Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bush in West Virginia

I have heard from folks who support the President that he has not done enough to communicate his accomplishments and his rationales for his foreign policy decisions. But is it the President who has not been communicating or the media which has not been reporting? How many of you heard or read a major media outlet report the substance of Bush's speech in West Virginia?

He describes his approach to a littany of domestic issues: education, healthcare and taxes. Then he talks about the War on Terror. In some detail:

...I know we have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. America's future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This isn't going to happen on my watch.

The world changed on a terrible September morning, and since that day we have changed the world. Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base of al Qaeda, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up cells around the world, including our own country. Because we acted, today Afghanistan is a rising democracy. They're going to have presidential elections in October of this year. Because we acted, many young girls go to school for the first time in Afghanistan. Because we acted, Afghanistan is an ally in the war on terror. Because we acted, America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and easy-to-understand message the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and America and the world are safer.

Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world. You might remember, he was firing weapons at American pilots who were enforcing the world's sanctions. He had used weapons of mass destruction. He harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He and his henchmen murdered tens of thousands of his own people. He was a great source of instability in the world's most volatile region. He was a threat.

After September the 11th -- after September the 11th, this country must remember the new lessons. And a new lesson is, is that we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. That is -- that is the new reality of the world in which we live. And it's really important we never forget that reality. So I saw a threat, and I went to the United States Congress. They looked at the intelligence I looked at, they remembered the history of Saddam Hussein, and they said he was a threat, and authorized the use of force -- they being Republicans, they being Democrats, they being my opponent and his running mate.

Because the use of force should be the last option of the Commander-in-Chief, the very last option, I went to the United Nations in the hopes that diplomacy would solve the threat. You might remember, the debate went on, and after consideration, the U.N. Security Council voted 15 to nothing to say to Saddam Hussein, disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. So the world spoke.

As he had for over a decade, he defied the demands of the free world. This wasn't the only U.N. resolution he ignored. We then sent inspectors in -- or the world sent inspectors in, and he systematically deceived the inspectors. And so I had a choice to make: whether or not to trust the word of a madman and forget the lessons of September the 11th, or take action to defend our country. Given that choice, I will defend our country.

You know, we did not find the stockpiles that we thought would be there. I want to remind you that Saddam Hussein had the capability of making weapons of mass destruction, and he could have passed that capability on to others. And after September the 11th, that is not a risk this country could afford to take. Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision. America and the world are safer because Saddam Hussein sits in a prison cell....

I'm running for four more years because I know we have more to do. We will continue to work with our friends and allies around the world to aggressively pursue the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere. See, you cannot talk sense to these people. You cannot negotiate with them. In the post-9/11 era we live in, you just simply cannot hope for the best. We must aggressively pursue them around the world, so we do not have to face them here at home.

We will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. We put together a strong coalition. We're working with some great allies. There's over 40 nations involved in -- nearly 40 nations involved in Afghanistan and some 30 in Iraq. Over the next four years, I will continue to work with friends to help secure our country, their country, and spread the peace. But I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries.

We're going to keep our commitments to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. It's in our interest we keep our commitment. It's in our interest they become peaceful and democratic societies. The two nations are now governed by strong leaders who believe in the hopes and aspirations of their people. These nations are now headed for elections. Our strategy is clear, and our goal is clear. The goal is to have peaceful, democratic countries in the heart of the Middle East who are allies in the war on terror. That's our goal. It's in our interest we achieve that goal.

We are meeting that goal by providing security so that the political process develops. We will meet that goal by training Afghan and Iraqi forces so they can defend their country against these terrorists so they get to take -- do the necessary hard work for democracy to survive. Our military will complete this mission as quickly as possible, so our troops do not stay a day longer than necessary.

In these crucial times, the men and women of our military keep our commitments. We've got a great military. The people who wear our uniform -- I've seen their great decency and unselfish courage. The cause of freedom is in really good hands. And I want to thank the veterans who are here today for setting such a great example to the modern military.

I made a commitment to our troops and I made a commitment to their families, as well, that this government will support them in their missions. That's why, last September, I went to the Congress and said, we need supplemental funding. Support the people over there in Afghanistan and Iraq. This funding was for body armor, vital equipment, fuel, ammunition, spare parts, hazard pay, health benefits. This is important legislation. And I was really pleased that we got great bipartisan support. As a matter of fact, the support was so strong, that only 12 members of the United States Senate voted against it, two of whom are... my opponent and his running mate. See, they voted against it....

In the long-run -- in the long-run, our security is not going to be guaranteed by force alone. We must work to change the conditions that give rise to terror: poverty and hopelessness and resentment. A free and peaceful Iraq and a free and peaceful Afghanistan will be powerful examples in a part of the world that is desperate for freedom. Free societies do not export terror. Free societies do not stifle the dreams of their citizens.

We've done this kind of work before. One of my closest collaborators in peace is the Prime Minister of Japan. It wasn't all that long ago in the march of history that my dad and your dads were fighting the Japanese. And yet here we are, because we insisted upon the transforming qualities of liberty, we insisted that Japan be given a chance to self-govern and be a democratic nation. We believe that even an enemy could accept liberty as a way of life. Fortunately, my predecessor, Harry Truman, stuck with that point of view. Fortunately, America stuck with that point of view, and now Japan is an ally and a friend.

We believe in liberty in America. We believe that liberty can transform nations from tyranny to hope. We have seen it in our past. We not only believe that liberty will bring peace, we know that liberty answers to the deepest needs of the American soul. See, freedom is not America's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world.

We have more to do to protect this country. I'm running because I understand that we've got to work hard to protect America. See, there's an enemy out there that still hates us. It's the reality of the world in which we live, and we'll deal with that. It's very important that we view these people as who they are. There's a difference of opinion in this race. I want to address a subject that I'm sure you're going to be asked about. See, my opponent said that going to war with the terrorists is actually improving their recruiting efforts. I think the logic is upside-down. You see, during the '90s -- remind somebody who asks you that, that during the '90s the terrorists were recruiting and training and plotting for war with us, long before we went to war with them. I think it's wrong to provide excuses for their hatred. You don't create terrorists by fighting back, you defeat the terrorists by fighting back.

...There's more to do. We've got a lot to do. We're beginning to implement some of the intelligence reforms that are necessary to make sure we've got the best intelligence. I've got to have the best intelligence to make decisions; our planners and everybody involved with the government needs to have the best intelligence. That's why we're implementing a lot of the 9/11 Commission reforms. We want to make sure there's still good, close cooperation between the different agencies in Washington. We're working on doing that. We need to renew the Patriot Act, so our law enforcement have the tools necessary to protect you against terrorist attack. We'll continue to work to make sure Homeland Security Department does its job...

[Applause and laughter notes deleted.]

I ask again: Is it Bush who is not communicating or the media who are not reporting?

(Thanks to my mom for the tip.)

Monday, August 30, 2004

Wealthy bear more of income tax burden under Bush

A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
shows that Bush’s tax cuts have been "progressive" — that is, they have shifted the share of the overall federal income tax burden toward the wealthy and away from lower-income earners.

To be specific, the bottom three quintiles in terms of income each pay a lower portion of the total income tax burden under the Bush law than they did previously. The top two quintiles each pay a higher portion of the total income tax burden under the Bush law. And for the record, the top decile, the top 5% and the top 1% each pay a higher portion of the income tax pie under the Bush law.

You wouldn't know it if you get your news from network TV or the New York Times. Donald Luskin has the story on the Detroit News editorial page.

Read the article and check out this chart:
(Hat tip: Polipundit.)

Update: Same scenario happened with the Reagan tax cuts.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

NY Times political reporter writes unwitting self-parody

Note: Read the update at the bottom of this posting including the explanatory letter from the New York Times.

Update: Read my apology to Mr. Slackman here.

New York Times political reporter Michael Slackman recently published an article criticizing a Republican National Convention organizer for having a potential conflict of interest because he is also a lobbyist. (Note that the subject of the article is not accused of doing anything illegal, secretive or in violation of any written policy.)

Turns out Mr. Slackman has his own conflict of interest to deal with. In direct violation of New York Times ethical guidelines, Mr. Slackman has donated money to a Democratic cause (in New York, no less) while reporting on politics in New York.

I have reprinted Mr. Slackman's article here. Intertwined, I have re-written the article, using many of Mr. Slackman's words; but this time the subject is Mr. Slackman himself and his conflict of interest. The original article is printed in black; my re-write appears in purple.

