular will and untethered by electoral oversight makes me want to curl up and die. Even as I fully expect a Kerry victory, I have spent much of the past week in a severe and sometimes physical state of anxiety.

I want to thank John Kerry. I want to thank him for embracing the Deaniacs, even as he let them be a little pissed at him. I want to thank him for being a pragmatist with principles. I want to thank him for coming to a hardcore Democratic city, late in the campaign, and putting 100,000 people on the cover of a conservative, swing state newspaper (PDF). I want to thank him for standing up for himself and for us. And I want to thank him for taking on a job that might already be impossible and will only be made more difficult in the two and a half months before he takes office. He's never been one to shrink from difficult tasks and this will be the most difficult he's ever faced.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink