November 2004 Archives

November 30, 2004

Should Tories Mirror Bush and Focus on Conservative Values?

Colin Brown, deputy political editor of The Independent of Britain, reported on November 29, 2004, that "Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, says his successor, Michael Howard, should mirror George Bush's approach to the U.S. presidential campaign by focusing on traditional Conservative values." It wouldn't hurt them to try the Bush approach. Nothing else has worked in their effort to defeat Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been labeled Bush's Poodle.

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Are Abstinence Programs a Waste of Time and Public Money?

Are abstinence programs "a complete waste of time and public money?" Alex Turnbull thinks they are. He offered his views in a November 29, 2004 post at Harvard Crimson.Com. His article is headlined "No Sex, Please...We’re Republicans: An argument against abstinence-only."

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Black Evangelicals and the Republican Party

Political analyst and columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson notes that "In post-election exit polls, a majority of black evangelicals said jobs, the economy, health care, and education topped their list of concerns. In the volumes of election post-mortems, black leaders and top Democrats seized on that as proof that, although Bush got a marginal boost in black support compared to the 2000 elections, Republicans failed to get blacks to break Democratic ranks and vote en masse for him," he wrote, adding: "They're right and wrong." Click here to read why.

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Beauprez: Orthodox Jews Have a Love Affair With the Republican Party

Representative Bob Beauprez (R-Colorado) told an audience in Jerusalem that Orthodox Jews in the United States are in a "love affair" with the Republican Party, according Haaretz, an Israeli daily. "What we're seeing is not a flirtation [between the two camps] but rather a serious love affair," the paper quoted Mr. Beauprez as saying. "Jews one after another have been very open about their support for the president and they backed that up recently at the ballot box."

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The Clinton Riddle

"The University of Arkansas Press has published the first scholarly assessment of Bill Clinton's presidency, titled "The Clinton Riddle," according to the Associated Press. The wire service said "The compilation of essays by 11 of the nation's top political scientists and historians concludes that Clinton was "a pragmatic and defensive player" who was at his best when under attack."

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November 29, 2004

River Bend: Elections in Iraq Are a Mystery

"Elections [in Iraq] are a mystery," contends River Bend, the "girl" blogger that publishes Baghdad Burning. "No one knows if they'll actually take place and it feels like many people don't want to have anything to do with them. They aren't going to be legitimate any way. The only political parties participating in them are the same ones who made up the Governing Council several months ago [Iyad] Allawi's group, [Ahmad] Chalabi's group, SCIRI, Da'awa and some others. Allawi, in spite of all his posturing and posing, has turned himself into a hateful figure after what happened in Falloojeh. As long as he is in a position of power, America will be occupying Iraq. People realize that now. He's Bush's boy. He has proved that time and again and people are tired of waiting for something insightful or original to come from his government." Click here to read more.

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River Bend: The Whole World is Aware and Silent About Fallujah

River Bend, the "Girl" blogger from Iraq that's behind the popular Baghdad Burning, today wrote that, "The wounded in Falloojeh aren't getting treatment and today we heard about a family with six children being bombed in the city.

"It's difficult to believe that in this day and age, when people are blogging, emailing and communicating at the speed of light, a whole city is being destroyed and genocide is being committed- and the whole world is aware and silent," she added. "Darfur, Americans? Take a look at what you've done in Falloojeh."

It's just an Arab city, River Bend. It wasn't New York, Tel Aviv or Washington, D.C. We only get upset when those cities are attacked.

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November 28, 2004

Neo-Cons Want Rumsfeld Out at Defense Department

The Times of London, in an article headlined "Neocons join the lynch mob for ‘arrogant’ Rumsfeld," told its readers that, "In a seemingly innocuous Thanksgiving message to readers last week, William Kristol, the neoconservative editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, slipped in a surprise demand for [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld’s dismissal."

“What remains to be done is to announce new leadership for the department of defence,” wrote Kristol, according to The Times. “This, surely, would be an important opportunity for a strong, Bush-doctrine-supporting outsider, someone who of course would be a team player, but someone who could also work with the military and broaden support for the president’s policy.” Surely, The Times is not surprised by the call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation.

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Ted McClelland's Analysis of 'The New Civil War" in the U.S.

"The cultural and regional divisions wracking this nation are the latest flare-up of a persistent conflict in American politics," contends Ted McClelland in an insighful analysis at Democratic Underground.Com headlined "The New Civil War." He added:

But it's more than just a rematch of the Civil War. It's even deeper than that. It goes all the way back to Britain, where the ancestors of today's Northerners and Southerners didn't get along, either. The colonists brought their squabbling cultures to North America, where the fight continues to this day.
Mr. McClelland, a Chicago-based writer, whose "work has appeared in the Chicago Reader, In These Times, Mother Jones and Salon.com," provides a perspective on the conflict between the Northern and Southern factions of the American political landscape that I've not considered since my days at East-West University in Chicago. Click here to read his insightful analysis.

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Scholar: Kerry's Defeat Is No Reason for Democrats to Quit Values Debate

David C. Steinmetz, the Amos Ragan Kearns professor of the history of Christianity at the Divinity School of Duke University in Durham, N.C., notes in an article at HoustonChronicle.Com that,

"Some analysts, stunned by the victory of George W. Bush in the 2004 election, suggested that he had won re-election because of the support of right-wing evangelical Christians or fundamentalists (the terms were used interchangeably). A few even braced for the introduction of an unwelcome theocracy and spoke darkly of secession. Amazingly, nobody laughed
Mr. Steinmetz said, "After all, evangelicals are nothing new on the American political landscape," and that "in the 19th century, most of the so-called mainline Protestant churches were evangelical in their commitment to a traditional Christian view of faith and morals." Click here to read more of his insightful analysis.

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Helen Thomas: Democrats Should Stand Their Ground

Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas, who reportedly has covered more presidents than any other living journalist in the United States, used her latest column to tell Democrats they "should stand their ground. Voters in middle America will soon find out that real family values translate into a good education, health care for all and economic prosperity," she contends. "In other words, Democratic values will again be appreciated."

Sorry, Ms. Thomas, a Democratic political comeback will not result from Democrats just standing their ground. It will come from getting to know the "real America" and then shaping policies based on well-grounded research and analysis of the political, cultural and economic landscape. That's what the Republicans did. A candidate that the average American could relate to would also help. It's no coincidence that after President Richard Nixon left the White House in disgrace in 1974, our presidents, whether Democrats or Republicans, were southerners or midwesterners, or spent considerable time in the South or Midwest. This includeds the Bushes, who were born in the east but adopted Texas as their home state.

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Clarence Page: Democrats Are Leaderless and Themeless

Chicago Tribune Columnist Clarence Page, a man I know from his days working out of Tribune Towers here in Chicago, noted in his most recent column that,

"In the wake of their fifth defeat out of the last seven presidential elections, Democratic Party leaders are once again arguing, pointing fingers and scratching their heads over how they can win back red-state heartland America.

"It's a pretty sad sight. Having seen more wrestling matches for the soul of the party than I can count, this one reminds me more than ever of a flabby, middle-aged guy who is befuddled, after years of taking his wife for granted, that she is running away with a smooth-talking stud from down the street.

While many Democrats are screaming and hollering about a stolen election--some of their concerns are legitimate, the truth is that the party that once took its message to the grass roots were out hustled at a political game they practically invented in the big cities of America. Instead of relying primarily on media consultants, a campaign still has to be taken door-to-door to see what's on people's minds. You can't take voters, including traditional supporters, for granted. A candidate has to get up close and personal, especially in non-urban areas. I learned that lesson as a photographer for a senatorial campaign in the Eastern Arkansas Delta during the 1970s. Click here to read more of Mr. page's analysis.

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Maybe Bush Did Win Some Democratic Counties in Florida

Meg Laughlin and David Kidwell of Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that "The Miami Herald last week went to see for itself whether [President George W.] Bush's steamroll through north Florida was legitimate." Their article, published in the November 28, 2004, editions of The Seattle Times, noted that two reporters, "Picking three counties that fit the conspiracy-theory profile — staunchly Democratic by registration, whoppingly GOP by voting,... counted more than 17,000 ballots over three days. The conclusion: no conspiracy." Click here to read more.

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November 27, 2004

What Happened to the Republican 'Contract With America'?

On a November 26, 2004, Sacbee.Com noted in an editorial that now that the Republicans have been in control of the House of Representatives for a decade, "they're playing a different tune" from the one they played in 1994 when they adopted the Republican Contract with America. The paper said:

One of the appealing features of the 1994 Republican Contract with America was the call to "restore accountability to Congress" and "end its cycle of scandal and disgrace." The very first item was to "require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress."

An internal party rule adopted in those heady days was that Republican Party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives had to step down if indicted for any crime that carried a prison sentence of two or more years. If charges were dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor, the member could reclaim the leadership position.

Sacbee.Com said "This rule distinguished Republicans in the House as holding their party leaders to a higher standard of conduct than Democratic Party leaders, who had no similar rule." Click here to read more. The one guy the House changed the rules for was Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

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Is Hollywood a Land of Naive Liberals?

Is Hollywood a land of naive liberals? Yes, according to writer Burt Prelutsky. His latests views on the subject are in an article at ChronWatch. It's an interesting observation but a little too self-righteous, I think. If the public didn't like most of what Hollywood produces, or many of the people they use to peddle it, Hollywood would shut down and each one of those so-called 'liberal' stars--and conservative ones, too-- would be dropped like a hot potato. Hollywood the institution cares more about the bottom line than it does politics. That's just my opinion. What's yours?

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Should Bush Select a Moderate Conservative' for U.S. Supreme Court?

Neil S. Siegel,an assistant professor of law at Duke Law School,thinks President George W. Bush should pick a "Conservative moderate" as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

A Supreme Court appointment seems likely in the near future. The choice President Bush will face is whether to nominate the most conservative jurist he thinks can be confirmed, or to address the disturbing degree of polarization that continues to fester in America by choosing a less extreme jurist. For the sake of his country and his legacy, he should select a moderate conservative.

Mr. Siegel's views were posted November 22 2004, at Sun-Sentinel.Com. Click here to read more of his analysis.

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Christian Science Monitor: 'Has the Melting Pot Melted?'

"Has the melting pot melted?" asks a headline in the November 24, 2004, edition of The Christian Science Monitor. It tops an article that notes that, "Marketers have come a long way in the 70 years since a Chicago advertising agency dreamed up "the all-American boy" - tidy, white-bread Midwesterner Jack Armstrong - for a nationwide radio serial used mainly to sell Wheaties for General Mills." The article quotes Guy Garcia, "a journalist and author of "The New Mainstream," a book now creating a buzz in the business press," as saying:

"There's an invisible revolution going on behind the obvious changes [that indicate that consumer goods "once on the fringe have gone mainstream"].It will change not only how people see themselves and other people in the media, but more fundamentally, how businesses orient themselves."

The National Political Observer highly recommends this interesting look at how advertising and business strategies in the United States are being shaped by evolving attitudes on race, culure and the spending power of non-white Americans. Click here to read it.

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The 'Wide Culture Gap Between the Left and the Right'

Hubert G. Locke, " a retired professor and former dean of the Daniel J. Evans Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington." opined in a November 26, 2004 "special" to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, that:

Unless your side won, you're probably sick of talk about the elections. So am I, with one important exception. The Democratic Party and its leadership doesn't seem to have a clue about the sentiments of the religious right, which, we are told by the post-poll pundits, was a significant factor in the Republican win. Admitting as much, Democrats are beginning to mutter about the need to re-examine the party's secular base and to look for ways to reach out to religious conservatives in our society.
Mr. Locke said "Al From, who heads the Democratic Leadership Council, says, 'We've got to close the cultural gap' -- presumably between the liberal values of the left and the conservative convictions on the right." Click here to read more of Mr. Locke's commentary. By the way, I expect this debate within the Democratic Party to continue for at least the next four years. During that time, the Conservatives won't be resting on their laurels. They will continue to reinforce their political base.

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Values, Voters and Televison

Washington Times Columnist Diana West has taken The New York Times to task over a front page story in the November 21, 2004, edition of The Times headlined "Many Who Voted for 'Values' Still Like Their Television Sin." Ms. West's piece is headlined "'Values voters' and the tube." Read it here.

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Bush Comments on Ukraine Presidential Election

President Geroge W. Bush, whose own re-election on November 2, 2004, has been hit with charges that his campaign operatives committed vote fraud in Ohio and Florida, commented November 26, 2004, on the elections in Ukraine.

"There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that placed their election, the validity of their elections, in doubt. The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this, and hopefully it will be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government."
The Government Accountability Office plans to investigate how the vote was counted in the U.S. presidential election.

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November 26, 2004

Will Halliburton Whistleblower Be Hung Out to Dry?

Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers top civilian contract officer, contends that the Pentagon improperly awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts without competition to Halliburton Co., the firm Vice President Dick Cheney headed before he was picked as President George W. Bush's running mate in 2000. According to news reports, Ms. Greenouse, whose charges have led to racial and sexual harassment, according to her former supervisor, has been interviewed by the FBI. She is now gathering documents requested by the bureau and Army criminal investigators, Michael Kohn, her attorney, said on November 24, 2004, according to IndyStar.Com. The bureau first requested permission to interview her in late October 2004. Halliburton said Ms. Greenhouse's accusations were politically motivated. Will she be used and hung out to dry? Will Halliburton continue business as usual? Time will tell.Click here to read more.

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Death by Committee Likely Will Be The Fate of Read Before Signing Proposal

The Columbian, which serves Clark County, Washington, says "Sadly, death by committee likely will be the fate of a proposal by U.S. Representative Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, who wants sufficient time to read proposed legislation before voting on it. That doesn't seem too much to ask." It's not. But if congressmen are given time to read legislation, lobbyists may not get some of their pet projects through. Some bills become law simply because many of our congressmen approve them without knowing exactly what legislation they are inacting. Click here to read more of The Columbian's editorial.

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U.S. Legislator Campaigns for More Time to Read Bills

Jeff Kosseff of Newhouse News Service reported November 25, 2004, that "There's a dirty secret on Capitol Hill: Legislators usually vote on bills that could radically change constituents' lives without reading them. In part, this reflects the complexity of legislation. But it also shows the increasing distance between legislators and the mundane but important work of drafting laws" he wrote. Click here to read how "Representative Brian Baird, D-Washington) is trying to reverse that trend by pressing the House Rules Committee to require at least three days between the release of a bill and a vote on it, unless two-thirds of House members vote to override the requirement," according to Mr. Kosseff.

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Columnist Ernest Dumas on 'Bible-based Government'

Arkansas Times Columnist Ernest Dumas, in a November 18, 2004, article headlined "Bible-based government," said "The 22 percent of President Bush’s voters who said they picked him because of their concern for “moral values” are Bush’s problem, not the Democrats’.

If Bush has been listening to the interviews with the Biblical inerrantists and evangelicals who have raged about what they expect of him in exchange for their votes his hair must be standing on his neck. They want the Old Testament, especially the book of Leviticus, enshrined in the federal criminal code.
Mr. Dumas said "Democrats ought to be excused for a certain amount of lamentation after their electoral defeats, but they ought to banish from their midst the pharisees who say that Democrats need to pray louder and boast more about their faith and piety if they are going to beat Republicans from here on."

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Columnist Sees 'No Immediate Political Changes Ahead'

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Columnist Ted Van Dyk, founding president of the Center for National Policy," contends in his November 25, 2004 column that:

Every re-elected president from Franklin Roosevelt onward has run into trouble in his second term. All have seen their re-elections as larger mandates than they were. Bush has working majorities in both House and Senate but they are not large enough to pass major legislation, or approve any court or other nominee, without moderate, bipartisan support. Bush will be able in 2005 to start debate on his big Social Security, tax, energy and other domestic proposals. But, without making compromises, he will find them stalled. After the polarization that followed his Iraq intervention, Bush will need to tread equally carefully on international policy.

Presidents not only overreach in their second terms; their parties lose congressional seats in the next off-year elections -- in this case, in 2006. No re-elected modern president, including FDR, has been immune to this syndrome. After the midterms, likely weakened in Congress, Bush will be a two-year lame duck.

The National Political Observer welcomes such old fashioned political analysis from some one who has been "a senior adviser in numerous presidential campaigns," according to the Washington Post. Click here to read more of Mr. Van Dyk's column.

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NNS: 'Cutting-edge Mobilization May Have Won the Day for Bush'

Jonathan Tilove of Newhouse News Service says some political scientists have concluded that "a voter mobilization campaign beyond anything the United States had seen for decades" is the reason that President George W. Bush defeated Senator John Kerry in the November 2, 2004 presidential election. Click here to read more of this insightful article.

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November 25, 2004

U.S. Casualities in Iraq: What is the Actual Count?

Juan Cole over at Informed Comment , one of the most widely read blogs on Middle East affairs, notes that "CBS has elicited from the Pentagon the real figure of U.S. casualties in Iraq, which is more like 25,000. That number includes the 1230 or so killed and the 9300 classified as "wounded in battle," but also 17,000 classified as non-combat sick or injured, of whom 80 percent do not return to their units in Iraq," Mr. Cole wrote, adding: "Although some of the 17,000 are victims of disease, some unspecified number have actually been injured as a result of being in a theater of war. If you have an "accident" while guns and bombs are going off all around you, is it really an "accident"? he asked.

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The Watson v. Jarvis Debate

Tom Watson's Rather v. Jarvis , a strong critique of Jeff Jarvis' aricle over at BuzzMachine on Dan Rather's resignation as anchor of the CBS Evening News, has generated thoughtful and interesting commentary from his readers. Of course, Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Watson are defending their respective positions on whether bloggers should be gloating over Mr. Rather's resignation. I applaud them and their readers on their civil discourse on a subject--Dan Rather and bloggers--that is often very contentious.

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Bloggers Should Heed Tom Watson and Anil Dash's Warning

I agree with Anil Dash's observation that "Tom Watson's take on Dan Rather's resignation seems exactly right." Mr. Dash said:

Be careful the gloating you do and the negativity you celebrate, because they'll be visited upon you one day. I wouldn't expect everyone in the TV industry to celebrate the day that a network decides to take down a blogger, either.

This is how Mr. Watson, whose tagline is "My Dirty Life and Times," starts his article on Mr. Rather's resignation as CBS Evening News anchor:

The resonant chuckles of gloating satisfaction settled over New York, scattering on the digital winds in the perverse pornography of pleasure at someone else's misfortune. Dan Rather got his. The right was right. The Bushes were vindicated. And bloggers were ascendant. What garbage. I'm especially disappointed in the self-appointed head executioner, uber-blogger Jeff Jarvis, whose anti-big media rant at the head of the fictional army of blogging sans coulottes reeks of wanna-be royalty leading his betters to the guillotine.

That's a strong opening statement. The rest of the article is just as strong. It is certain to cause much debate. But that's good. Maybe it will cause some of us to reflect on something many parents tell their children. That is: "What goes up must eventually come down." Some parents put it this way: "What goes around comes around." On that note, I predict that it's just a matter of time before one of Technorati's Top 100 blogers is singled out for investigation by a mainstream media investigator.

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November 23, 2004

Will Bloggers Take Credit for Rather's Resignation?

The National Political Observer is waiting to see how many bloggers will claim they are responsible for Dan Rather's resignation as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News. He will give up the anchor's chair in March 2005. As CNN noted:

On a September 8 segment of "60 Minutes II," Rather reported allegations that during the Vietnam era, [President George W.] Bush received special consideration to get into the Texas Air National Guard and subsequently did not fulfill his service obligations, including ignoring an order to get a required physical exam.

Among the evidence cited were four memos critical of the future president, purportedly written by Bush's then-squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984.

Bloggers, led by Power Line, immediately challenged the authenticity of the documents. This forced mainstream journalists to jump into the fray. When they questioned the authenticity of the memos, CBS had to abandon its claim of certainty that the documents were not forgeries. CBS promised to investigate how the network screwed up. However, not report has been released.

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Kevin Sites is a Journalist, Not a Military Press Functionary

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in The Foreign News Observer. It can also be found at The TDT Observer Review).

CHICAGO--I've read freelance solo journalist Kevin Sites' "Open Letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1" that was published on his personal website on November 21, 2004. The site, according to a prominently displayed disclaimer, is "not affiliated with or funded by NBC News," for whom Mr. Sites is "currently on assignment in Iraq."

Mr. Sites tells the Marines, and the world, how he came to take the now famous photos of a U.S. Marine executing a wounded Iraqi resistance fighter in a mosque in Fallujah. The photos generated widespread commentary in the United States and abroad. Some observers called Mr.Sites an anti-war activist. Others said he should be propagandizing for the U.S. occupation force in Iraq. Some even suggested that the Marines should have shot him, too.

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November 22, 2004

Chicago Voters Appear to Have Higher Standards Than House Republicans.

"Could this be the beginning of the end for 'The Hammer'? Chicago Tribune Columnist Clarence Page asked in his November 22, 2004, column. He noted that "House Republicans have rewritten their ethics rules so Majority Leader Tom DeLay won't have to resign if he is indicted." Click here to read whether Mr. page thinks "The Hammer" can survive politically or suffer the fate of former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois, who was indicted in 1994. He was forced to give up his committee assignments, and was eventually convicted of mail fraud.

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Falwell's Law School Enrolling Students

Liberty University, founded in Lynchburgh, Virginia in 1971 by the Reverend Jerry Falwell, has begun a law school to train Christian lawyers to fight what Mr. Falwell perceives as growing secularization in the United States, according to Emma Schwartz of the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Scwartz's article can be found here.

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Something Stinks About Defeat of Intelligence Bill

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Neil Steinberg said in his November 22, 2004 column that,"Something stinks in the way intelligence reform died in the House. I can't believe that President Bush, newly re-elected and triumphant, really couldn't get this bill passed, but was thwarted by a couple of non-entity Congressmen worried about their Pentagon pals." he wrote. Click here to read more.

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Who Inserted Tax Return Provision Into Spending Bill?

Who inserted language into the $388 billion omnibus spending bill that would have allowed House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young (R-Florida) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) access to U.S. citizens' tax returns?

Micah Leydorf, deputy chief of staff for Representative Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma) told CNN on November 21, 2004, that Mr. Young and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-California) inserted language into the bill at the full committee level. It would have given Mr. Young, Mr. Stevens or their agents "access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein," the network reported. Mr. Istook is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service.

"It wasn't our language," Ms. Leydorf said, according to CNN. "It wasn't our initiative. It was not in the original bill."

"Honest mistakes were made, but there's no conspiracy here," Mr. Istook has been quoted as saying.

According to CNN, "Staff members of Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, found the language in the 3,500-page bill" on November 20, 2004 "after the House passed it on to the Senate as the deadline before the Senate's holiday recess rapidly approached."

Click here to read CNN's revealing report. One would think the Republicans had more finesse than to try to pull what is discussed in the article. It will be interesting to see how conservative and liberal bloggers handle this issue.

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November 21, 2004

If Bush Fires Rumsfeld, He May Get His Intelligence Reform Bill Passed

During a news conference November 21, 2004, after the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Santiago, Chile, President George W. Bush said: "I was disappointed" the National Intelligence Reform Bill of 2004 "didn't pass. I thought it was going to pass up to the last minute." Mr. Bush plans to keep lobbying for passage of the bill. However, he will have to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to get it done. They adamantly opposed the bill, and got their Republican supporters in the House of Representaive make certain it didn't come up for a vote.

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George Bush, Not Donald Rumsfeld, is Commander in Chief

While the Senate passed the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 by a vote of 96-2," The problem was in the House, and the problem was that some members of the House Republican majority dug in," U.S.Representative Jane Harman (D-CA)of the House Intelligence committee told host Chris Wallace on the November 21, 2004 edition of Fox News Sunday. She appeared with Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

They never wanted a bill, they never will want a bill, and it was unfortunate that Speaker [
Dennis] Hastert couldn't go around them. And more unfortunate is that the president, as commander in chief, not the secretary of defense, the president, as commander in chief, couldn't get the secretary of defense to stop his opposition, which has been ongoing for months and which emboldened some of these House folks to dig in.
Ms. Harmon said the Pentagon "was resisting" the bill, "in public. It was absolutely clear in his [Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] August 17, 2004, testimony before Congress that he opposed this bill."

She noted that "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, sent a letter in about three or four weeks ago that made it much harder for us to get the compromise we did. It was a very good bill in which the Senate and the House Democrats moved a long way toward the objection of some of these House Republicans. I thought it was a fair, tough compromise."

"The stars and the moon were aligned," she lamented, "and these few folks sadly embarrassed the speaker of the House, embarrassed the president of the United States and set us back, I think, a long way." Click here to read a Fox News Sunday transcript of the interview with Ms. Harman and Mr. Roberts on the failure of the intelligence reform bill.

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A Tribute to Recently Defeated Senator Tom Daschle

Dakota Today, one of my favorite blogs, has posted an interesting tribute to recently defeated Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. The tribute was made by South Dakota State Senator Frank J Kloucek.

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Toronto Sun Columnist Says 'World Eschews' Condi Rice

Eric Margolis, contributing foreign editor of the Toronto Sun, writes in his November 21, 2004, column that "The image of Condi Rice and George Bush sitting at the White House piano singing Onward Christian Soldiers is unsettling Europe, which thought Bush II might restore America to its traditional multilateral foreign policy. Even Bush's faithful British retainer, Tony Blair, is looking increasingly unhappy," he said. Click here to read more of Mr. Maroglis provocative column.

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November 20, 2004

The Telegraph: Why Powell Was Given His Marching Orders

The Daily Telegraph of London's News.Telegraph reported November 21, 2004, that "Colin Powell, the outgoing U.S. secretary of state, was given his marching orders after telling President George W Bush that he wanted greater power to confront Israel over the stalled Middle East peace process." Click here to read more. The Bush Administration will deny that is the reason Mr. Powell left. No administration wants it to appear that U.S. Middle East policy is dictated in Tel Aviv although in some instances it is.

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Speaker Dennis Hastert's Remarks on the 108th Congress

On November 20, 2004, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made these remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives just before the 108th Congress adjourned. Congress reconvenes in January 2005. Perhaps the Congress' major shortcoming was failure to pass the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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Why Was the Intelligence Reform Bill Scuttled?

If Republicans control the White House, House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, why didn't the Bush Administration supported effort to reform the nation's intelligence community succeed? It was because the Republican controlled Department of Defense, also called The Pentagon, and its Republican allies in Congress adamantly opposed the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. According to Knight-Ridder, the Pentagon controls "80 percent of the nation's intelligence agencies." Its main intelligence arm is the Defense Intelligence Agency. Immigration concerns also played a role.

Representative Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was the Pentagon's point man on defeating the the reform measure.

In fact, in October 2004, Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent Mr. Hunter a letter in which he said he supports the House position that would let the Pentagon continue to have "oversight of funding for the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, commonly known as combat support agencies," according to GovExec.Com.

After the Pentagon made its position known, President George W. Bush nor Vice-President Dick Cheney were able to save the measure. Click here to read why Mr. Hunter and others say they opposed the measure. Click here for more on the 2004 Congressional debate on intelligence reform recommended by the 9/11 Commission,

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Settling Scores Or Genuine Reform at CIA: Which Is It?

The Boston Globe stated in a November 19, 2004, editorial that "the current purging of senior officials at the Central Intelligence Agency suggests a settling of partisan scores rather than an effort to introduce genuine accountability." Click here to read more.

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Fred Barnes Rant on 'Regime Change at the State Deparment'

The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes has written a revealing rant on what some Conservatives call regime change at the State Department. It's headlined "Goodbye Colin, Hello Condi."

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DeLay's Ethics Highlights Rancor Between Democrats, Republicans

San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Edward Epstein's analysis of what he calls the "rancor" between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress provides a glimpse at what is like to to be the political atmopshere on Capitol Hill for the next four years. The latest sign of trouble occurred November 19, 2004, when, as Mr. Epstein noted, "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and the Democrats' minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, intensifying the rancor between the parties, swapped charges...over their ethical records in a dispute arising out of a case in which [Mr.] DeLay was admonished last month." Click here to read more of Mr. Epstein's analysis. It's headlined "DeLay says he's being persecuted, levels charges at Pelosi." U.S. Politics Today has a list of articles memorializing Mr. DeLay's ethics problems.

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November 19, 2004

'It's Politically Incorrect' to Talk About Illegal Immigration

Jack Moseley, in a November 19, 2004, Arkansas News Bureau column headlined "It's politically incorrect," said "Both Democratic and Republican politicians are ignoring the obvious, negative impacts of illegal immigration, mainly because of the large number of registered Hispanic voters in a growing number of states and in most of the country's larger cities. Both political parties propose making the illegal immigrants legal residents and ultimately citizens in one way or another," he said.

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Michelle Malkin: 'When it Comes to Minority Conservatives...'

Michelle Malkin says "When it comes to minority conservatives, liberal bigotry knows no bounds." She was referring to the criticism frequently directed at Dr. Condoleeza Rice. I suspect there are also many conservatives who despise the fact that she is replacing outgoing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell at the State Department. Many Americans think the U.S.'face to the world should be white. By the way, what's a minority conservative? Click here to read more of Ms. Malkin's commentary.

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The Truth Laid Bear on Blogs, Old Media and Exit Polls

The Truth Laid Bear reported November 18, 2004 that "Some in the mainstream media have latched onto the release of Election Day exit polls by weblogs (notably Wonkette), attempting to use the early release of what turned out to be misleading polls showing a Kerry surge as a cudgel with which to beat back the blogger barbarians at Old Media’s gate. This was to be expected," The Truth Laid Bear said, adding: "the media pattern is time-worn and familiar: build up the trend until it reaches a critical mass of hype, wait for the inevitable flaw or mistake to emerge, then pounce, and let the blacklash begin." The Truth Laid Bear's defense of bloggers' performance on November 2, 2004 (election day) is the best I've read to date.

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Ethics Committee Comes to DeLay's Rescue

Larry Margasak of the Associated Press reports that The House ethics committee last night [November 18, 2004] turned the tables on Majority Leader Tom DeLay's accuser, rebuking Representative Chris Bell for exaggerating misconduct allegations against the GOP leader." I'm not suprised. Tom DeLay is a powerful man. Who wants to be on the receiving end of the big pay back? Click here to read more.

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Newsday.Com: 'And Protecting Delay Makes Sense'

Newsday.Com opined on November 19, 2004 that "innocent until proven guilty is still the rule in the United States, even for a polarizing, no-holds-barred politician like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). So, howls of righteous partisan outrage aside, House Republicans were on solid ground this week when they rescinded a rule that forced members to give up any post in the leadership if indicted." Well, there is precedent for it. Our lawmakers have historically passed laws and rules that applied to ordinary people but not to themselves. Click here to read the editorial

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November 18, 2004

Kerry: New Debt Ceiling is a 'Birth Tax' for Future Generations

On November 17, 2004, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who was defeated by President George W. Bush in the November 2, 2004, presidential balloting, said the Senate's November 17, 2004, approval of an $800 billion increase in the federal debt limit "...can be called a birth tax, a birth tax that is dumped on the back of every American child unwillingly." Mr. Kerry voted against raising the debt ceiling. The National Political Observer also thinks increasing the national debt is a bad idea. That's what increasing the debt ceiling will lead to.

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The Hill: Republican Judiciary Committee Members Vow to Support Specter

The Hill, which bills itself as "The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress," reports that "Every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee has pledged to support Senator Arlen Specter’s (R-Pa.) bid to become the panel’s chairman, paving the way for his ascension in January [2005]." Read about it here.

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USA's Pop Culture Panel Sounds Off on the Kissing President

USA TODAY's "pop culture panel" sounds off about President George W. Bush Kissing Secretary of State Designate Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Education Designate Margaret Spellings on the day he announced their appointments. Both Ms. Rice and Ms. Spellings seem estatic to me. Didn't Ms. Rice once refer to Mr. Bush as her husband?

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Clinton Little Rock.Com

Take a look at ClintonLittleRock.Com. You don't have to be a Clinton Lover.

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Bush's Remarks at Dedication of Clinton Presidential Center

The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center was opened on November 18, 2004 in Little Rock. It drew an estimated 30,000 visitors including President George W. Bush, and former presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Here are President Bush's remarks memorializing the occasion.

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The Arkansas Blog

The Arkansas Blog is a interesting undertaking by the folks at the alternative Arkansas Times, a tabloid that publishes once a week. On October 16, 2004, John Brummett, a columnist for Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock, published an article on the blog. You can read it here. By the way, Mr. Brummet said "in Arkansas the local television stations don't do much politics anymore. They're busy with weather and self-promotion. And the two main daily newspaper owners are Republicans - the Stephenses and Walter Hussman at the Little Rock paper.

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Thousands of Provisional Ballots Cast on November 2 Didn't Count in Illinois

The Chicago Sun-Times reported November 18, 2004, that "Thousands of provisional ballots cast on Election Day did not count in Cook County and across Illinois, most because local election authorities say they found no evidence the person was registered to vote." Click here to read the rest of the story. I think this needs investigating.

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'No Blue Dress, No hug, No Cigar'

"No blue dress, no hug, no cigar. Welcome to the sanitized "scandal" exhibit at Bill Clinton's $165 million presidential library, which officially opens today in Little Rock." That's the way Vince Morris in Little Rock, Ark.,and Marsha Kranes in New York opened their November 18, 2003 article in the New York Post on the opening of former President Bill Clinton's Presidential Library in Little Rock. Mr. Clinton shouldn't be expected to give as much attention to a sex scandal as he does to his presidential accomplishments. Click here to read more of the Post report.

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Paul Greenberg and the Return of 'Slick Willie'

Syndicated Columnist Paul Greeberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, says "It's started all over again.

The calls from visiting journalists. The requests for television interviews. The grand opening of the Clinton Library and Nostalgia Bazaar has brought 'em all out again, like the furies. But, thank goodness, they're not really interested in me. Or, for that matter, in Bill Clinton. No, they want the inside scoop on his alter ego, his evil twin, the Banquo at this otherwise cheery banquet, the notorious, the resilient, the absolutely unkillable . . . Slick Willie.
Mr. Greenberg coined the term. Click here to read his column headlined "Return of Slick Willie."

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Will NSA's Hayden Become Number 2 at the CIA?

Will National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen Michael V. Hayden become the Central Intelligence Agency's Deputy Director under Director Porter Goss? Speculation in Washington, D.C. is that he will. Click here to read more.

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Some Democrats Say Kerry Should Have Spent All of His Campaign Money

Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000, and other members of the Democratic National Committee are angry with Senator John Kerry for not spending all the money he raised during his unsuccessful presidential campaign against President George Bush. "Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars,"AP Political Writer Ron Fournier quotes Ms. Brazille as saying.

Ms. Brazile and other Democrats seem not to understand that Mr. Kerry didn't lose because he didn't spend all the money he had. He could have spent it and he still would have lost. The Democrats lost because they did not engage voters in their non-traditional base with issues that meant something to them. Issues such as Gay marriage, abortion, religon and other cultural issues that President Bush so effectively tapped into. Mr. Bush even picked up some African-American votes on the gay marriage issue. These are areas where a candidate can't waffle in an attempt to not offend. The candiate has to take a stand based on conviction, not political expediency, and live with it.

Secondly, the campaign did not make effective use of mayors and democratic ward committeemen and women in urban areas such as Chicago. Instead, campaign consultants, not the people who understood their cities, developed campaign strategy that forgot that politics is local for most people. Click here to read more of the Fournier article headlined "Democrats Question Kerry's Campaign Funds."

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November 17, 2004

Columnist Says 'Jim Crow Rides Crimson Tide' in Alabama

John Brummett,a columnist for Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock, told his readers on November 16, 2004, that "Alabama doesn't want to end up like us in Arkansas. We were recently told by our state courts that our constitution's ancient education article requires us to do better by our children. That's especially the case for underprivileged African-Americans not enrolled in home schools or private or Christian ones, those retro tools of resegregation." Click here to read more.

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Al Franken in Little Rock

Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau noted in a November 16, 2004, article that "It didn't take liberal radio show host Al Franken long to extol former President Clinton and criticize President Bush during his three-hour show broadcast Monday [November 15, 2004] from the Arkansas Repertoire Theater" in Little Rock.

"We're here to celebrate the last successful president ... a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant man and perhaps the smartest president we've had certainly in recent times," Franken told a theater audience of more than 200 people and radio listeners near the beginning of his show, "Air America," Mr. Moritz quoted Mr. Frankin as saying

He said, "Ironically, the show does not air on any Arkansas station. The program, which began early this year as the liberal response to the conservative Rush Limbaugh program, has about 40 affiliates across the country. Limbaugh is syndicated on more than 600 stations. Click here to read more.

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Dick Morris Offers Good Advice to Bush Administration

Dick Morris, in his The Political Life column in The Hill, offers "Some second-term ideas for the triumphant Bush administration." On "Filibusters and judicial nominations," he urged the Bushies to "Beware of what happened to FDR in 1937 when, fresh from the most resounding reelection victory since the early days of the Republic, he became filled with hubris and proposed to pack the Supreme Court." Click here to read what happened to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's effort to pack the court so he could have his way. The Bush Administration should heed Mr. Morris' advice.

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Law Suit Filed in San Diego Mayoral Contest

"The League of Women Voters of San Diego filed a lawsuit Wednesday [November 17, 2004], asking a judge to require that all votes cast for mayoral write-in candidate Donna Frye be counted including ballots on which voters failed to fill in the bubble next to her name," according to an Associated Press article in the SFGate.Com. The candidates in this race are looking for any advantage that will reward their quest for political power.

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There Will be a Recount in Washington State Governor's Race

The Associated Press provides questions and answers about the Washington State governor's race, which is headed for a recount. Only 261 votes separate Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Christine Gregoire.

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Pelosi Says 'Republicans Have Reached a New Low'

After the House Republican Conference changed its rules so House Majority Leader Tom DeLay could continue to serve as Majority Leader if he is indicted on felony charges by a Travis County, Texas grand jury, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said "Republicans have reached a new low. It is absolutely mind-boggling that as their first order of business following the elections, House Republicans have lowered the ethical standards for their leaders. To change their own rules to allow someone indicted for a felony to serve as a top Republican leader is completely unacceptable." Click here to read more.

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Republicans Change Rules to Protect Tom Delay in the Event He's Indicted

House Majority leader Tom Delay (Rep.-Texas} is a powerful man. So powerful that on November 17, 2004, he got House Republicans to approve a party rules change that could allow him to retain his leadership post if a Travis County,Texas grand jury convened by District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicts him on state political corruption charges. According to the Austin Chronicle, 32 – felony indictments have been handed down to "three Republican political consultants and eight corporations with various forms of illegal solicitation, transfer, and expenditure of corporate contributions during the 2002 state legislative campaign."

The paper quotes Mr. Earle as saying, "Texas law makes it a felony to both give and receive political contributions from corporations and labor unions."

According to the Chronicle, "The defendants are accused of illegally handling corporate contributions collected and spent by the Texans for a Republican Majority, a political action committee on whose board [Mr.]DeLay served and that was modeled on his federal Americans for a Republican Majority."

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Some Papers Concerned About Groupthink in Bush Administration

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November 16, 2004

Christian Science Monitor Sees a Setback to U.S. Image in Iraq War

Dan Murphy, staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, has concluded that,"... in the heat of the moment Saturday [November 12, 2004], a young marine did severe damage to the image of a precise and clean assault that the U.S. had hoped to project from Fallujah.

The footage has already become more fodder on jihadi websites peddling the conspiracy theory that the US is on a crusade against global Islam. It also caused cringing in the capitals of US friends and allies. Tuesday [November 16, 2004], U.N. Human Rights chief Louise Arbour called for an investigation of alleged U.S. abuses in Fallujah.
The National Political Observer would be surprised if the killing of the un-armed Muslim fighter causes a stir in political circles in the U.S.. After all, thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003, and has not caused much outrage. Given that, why should one think the death of one resistance fighter will? Many of us think its our right to invade and occupy the land of others, especially if it's a Muslim country. Click here to read more of Mr. Murphy's analysis of the impact the execution is having on international public opinion.

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Sites' Video of Killing of Iraq Fighter Getting Attention in the Blogosphere

Kevin Sites' video of a U.S. Marine killing a wounded Iraqi resistance fighter is getting a lot of attention in the Blogsphere. Some bloggers are calling him a traitor; others are lauding him for taping the execution. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up hurt of missing in Iraq. Click here to read Technorati's round up of blogger opinion on Mr. Sites' video.

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Columnist Says Keyes Plans to Remain in Chicago to Help Rebuild GOP

Columnist Michael Sneed reported in the November 16, 2004, issue of the Chicago Sun-Times that she "hears former GOP senatorial candidate Alan Keyes has left Calumet City, [Illinois]" and has "bought a Loop condo, and has definitely decided to remain here [in Chicago]to help build the GOP...which is giving to GOPers a massive migraine." Mr. Keyes was brought in to challenge Barack Obama for the U.S. senate seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Mr. Obama won. Mr. Keyes proved to be an embarassment for state Republicans. By the way, the Loop is the business district in downtown Chicago. It is called that because the "L" [elevated train]tracks loop around it.

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November 15, 2004

Colin Powell's Resignation

"Secretary of State Colin Powell's resignation points up a truth about the making of American foreign policy in recent decades: It's the president and his closest advisers in the White House who fashion the policy," according to Howard LaFranchi, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor. The National Political Observer agrees. Not only has the current White House occupants shaped foreign policy to fit a narrow political paradigm, that often does not comport with facts, it has done so with a disregard for international opinion. The Administration's Iraq policy is a good example. With National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice replacing Mr. Powell, look for the State Department to become even more political.

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'War is a Game to the NeoCons'

Martin Kelly of The Washington Dispatch argues that "War is a Game to the NeoCons" and says "Neoconservatism is fascism." Click here for more of his provocative pronouncements about NeoCons such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Douglas Feith, William Kristol and others who advocate using military power to project U.S. might, especially in the Middle East.

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A Modern Day Version of the Watergate era “Saturday Night Massacre”

Randall Risener of The Washington Dispatch opined in a November 15, 2004 column that "the long-running guerrilla sparring between the intelligence community and the Bush administration has now broken out into open warfare with what one might call a modern day version of the Watergate era “Saturday Night Massacre” in 1973." Click here to read more of his interesting observations.

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Transcript of Interview With Harmon and Chambliss on Turmoil at CIA

On November 15, 2004, Margaret Warner, correspondent with The News Hour With Jim Lehrer on PBS, interviewed "Congresswoman Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee," about the current turmoil at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), under Director Porter Goss, "and whether it will help or hurt U.S. intelligence capabilities." Click here to read a transcript of Ms. Warner's interview with the two.

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The Weekly Standard: 'The CIA Fights Back'

Stephen F. Hayes, a staff writer at The Weekly Standard, claims the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is fighting back as CIA Director Porter Goss and the Bush administration "push for institutional reform." He said the war between the agency and the White House "has been underway for years but only one side--the CIA--has been fighting. The White House response to this latest assault will be an important sign of its willingness to gut the rotten bureaucracy at the CIA," he added. Click here to read more of Mr. Hayes' analysis, which supports the Bush Administration. Reports say the White House plans to purge the agency of analysts perceived as anti-Bush.

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November 14, 2004

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Montana Bloggers Making Noise

Kelleyn Brown, staff writer for the Bozeman (Montana) Daily Chronicle, says "Montana bloggers, like national bloggers, are getting more attention. They are taking advantage of a medium that seemingly came out of nowhere." Click here to read about David Sherman, Craig Sprout and other Montana bloggers.

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Sunday-Times: Bloggers Were the Stars of the U.S. Election

The November 14, 2004, edition of the Sunday-Times of London said "Forget George Bush and John Kerry, you can even forget the daughters; bloggers were the stars of this election campaign. At some points during the election it seemed hard to imagine that the online diarists actually had time to file their copy so busy were they with television appearances and photo shoots for the glossy “old” media world," The Times said. "But now that the votes are cast it seems once more that the internet may have been trying to make things look bigger than they are." Click here to read more.

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Political Bloggers Watching Washington's Governor's Race

Rebecca Cook of the Associated Press writes that "Washington's super-close governor's race may be hell on the candidates, but it's a special sort of heaven for political bloggers. They are glued to their computers, wearing out the "refresh" button on the Secretary of State's web site, creating color-coded spreadsheets to predict the outcome, and generally obsessing over every twist and turn in the ballot count," she said. "And they're having a blast." Political blogers need something to write about, Rebecca. Senator John Kerry threw in towel so bloggers can't write about him. They can but he's not interesting anymore. Click here to read more.

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St. Petersburgh Times" Specter Deserves Bush's Support

The St. Petersburgh (Florida) Times said in a November 14, 2004 editorial that Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania deserves President George W. Bush's support at a time when he is under attack from the extremist wing of the Republican Party . He is being punished for stating at his "postelection press conference" that it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm "judges who would change the right of a woman to choose." Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennesse said Mr. Specter, who has been in the Senate for 24 years, must prove himself.

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Some Reagan Era Spooks Said to be Returning to CIA

Jim Lobe, perhaps Inter-Press Service's most prolific and widely published journalist, says "the new CIA director, former Representative Porter Goss, is reportedly moving quickly to build up the clandestine service, apparently in hopes of returning it to its 1960s glory days, when he worked in its Latin America operations."

''The directorate of operation (DO) people are very pleased with his arrival'', he quotes Melvin Goodman, a retired career CIA analyst who retains close ties to the agency" as saying. ''He's taking the line that covert action is important, that the agency has to be more imaginative and that he feels there are plenty of opportunities (for covert action) out there.''

Mr. Goodman added, according to Mr. Lobe, that Mr. Goss is getting rid of agents in "the analytical ranks in the CIA" perceived as being too critical of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy line, which was that there was concerete evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass Destruction. The CIA did not find any such evidence.

Mr. Lobe said Mr. Goss plans to hire "as consultants former senior operations officers who were active in the 1980s, when former CIA Director William Casey was running several covert wars against alleged Soviet clients as part of the Reagan Doctrine (of former President Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989)." Click here to read more of Mr. Lobe's analysis.

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Is Goss at CIA to See That Agents Don't 'Screw' George Bush?

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years and co-founder of "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity," accurately described in a recent article what was likely to happen once former U.S. Representative Porter Goss started running the CIA. "There is, thankfully, a remnant of CIA professionals who still put objective analysis above political correctness and career advancement," he wrote in an article that appeared in CommonDreams and was reprinted at Progressive Trail.Org. "Just when they thought there were no indignities left for them to suffer, they are shuddering again at press reports that Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) may soon be their new boss.

That possibility conjures up a painful flashback for those of us who served as CIA analysts when Richard Nixon was president. Chalk it up to our naiveté, but we were taken aback when swashbuckling James Schlesinger, who followed Richard Helms as CIA director, announced on arrival, "I am here to see that you guys don't screw Richard Nixon!" To underscore his point, Schlesinger told us he would be reporting directly to White House political adviser Bob Haldeman (Nixon's Karl Rove) and not to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.
According to reports, Mr. McGovern's scenario is being played out CIA headquarters, at Langley, Virginia, as Mr. Goss and the underlings he brought over from Capitol Hill flex their muscles. Click here to read Mr. Govern's analysis. The National Political Observer is waiting to see how Intelligence Watch handles the developments at the CIA.

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Reports Say White House Orders Purge of Anti-Bush CIA Agents

The "White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers thought to have been disloyal to President Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the war in Iraq and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources," reports Knut Royce of Newsday.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to the agency and to the White House," Mr.Royce wrote. The source reportedly told Mr. Royce "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Does this mean we will see more leaks from the CIA regarding the run-up to the invavion of Iraq? The rumblings out of Washington seems to indicate that we will. Click here to read more of the Newsday article.

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November 13, 2004

There's Dissatisfaction at the CIA: Why?

It will be interesting to see how President George W. Bush handles several veteran CIA officials' threats to resign unless something is done about the way Patrick Murray, current CIA director Porter Goss' Chief of staff, treats veteran agents. Mr. Murray is a former Capitol Hill staff member known for his abrasives. The National Political Observer thinks he's picked the wrong group to try to intimidate. Memories are long and pay-back is a bitch when it does comes. Click here to read Washington Post Reporters Dana Priest and Walter Pincus' account of doings at CIA headquarters.

NOTE: For a report of Patrick Murray's CIA appointment, click on the link in this paragraph or click on his name. The Cuban-American Military Council's website will open. Scroll to the middle of the page and read about Mr. Goss' CIA appointments.

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Are Social Security Investment Accounts Dangerous For Seniors?

David J. Roberts, Associate Professor of Accountancy at DePaul University here in Chicago, has a very informative guest opinion piece at Senior Journal.Com on President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. Mr. Roberts' article is headlined "Social Security Investment Accounts Would Be Dangerous For Seniors." Click here to read the article.

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Washington State Governor's Race Still Too Close to Call

The race for governor in Washington State between Dino Rossi and Christine Gregoire is still not over. Mr. Rossi has a 1,920-vote lead over his opponent, according to The Seattle Times. Howevever, that total will likely skrink since Ms. Gregoire's "allies won a court victory [November 12, 2004] that could help them eke out a few hundred more votes in a race that still appears too close to call," The Times reported.

The paper said "with about 40,000 ballots left to count nearly two weeks after Election Day, the situation remains unpredictable because Ms. Gregoire's percentage of the vote has been improving in the latest counts in some counties, including King." Click here to read more.

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Louisiana Congressional Run-off Set for December 4

AP Special Correspondent David Espo, in a article datelined Washington, reminds us that the "final two seats in the new Congress" will be filled Dec. 4 in run-off elections in Louisiana. There, according to Mr. Espo, "retired heart surgeon Charles Boustany Jr., a Republican, and Democratic State Senator Willie Mount are rivals in one district. The other pits Republican W.J. (Billy) Tauzin III, whose father is retiring from the seat, against Charlie Melancon, a Democrat and former state lawmaker who once headed the American Sugar Cane League," he added.

What is the likely outcome of these races? Click here to read the conclusions in Mr. Espo's article.

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Ashcroft Says Judiciary Encroaching on Executive Powers

To former attorney General John Ashcroft, who resisgned on November 9, 2004, some Federal Court decisions on detentions without trial and other questionable measures the Bush Administration has used in its so-called war on terrorism are part of "a profoundly disturbing trend."

"The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war," Mr. Ashcroft said on November 12, 2004, according to Dan Eggen of The Washington Post. "... Our nation and our liberty will be all the more in jeopardy as the tendency for judicial encroachment and ideological micro-management are applied to the sensitive domain of national defense."

Mr. Ashcroft delivered the remarks in Washington, D.C during an appearance at the Federalist Society national convention. Although Mr. Ashcroft did not cite any specific rulings that threathened national security, he was probably referring to some of the cases found in Jenner & Block's Supreme Court Brief Resource Center. Mr. Ashcroft and the Bush Administration were also irked by this ruling . Click here to read more of The Washington Post report. Click here for other reports on the Ashcroft speech.

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November 12, 2004

Why Did Bush Get 9 Percent More Hispanic Votes Than in 2000?

BP News reported November 12, 2004, that "when President Bush received 9 percent more of the Hispanic vote this year than four years ago, some of those Hispanics were changing their vote over key social issues because they believe the Democratic Party has abandoned the views of its base in pursuit of an extremist agenda." Click here to read more.

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In Indiana, Voting Machines Gave Some Democratic Votes to Libertarian

Because the new voting machines used in Indiana's 9th Congressional District mistakenly gave Democratic votes for three-term Democratic member of Congress Baron Hill to the Libertarian candidate, Republican Mike Sodrel may have to wait a little longer to see if his winning by 1,485 votes will stand. The Democrats have petitioned for a recount, according to IndyStar.Com. Click here to read more.

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What's Eric Engberg's Crime?

Noel Sheppard of OPinionEditorials.Com takes a shot at former CBS Correspondent Eric Engberg for statements such as this:

“As a retired mainstream media (‘MSM’) journalist – and thus a double-dinosaur -- I don’t begrudge these knights of the blog-table their grandiose dreams. But I worked on a school paper when I was a kid and I owned a CB radio when I lived in Texas. And what I saw in the blogosphere on Nov. 2 was more reminiscent of that school paper or a ‘Breaker, breaker 19’ gabfest on CB than anything approaching journalism.”

This is how Mr. Sheppard introduced his critique: "As amazing as it might seem, a retired correspondent for CBS News recently wrote an op-ed [1] for his previous employer wherein he suggested that the worst news coverage of an election in history was likely performed by America’s bloggers this past November 2." Why is the fact that Mr. Engberg offered an opinion on bloggers so amazing? Click here to read Mr. Sheppard's critique of Mr. Engberg's views. Here is Mr. Engberg's article.

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Rick Santorum Must Help Defeat Specter of He Will Become a Target

Karen MacPherson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's national bureau reported November 12, 2004, that "Conservative groups yesterday urged Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to help lead the fight to deny the Senate judiciary committee chairmanship to his colleague, Senator Arlen Specter." If he doesn't?

"Santorum would like to become the president of the United States, but he alienated a lot of pro-family, pro-life people when he came to Specter's aid over [Representative Patrick] Toomey, who is a strong pro-life man...," Ms. McPherson quoted Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the Concerned Women for America as saying. "If he wants to get back that kind of support for his future political ambitions, he's got to do something" about Mr.Specter. Is that a threat? I think so. Click here to read more.

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The New York Times Looks at Blogs and 'Vote-fraud' Theories

Tom Zeller Jr.'s article in the November 12, 2004, issue of The New York Times headlined "As Fast as Blogs See Vote Fraud, Web is Proving Rumors Wrong" is a fairly balanced look at claims by some bloggers that vote fraud in Florida and Ohio helped President George W. Bush defeat Senator John Kerry in the November 2, 2004 U.S. presidential election. Click here to read Mr. Zeller's report. If you think he got it wrong, say so.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds over at InstaPundit and Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters offer views on Zeller's article that are the opposite of my conclusion that Zeller was fairly balanced. Their perspectives are interesting and informative. Read theirs.

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Frist Wants Filibuster Rules Changed

The Senate cannot allow the filibuster of circuit court nominees to continue," Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist (R-TN)said in a speech for delivery to The Federalist Society, according to Reuters. "Nor can we allow the filibuster to extend to potential Supreme Court nominees.

Reuters noted that a "simple majority in the 100-member Senate is needed to confirm a nominee, but 60 votes are required to end a filibuster."

Unless the Republicans plan to bribe the Democrats, or the Democrats are intimidated by President George W. Bush's November 2, 2004 victory over Senator John Kerry, The National Political Observer doesn't see how Mr. Frist can prevent a filibuster.

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Washington Post Editorial on Alberto Gonzales

The Washington Post said in a November 12, 2004 editorial that White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who was picked by President George W. Bush to replace Attorney General John Ashcroft, is "soft-spoken, smart and discreet, and "has won the admiration of many in Washington." The Post also noted that "the son of migrant workers...would be the first Hispanic to serve as attorney general," adding:

"We respect some of his views, particularly his stance on affirmative action, for the same reason that conservatives might have opposed his nomination to the bench.

"But his nomination also raises questions. Although there is a long tradition of presidents naming close friends, campaign managers and even relatives to head the Justice Department, we think the post would be better filled by more independent figures. Such nominees were available to the president; either of the men who have served Ashcroft as deputy attorneys general, Larry D. Thompson or James B. Comey, for example."

"Most of all, the Senate should carefully examine Gonzales’ role in the decisions that helped lead to the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Please click here to read the rest of the Post editorial. The excerpt above is from the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette.

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November 11, 2004

Townhall.Com Analyzes Vote Fraud Controversy

Townhall.Com weighs in on allegations of vote fraud during the November 2, 2004 presidential election with an article headlined "Left Wing Claims Exit Polls Were Accurate, Bush Stole Election." It's not a bad piece.