Convention Boss's Other Hat: Lobbying G.O.P. for Defense Clients

Published: August 21, 2004

For more than a year David Norcross has been a key player for the Bush-Cheney campaign in organizing the Republican National Convention. Mr. Norcross has hired the convention's chief executive, headed the committee responsible for guiding decisions on everything from transportation to entertainment and helped make arrangements for the delegations coming to New York.

NY Times Political Reporter's Other Hat: Donating Funds to Democrats

Published: August 24, 2004

For more than a year Michael Slackman has been a key political journalist for such influential papers as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. As a political reporter for the New York Times, Mr. Slackman recently reported on such politically charged issues as potential conflicts of interest by the organizer of the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York.

But Mr. Norcross wears more than one hat.

But Mr. Slackman wears more than one hat.

At the same time that he has held this inside-the-party position with access to top government officials, he has also been lobbying the Bush administration on behalf of clients like Raytheon, the defense contractor. Mr. Norcross lobbied the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, the Senate and the House, all on behalf of Raytheon, while he has been the chairman of the convention, according to records on file with the secretary of the Senate.

At the same time that he has held this influential position reporting on top government officials for arguably the most influential newspaper in the country, he has also been donating funds to Democratic causes. Mr. Slackman donated money to the New York State Democratic Committee, a partisan organization which actively promotes such ideas as "Republicans failing New York," while he was covering New York politics for the New York Times, according to records on file with the Federal Election Commission. A copy of the the FEC form (Schedule A, Form 3X)detailing Mr. Slackman's contribution and his employer is available online.

There is nothing illegal about Mr. Norcross taking on both jobs at the same time, especially since his role at the convention is a party position, not a government one. In the past, party chairmen with far greater access to the White House than Mr. Norcross, including the former Republican National Committee chairman, Haley Barbour, and the onetime Democratic National Committee chairman, Ron Brown, have also simultaneously been affiliated with lobbying firms.

There is nothing illegal about Mr. Slackman taking on both roles at the same time, especially since his role as a reporter is a private position, not a government one. In the past, journalists with far greater funds available than Mr. Slackman have also simultaneously donated money to political parties while covering political events.

But Mr. Norcross's dual roles come after Congress has sought to limit corporate influence in politics with stiffer campaign finance laws. But those laws have had the unintended effect of exaggerating the already considerable influence of corporate interests in the Democratic and Republican conventions.

But Mr. Slackman's dual roles come after the New York Times' public editor acknowledged in his column that, "of course" the paper is liberal and that "readers with a different worldview will find The Times an alien beast."

"Look, this is how this system works," said Fred Wertheimer, executive director of Democracy 21, a Washington-based group that helped push through changes to the campaign finance laws. "These conventions are the oasis, the last remaining watering hole. They are the ultimate mixer for office holders, lobbyists, corporate and other special interests and big money guys."

And within that environment, Mr. Norcross works at the highest level as a lobbyist representing companies like Boeing and the biotechnology company 20/20 GeneSystems Inc., which is based in Rockville, Md. Mr. Norcross's employer, the Washington-based law firm Blank Rome and its lobbying subsidiary, highlights his party credential in Mr. Norcross's official biography posted on its Web site.

Mr. Slackman works at the highest level as a political journalist. His employer, the New York Times, has won 111 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization. He has also reported for the Los Angeles Times on political hot-button issues such as the Iraq War.

"Mr. Norcross is a member of the board of directors of Blank Rome Government Relations L.L.C., and was recently appointed chairman of the Republican National Convention's Committee on Arrangements for the 2004 Republican National Convention, to be held in New York City,'' the company Web site says. "His practice focuses on legislative affairs, legislative and executive department liaison, lobbying, advocacy programs and public affairs."

Mr. Slackman reported last May on corporate donors "rolling out the red carpet" for the Republican National Convention. He sounded a cautionary note on political contributions in relaying the sentiment of Fred Wertheimer, executive director of Democracy 21, that the "fundamental problem here is the interest gets to do a huge financial favor for a powerful member of Congress who they often have critical issues pending before."

While such mingling of politics and lobbying has been de rigueur, in recent years some have tried to avoid even the suggestion of any kind of conflict. Ed Gillespie, for example, the chairman of the R.N.C., said he would stop working with his Washington lobbying firm when he took over the party. And William Harris, the man Mr. Norcross hired as chief executive of the convention, also stopped lobbying while working on the convention, a spokesman said.

While mingling of journalism and political contributions has become more commonplace, in recent years some have tried to avoid even the suggestion of any kind of conflict.

In January 2003 (as reported by the Baltimore Sun), the New York Times adopted a policy expressly forbidding staff from making political donations. Mr. Slackman's gift to the New York State Democratic Committee appears to contradict directly his employer's handbook on ethical journalism, which reads in part as follows:

"Journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics. Staff members... must do nothing that might raise questions about their professional neutrality or that of The Times....

"Staff members may not themselves give money to, or raise money for, any political candidate or election cause. Given the ease of Internet access to public records of campaign contributors, any political giving by a Times staff member would carry a great risk of feeding a false impression that the paper is taking sides." [Emphasis added.]

"The mores have progressed to the point where it makes people uncomfortable," said Stanley Brand, a Washington-based lawyer who has counseled lawmakers on ethics. "It's not against the law but it brings criticism to people."

Mr. Norcross is a longtime political insider who ran unsuccessfully in New Jersey for the United States Senate, has been counsel to the Republican National Committee and is a national committeeman from New Jersey. He refused repeated requests to be interviewed. Leonardo Alcivar, a spokesman for the convention, said Mr. Norcross was too busy with the convention to speak about his job. Mr. Alcivar also said Mr. Norcross was working only part-time on the convention, and was spending the rest of his days in his lobbying firm's New York office.


Disclosure: David M, a registered Republican, has given money to candidates of both major parties.

Update: I e-mailed Daniel Okrent, the Times' public editor, about this issue and received an automated reply stating that one of his colleagues would handle my message since he is on vacation.

Michael Petrelis e-mailed the Times' VP of corporate communications about the same issue this morning and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Petrelis,

Mr. Slackman paid $245 to the Democratic State Committee for a phone line to use in filing his stories. The fee was incorrectly listed as a contribution. The Democratic State Committee quickly acknowledged its mistake and sent us a letter to that effect.


Catherine Mathis
VP, Corporate Communications
The New York Times Company
212-556-1981 (office)
917-593-7425 (cell)

I withdraw my criticism.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The beauty that fills me with wonder (or why I go camping)

It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder;
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder;
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
--Excerpted from The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The woods

I'm off for a week in the woods. My reading material:
Unclear if I'll actually get any reading done.

Cribbage, Derbyshire and Seuss

John Derbyshire's ongoing cribbage posts (egged on by yours truly) lend themselves to a Seussian treatment:

Would you play cribbage in a pub? Would you, could you, on a sub?
Would you, could you, play with me? Would you play with two or three?
Would you play it in a jail? Would you play it while you sail?
Would you play it there or here? Would you with John Derbyshire?

I would not play cribbage in a pub. I would not play it on a sub.
I would not play the game with you, whether we are three or two.
I would not, could not, in a jail. I would not, could not, while we sail.
I would not play it there or here, not even with John Derbyshire.

You will not play it, so you say.
Try it, try it! And you may. Try it and you may, I say.

If you will let me be, I will try it. You will see.
Say! I like this game a lot! I do, I do! It hits the spot!
And I would play it in a pub. And I would play it on a sub.
And I will play the game with you, whether we are three or two.
And I will play it in a jail, and I will play it while we sail.
A pair for two and a run adds three, this is so much fun, you see!
So I will play it here and there. I will play it everywhere!
I do so love this game I fear, that I am becoming Derbyshire.

(Hmm. Do you suppose "Derbyshire" rhymes with "here" and "fear"? Or is it "tire"?)

Update: Thanks for the link, John.

Norman Podhoretz on WWIV

Commentary is running a Norman Podhoretz piece (an advance from the Sept. issue) on World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win. I've already heard the piece called a must-read. Commentary comments,
Not to be missed, this essay puts together for the first time the full story of the war and the case for the Bush Doctrine, answers the arguments of the critics, and lays out what is at stake in the struggle ahead. Must reading for the election season.
Unfortunately my computer is freezing whenever I try to read a pdf file, or else I'd have more to say about the article.

Guess which president gave this speech

Remember this speech by the President on the necessity of using military force against Iraq?

...I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

... Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

...The international community gave Saddam one last chance.... Saddam has failed to seize the chance. And so we had to act and act now.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike...

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort...

If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them. Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

...May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

By the way, the speech was delivered by President Clinton.

(Link via ScrappleFace.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Two headlines

"Arab-Americans tilt towards Kerry"--headline, Aug. 11, 2004, Aljazeera.net.