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'The election is over. The Democrats Lost'

The Claremore (Oklahoma) Daily Progress, editorializing on the fact that statewide in Florida, President George W. Bush "earned about 20,000 more votes than registered Republicans," said "The election is over. The Democrats lost. Perhaps they should consider the philosophy of Claremore’s own Will Rogers for consolation: “I really can’t see any advantage in having one of your party in as president. I would rather be able to criticize a man than have to apologize for him.” What about it Democrats and Republicans?

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Colin Shea of Freezer Box: "I smell a Rat

Colin Shea of Freezer Box writes "I smell a rat," referring to the controversy swirling around President George W. Bush's November 2, 2004 re-election amid claims of vote fraud in Ohio and Flordia. "It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. We got a nasty bite from this pest four years ago and never quite recovered. Symptoms of a long-term infection are becoming distressingly apparent." Click here to read all of Mr. Shea's argument that something was not quite right about the election's outcome.

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Corn Analyzes Claims Republicans Again Have Stolen an Election

The National Political Observer thinks David Corn, The Nation's Washington editor, has produced an excellent analysis of controversial claims that President George W. Bush and the Republicans have once again stolen a presidential election. His highly recommended article is headlined "A Stolen Election?"

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How Florida Vote Fraud Rumors Started

Kim Zetter, in a November 10, 2004, article in Wired News headlined "Florida E-Vote Fraud? Unlikely," said rumors of presidential election chicanery "all began last week when a voter posted a chart online showing that in 47 of 67 Florida counties, Bush received more votes than there are registered Republicans. In 15 counties, Bush received two times more votes than the number of registered Republicans, and in four counties, he received more than three times the number of registered Republicans," she noted. "In Dixie County, for example, 9,676 people registered to vote. Nearly 78 percent of them were registered Democrats while 15 percent were registered Republicans. Yet Bush received 4,433 votes, while Kerry received only 1,959. Overall, Bush received about 20,000 more votes than there are registered Republicans in the state."

Ms. Zetter noted that "since the election, liberal blogs and discussion sites have been raising a ruckus over an analysis of Florida voting results that's been spreading on the internet..."

I accept the outcome of the election although President Bush was not my choice for President.

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Ralph Nader Says Kerry's Concession Didn't End Election

A Nader For President 2004 press release says "Over 2000 citizens, including voting rights advocates, are urging in writing the Nader/Camejo campaign to help make sure every vote is counted and counted accurately. The Nader/Camejo campaign does not view the election to be over merely because concession speeches, which have no legal effect, have been given. Rather, they are over when every vote is counted and legally certified," the release says. You can can read ithere.

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BayouBuzz.Com's Take on Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General

BayouBuzz.Com, in an insightful news analysis headlined "Gonzalez: First Hispanic U.S. Attorney General," noted that "for Attorney General, Presidents like to pick a trusted aide and [White House Counsel Alberto ] Gonzales is certainly someone that the President trusts. Also, this is an important selection politically," BayouBuzz.Com said, noting that "Gonzales is the first Hispanic to be nominated to be Attorney General. His selection represents an important milestone for Hispanics in this country. In the last election, President Bush made significant inroads in the Hispanic community, garnering over 40% of the vote. Such an improvement may have been a key reason why Bush won the election." That's an interesting thought.

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Paper Offers Advice to Gay Rights Activists

The Grand Forks (North Dakota Herald says in a November 7, 2004, editorial that, "John Kerry's defeat was bad news for him and for the Democrats, too. But the gay rights movement's crushing defeat in North Dakota and 10 other states actually may be good news for that movement." Click here to read why the paper thinks so.

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November 10, 2004

Clinton: Democrats Must Talk With Evangelicals to be Competitive

The NYS Stonewall Democrats news blog has some good advice from former President Bill Clinton on why Democrat's should create dialogue with Evangelical Christians. During a November 10, 2004 speech at Hamilton College in upstate New York, Mr. Clinton said Democrats "cannot be nationally competitive when we don't feel comfortable talking about our convictions." The National Political Observer agrees.

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Did Liberal Jews Become the Outsiders on Election Day?

Jonathan Mark, Associate Editor of The Jewish Week, reports in a November 12, 2004 article that, "Orthodox Jews, often dismissed by liberal Jews as caring more about rituals than morals, and hopelessly out of touch with America, awoke after Election Day to find their morality as mainstream as “In God We Trust,” while liberal Jews became the outsiders in an America they can’t quite fathom." That description fits numerous voters.

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Donna Brazile: 'George Bush Got More Votes This Time'

ABC News quotes "Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 campaign" as saying "There was no overwhelming reason to cast doubt on the outcome of this election. George Bush got more votes this time." Ms. Brazile's quote is from a story headlined "Conspiracy Theories Abound After Bush Victory."

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Does It Matter?

Gary Younge, the Guardian of London's New York columnist, wrote in a November 11, 2004, dispatch that "in a week that saw the Democrats trounced, anti-gay amendments passed across the country and the return of Texas's adopted son to the White House, there was one striking anomaly. An openly lesbian, Hispanic Democrat, has been elected sheriff in Dallas - the president's backyard." Does it matter? Click here to get Mr. Younge's opinion.

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The Ohio Vote Count Raises Doubts About Presidential Election

Steve Weissman of t r u t h o u t want's to know: "Is Team Bush stealing the presidential election in Ohio? And, if it is, can the rest of us do anything to save our embattled democracy?" Does anyone have an answer for him?

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Columnist Oliphant: Specter is Not Worth Defending

Boston Globe Columnist Thomas Oliphant thinks Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) "is not worth defending; at best he is relentlessly quirky, at worst opportunistic. For another," he added, "in this formative, postelection period, it is more useful to understand the forces that instantly became so furious at him last week." Click here to continue reading Mr. Oliphant's views in the campaign to prevent Mr. Specter from becoming head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Some conservatives are trying to punish Mr. Specter for allegedly not supporting President George W. Bush's judicial nominees that oppose Roe v. Wade.

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Update: AP Says Bush Will Pick Gonzales For Attorney General

The Associated Press reported November 10, 2004 that "President Bush has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and the most prominent Hispanic in the administration, to succeed Attorney General John Ashcroft. The AP said the information came from "sources close to the White House." The AP noted that Mr. Ashcroft "announced his resignation on Tuesday [November 9, 2004], along with Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a Texas friend of the president's. Gonzales, 49, has long been rumored as a leading candidate for a Supreme Court vacancy if one develops," the AP noted. Click here to read more.

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The Hill Says The Tide is Running Against Specter

Alexander Bolton of The Hill, "the newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress, reported in the November 10, 2004, issue that "Conservative opposition to Senator Arlen Specter’s (R-Pa.) becoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee has mushroomed, to the dismay of Senate leaders who hoped it would fade." Click here to read more of The Hill's report. The National Political Observer thinks the campaign against Mr. Specter is designed to send a signal to all Republicans that they will be punished if they to not unquestioningly follow the Bush Agenda on judicial nominees, abortion, gay marriage and other political and cultural issues that reportedly galvanized Conservatives during the Presidential campaign between Mr. Bush and Senator John Kerry.

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 'Justice for All'

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer states in an editorial that "In times of historic conflict, individuals step forward with decisive acts at crucial moments. U.S. District Judge James Robertson became such an individual by ruling Monday [November 9, 2004]that military tribunals must meet national and international standards of law," the paper's editorial board opined on November 10, 2004.

The paper noted that Mr. Robertson "ordered a halt to the military trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the Yemeni who was Usama bin Ladin's driver before being taken captive in Afghanistan." Click here to read more of the editorial.

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Will Bush Appoint Larry Thompson to Succeed Ashcroft?

Will Larry Thompson, a former deputy to departing U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, replace his old boss? The National Political Observer doesn't know, but Ireland Online says "If he is appointed he would become the first black Attorney General in the history of the U.S."
"But first, Mr Thompson must be tempted away from the private sector, which is always considerably more lucrative than government." the publication said.

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November 8, 2004

Bush's 'Second-Term Mandate' For Europe

New York Post Columnist Nicole Gelina thinks President George W. Bush's "second-term mandate for Europe is: Change economically, or admit your political irrelevance. Europeans loathe the message," she wrote in a November 8, 2004 column datelined Paris. "But after last Tuesday [November 2, 2004], they know they are in no position to fight the messenger."

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Transcript of Meet The Press for November 7, 2004

Here is the Transcript for the November 7, 2004 edition of Meet the Press with guests: "Karl Rove, senior advisor to the president; Senator-elect Barak Obama, D-Ill.; Maureen Dowd, columnist, New York Times; William Safire, columnist, New York Times." The transcript was posted on the internet by MSNBC.
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'Democrats Got Left in the Dust'

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Laura Washington tells readers in a November 8, 2004 column to "forget about all those heartfelt pledges to work hard at bipartisanship in Washington," addding: "Here's what Richard Viguerie, a conservative political consultant, proclaimed in the New York Times: 'Now comes the revolution. If you don't implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?'''

Ms. Washington said "the president and his minions have already pocketed 3.5 million pieces of political capital, which will buy a bounty of anti-gay legislation, conservative judicial appointments and deficit-feeding tax cuts." Click here to read more of her commentary, which does not spare the Democrats, either.