"Israelis believe Bush better for them than Kerry: poll"--headline, Aug. 11, 2004, AFP.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


I'll be mostly on vacation until Aug. 21 and posting very lightly if at all.

For the curious, I'll be in places like this and this with various members of my family.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

State-wise electoral analysis

This week Newsweek (Aug. 9 print edition) introduced a new weekly feature called "Swing State Watch." Given the nature of the electoral college, the state-by-state analysis is considerably more relevant than national opinion polls.

Newsweek refrains from predictions, but I have put the Newsweek data into my own newly created model which weights electoral votes by how solidly they are leaning toward each candidate. The model cranked out a prelimnary result: Bush squeaks by Kerry 272 to 266 electoral votes.

But first, back to the Newsweek data. Since I cannot find a link, I'll summarize the findings here:

  • Total Bush: 25 states, 211 electoral votes
  • Total Kerry: 15 states+DC, 207 electoral votes
  • Toss-up: 10 states, 120 electoral votes
The data are further broken down as follows:

Solid Bush (15 states, 110 electoral votes)
  • Alabama, 9 electoral votes
  • Alaska, 3
  • Idaho, 4
  • Indiana, 11
  • Kansas, 6
  • Mississippi, 6
  • Montana, 3
  • Nebraska, 5
  • NDak, 3
  • Okla, 7
  • SCar, 8
  • SDak, 3
  • Texas, 34
  • Utah, 5
  • Wyoming, 3

Likely Bush (7 states, 72 electoral votes)

  • Ariz, 10
  • Ark, 6
  • GA, 15
  • Kent, 8
  • LA, 9
  • Tenn, 11
  • Va, 13

Leaning Bush (3 states, 29 electoral votes)

  • Colo, 9
  • NCar, 15
  • WVa, 5

Solid Kerry (7 states+DC, 92 electoral votes)

  • Conn, 7
  • DC, 3
  • Hawaii, 4
  • Ill, 21
  • MD, 10
  • Mass, 12
  • NY, 31
  • RI, 4

Likely Kerry (3 states, 73 electoral votes)

  • Calif, 55
  • NJ, 15
  • Verm, 3

Leaning Kerry (5 states, 42 electoral votes)

  • Dela, 3
  • Maine, 4
  • Mich, 17
  • Oreg, 7
  • Wash, 11
Toss-up (10 states, 120 electoral votes)
  • Fla, 27 (49% Bush, 45% Kerry)
  • Iowa, 7 (46, 45)
  • Minnesota, 10 (45, 48)
  • Missouri, 11 (48, 48)
  • Nevada, 5 (46, 43)
  • NHamp, 4 (45, 47)
  • NMex, 5 (42, 49)
  • Ohio, 20 (44, 49)
  • Penn, 21 (43, 48)
  • Wisc, 10 (42, 48)

The Newsweek piece is a bit lacking in explanation of methodology. For example, it is unclear if the Kerry/Bush percentage breakdown for toss-up states is based on likely voters or registered voters. It does state that all polls were conducted between July 6 and July 22. Also, the terms "solid," "likely" and "leaning" are not defined.

Back to my analysis:

I've done another stage of analysis and created a preliminary model which predicts Bush beating Kerry, 272 electoral votes to 266.

Assumptions in my model:

  • The electoral votes are weighted by how solidly they lean toward each candidate. Each candidate wins
    • 90% of his "solid" electoral votes and 10% of the other guy's;
    • 80% of his "likely" electoral votes and 20% of the other guy's;
    • 70% of his "leaning" electoral votes and 30% of the other guy's.
    • For the toss-up states:
      • I normalized the percentages to so that the total of each state is 100%.
      • I then assigned each candidate a weighted average of the toss-up electoral votes, weighting each vote by the percent likelihood that the candidate wins that vote.
    • All data are based on the Swing State Watch from the Aug. 8 print edition of Newsweek.
    • This methodology is somewhat flawed:
      • The model gives each candidate roughly half of each toss-up state's votes. In reality each toss-up state will go fully to one or the other candidate. The model's implicit assumption therefore is that the total electoral votes of the toss-up states split roughly in half (or more exactly, 59 to Bush and 61 to Kerry).
      • The model is based on data from Newsweek which are not fully explained. I do not know if the toss-up state figures are based on registered or likely voters, and I do not know the definitions of "solid," "likely" and "leaning."

    My model breaks down electoral votes among Newsweek's classifications as follows:

    • "Solid" states: Bush 108, Kerry 94.
    • "Likely" states: Bush 72, Kerry 73.
    • "Leaning" states: Bush 33, Kerry 38.
    • Toss-up states: Bush 59, Kerry 61.
    • Total: Bush 272, Kerry 266.

    And thus ends my analysis for the day.

    (By the way, for folks wanting to do back-of-the envelope state-by-state electoral analysis, I recommend OpinionJournal's electoral college calculator.)

    Dean-supporting Yale economist predicts 57% Bush win

    Yale economics professor and Howard Dean supporter Ray Fair has developed an economic model which predicts a Bush landslide in 2004:
    These new [as of July 31, 2004] economic values give a prediction of 57.48 percent of the two-party vote for President Bush...
    Fair points out that if he is known to be a Republican, people may write off his projection of a large Bush victory as pro-Bush propaganda; if he is known to be a Democrat, his prediction may seem more credible.

    Seems to me he's a Democrat and hence unlikely to be a pro-Bush propagandist.

    From searching FEC data, I found that Fair gave $250 to Howard Dean's campaign last November. Given that Dean ran on an anti-Bush platform, it is a reasonable guess that Fair prefers Kerry to Bush.

    Is it plausible that Fair is a Bush supporter who thought Dean would be the easiest candidate to beat? That's what experienced doctors call a zebra diagnosis (where a new intern hears hoof beats and expects to see a zebra) .

    (Thanks to Right Side Redux for the original link to the study.)

    Update: Fair gave away his Kerry partisanship in an Aug. 15 NY Times Magazine interview.

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    Never again

    A brief slide show of 9/11 so we don't forget.

    And a poster: "Have you forgotten?"

    Update: A (7 meg) flash 9/11 tribute.

    Journalists for Kerry

    To the credit of the NY Times, the paper examined media bias among those covering the campaign. I was shocked--shocked!--that the paper's informal survey revealed a liberal tendency among journalists:
    We got anonymous answers from 153 journalists, about a third of them based in Washington.

    When asked who would be a better president, the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1. Those results jibe with previous surveys over the past two decades showing that journalists tend to be Democrats, especially the ones based in Washington.

    Good news from Iraq

    The horror we are fighting

    Another hostage murdered:
    Turkish foreign ministry identified the victim of a shooting shown on a web-posted video as Murat Yuce, a cleaner working for the Bilintur catering company.

    The video shows a hostage who identified himself as Yuce and as blindfolded was being shot in the head by one of three hooded gunmen as they shout Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest).

    The masked man fired two more bullets into the victim's head after he fell to the ground, his face down in a pool of blood.
    We must see this war through to the end.

    Athena posts a link to the video. Be warned that it is graphically violent.

    Horrid though the video is, its shock effect seems considerably less than that of the video of Nick Berg's beheading. Here is a discussion of the different sorts of terror videos.

    Two Americas

    Finally, Sen. John Edwards retracted his statement about there being two Americas, saying that he had gotten that information from Mapquest.

    Bounce? What bounce?

    This USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll has some interesting data from before and after the Democratic convention. The numbers are still too close to call and within the margin of error, but the movement is surprising.

    During the Democratic convention, among likely voters, the number of certain Bush voters increased by 5% while overall Bush voters increased by 3%; Kerry's numbers declined a bit.

    [See UPDATE III below. USA Today has pulled the likely voter data from its site!]

    Here are the data:

    BEFORE CONVENTION (Jul 19-21):
    • Kerry/Edwards 49% (43% certain, 6% leaning)
    • Bush/Cheney 47% (40% certain, 7% leaning)

    AFTER CONVENTION (Jul 30-31):

    • Kerry/Edwards 47% (42% certain, 5% leaning)
    • Bush/Cheney 50% (45% certain, 5% leaning)

    UPDATE I: Others caution against reading too much into these numbers.

    UPDATE II: Newsweek's poll gives Kerry a small bounce:
    Kerry’s four-point “bounce” is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll.
    Newsweek blames, in part, the media:
    And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.
    UPDATE III: USA Today has pulled the likely voter numbers from its site as of this posting (10:10 pm EST, Aug. 2, 2004). Left on the site are the less relevant, but more favorable to Kerry, numbers for national adults and for registered voters. Does anyone have an explanation?