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Don't Blame Bloggers

Brian Chin, who "surveys the Web to spot what people are talking about" for Seattle PI.Com, said November 8, 2004, that it "looks like the backlash against the backlash against bloggers over leaked, erroneous exit poll data is gearing up. Today, WSJ.com columnists Jason Fry and Tim Hanrahan point out that blaming "irresponsible" bloggers for posting misleading data misses the point." 

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Josh Patashnik's Election Day Diary

The National Political Observer is still reviewing reaction to the November 2, 2004 U.S. presidential election, in which President George W. Bush defeated Senator John Kerry. Josh Patashni's Election Day Diary in The Harvard Independent caught my attention. I found it interesting reading.

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Can Karl Rove Build the GOP Into a Durable Majority?

Newsday.Com says "after more than a decade helping make" President George W. Bush "a two-term president," Karl Rove "prepares to build" the Republican Party into a "durable national majority." If I recall correctly, the Republicans tried the same thing after the 1968 election. Will it work this time? Click here to read more.

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Bush's 'Second-Term Mandate' For Europe

New York Post Columnist Nicole Gelina thinks President George W. Bush's "second-term mandate for Europe is: Change economically, or admit your political irrelevance. Europeans loathe the message," she wrote in a November 8, 2004 column datelined Paris. "But after last Tuesday, they know they are in no position to fight the messenger." Click here to read more.

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The U.S. Economy in 2005

I found this article in The Korea Times on the "U.S. Economy in 2005" interesting reading.  It gives those interested in budget deficits something to think about.

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Is Alberto Gonzales on Shortlist for Supreme Court?

Knight-Ridder newspapers, that "White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush, is suddenly the focus of intense speculation that he will be Bush’s choice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy when it arises."

Knight-Ridder said "Although there is no immediate opening, Bush’s election victory and the illness of Chief Justice William Rehnquist have focused observers’ attention on the near certainty of one or more openings in the next four years.

"And Gonzales, 49, makes everyone’s shortlist of Supreme Court prospects," Knight-Ridder noted.

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Is Alberto Gonzales on Shortlist for Supreme Court?

Knight-Ridder newspapers reported November 7, 2004, that "White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush, is suddenly the focus of intense speculation that he will be Bush’s choice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy when it arises."

Knight-Ridder said "Although there is no immediate opening, Bush’s election victory and the illness of Chief Justice William Rehnquist have focused observers’ attention on the near certainty of one or more openings in the next four years.

"And Gonzales, 49, makes everyone’s shortlist of Supreme Court prospects," Knight-Ridder noted.

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November 7, 2004

The Conservative Campaign Against Arlen Specter

As stated in a November 6, 2004, post, Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is on the defensive following press reports that he warned President George W. Bush not to send to the Senate for confirmation judicial nominees that opposed abortion. Mr. Specter has come under attack from conservatives because of his position. He commented on the judicial confirmation process on November 4, 2004 in an effort to clarify his position.

But that means nothing to The Conservative Voice and others who have determined that Mr. Specter must be punished for not adhearing to conservative orthodoxy on abortion and judicial nominees. Because they view him as an obstructionist who may join with Democrats to try to prevent Mr. Bush's judicial nominees from being confirmed, they are determined that he not become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Click here to read The Conservative Voice's interesting rationale for depriving Mr. Specter of that post.

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The Pittsburg Tribune-Review Attacks Arlen Specter

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  claims Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania "has been many things in his 24 years in the U.S. Senate. An opportunist. A hypocrite. Arrogant. Befuddling. And he hasn't been much of a Republican. Now, add ingrate, obstructionist and master prevaricator."

The paper said in a November 7, 2004, opinion piece that "hours after President George W. Bush won a clear mandate for a second term, the likely new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee fired a shot across the West Wing roof.

"Not only did he say that Mr. Bush's re-election represented no mandate -- the battle cry of liberals in denial -- he effectively said that the names of rock-ribbed conservative judges should not be forwarded for his committee's review," the paper said. Click here to read the remainder of the scathing denunciation of Mr. Specter.

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November 6, 2004

Bush: Americans are Expecting Bipartisan Efforts

President George W. Bush said on November 6, 2004, during his his weekly radio address, that "Americans are expecting bipartisan effort and results. My administration will work with both parties in Congress to achieve those results, and to meet the responsibility we share," he promised. Despite California Representative Nancy Pelosi's claim that congressional Democrats are ready to work with Mr. Bush, we shall see. The National Political Observer thinks both Mr. Bush and Ms. Pelosi are deluding themselves if they expect nonpartisanship to prevail for four years.

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Do You Mean The Drudge Report?

I wonder what Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report thinks of the Drudge Retort. I think it's pretty good. What do you think?

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PoliGov-American Fundamentalism

PoliGov-American Fundamentalism has interesting post on what the blogger behind PoliGov calls "Democratic Voter Delusions." There is also a post today on Senator Arlen Specter, who is in hot water with some conservatives over his position on Preisent George W. Bush's judicial appointes. I found the posts worth reading although I don't necessarily agree with the conclusions.

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NeoCon Watch Still Watching and Linking

NeoCon Watch, whose motto is "neocons "counterfeit conservatives" exposed - genuine traditionalists championed - America First will restore the Republic," has provocative post election commentary and links to articles by various opinion makers. Course Correction: Bush Should Examine His Anti-terror Strategy by K.Subramanyam of The Times of India is thought-provoking, at least to this observer and frequent reader of NeoCon Watch.

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Intelligence Watch

Intelligence Watch is another informative blog I recommend to readers of The National Political Observer.

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'Even Canadians Are Scared Of The Patriot Act'

h3>Kincaid's Libertarian Journal has a post headlined "Even Canadians Are Scared Of The Patriot Act." Read it to find out why. Blogs such as Kincaid's Libertarian Journal monitor threats to civil liberties.  In some instances, they sound the alarm long before the mainstream national media. I'm glad they do.

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The Periscope

The Periscope, the"companion weblog to Euro-correspondent.com Journalist network," offers observations on U.S. political and cultural affairs from across the Atlantic.

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Arlene Specter's Problem

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is on the defensive following press reports that he warned President George W. Bush not to send to the Senate for confirmation judicial nominees that opposed abortion. Mr. Specter has come under attack from conservatives because of his position. He commented on the judicial confirmation process on November 4, 2004 in an effort to clarify his position.

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Blog for America

It's good to see Blog for America is still around.

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Did Same-Sex Wedding Marches Aid Bush?

The Asociated Press says Gay and Lesbian advocates are examing the role well-covered same-sex wedding marches in San Francisco and other cities may have played in President George W. Bush's November 2, 2004, victory over Senator John Kerry. I know Democrats that voted for Mr. Bush because he opposed gay marriage. They had never voted for a Republican before November 2. Friends also told me about relatives and friends who voted for Mr. Bush for the same reason.

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Controlling Political Reality

The Texas Observer, in its issue dated November 5, 2004, published an article by Michael Erard headlined "Frame Wars. It's about controlling political reality, something the Republicans did well in this year's presidential election.

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Questions for the Rapid City Journal

John Lauck at Dascle v. Thune notes that "There a long piece in today's Rapid City Journal today about [former Senator Tom] Daschle and his early days in politics and other matters.  It's a very interesting piece," he writes.  "But why is it running AFTER the election?  The long biographical sketches about Daschle "serving two masters" etc belong before the election.  What's the point of it now?" Good questions. Will you let us know, if you find the answer?

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November 5, 2004

Expats Against Bush

Expats Against Bush.Org has several interesting tidbits about the U.S. presidential election.

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Grand Rapids Confidential

One of my favorite blogs is Grand Rapids Confidential. If you are not familiar with it, take a look at it.

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Was Bush's Victory An Affirmation?

Boston Globe Writer Scott Lehigh notes in an  op-ed piece that President George W. Bush's "allies are interpreting his victory as an affirmation of his agenda." It wasn't an affirmation, he argues.  The Smarter Globe, which monitors the Globe, disagrees. The battle between bloggers and the mainstream media over the presidential contest continues although the election is over.

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'This Nation is Deeply Divided...'

Condition Critical: 2004 says "This nation is as deeply divided about what is the right direction as it has been at any time since the Civil War.  Some have said this is such a war, without the shooting.  We must work with our democratic processes, with free speech, with the tools that our Constitution gives us, to get this nation back on a path that really does reflect the values such as truth, equality, and fairness that are so much a part of our beliefs.  We are have entered a dark and cloudy time and must struggle to find the sunlight again."

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Dascle v. Thune

Dascle v. Thune, a blog dedicated to covering what it called "the biggest senate race in the USA," has interesting commentary and analysis of the  November 2, 2004 defeat of South Dakota Senator Tom Dascle. He was the leader of Democrats in the Senate before being defeated by 43-year old John Thune.

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'It's Going to Be a Tough Four Years'

The Wisconsin State Journal says "It's going to be a tough four years" for President George W. Bush despite his impressive win over Senator John Kerry on November 2, 2004, and gains in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The paper lists many things Mr. Bush must accomplish to have a lasting legacy.

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Will GOP Tensions Hamper Bush's Legislation?

Ross K. Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University in News Jersey, asserted in a November 4, 2004, article at Newsday.Com that, "It is important to set aside the notion that the marginal gains achieved by the GOP in the congressional elections compel Congress to meekly do the president's bidding. There is serious tension among Republicans in Congress that was visible in Bush's first term and will not evaporate in the second, especially if he pushes radical proposals," he claims. Click here to read why Mr. Baker says "the split" between "House Republicans and those in the Senate" may hamper President Bush's legislative agenda. 

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The Ledger: Young Voters Rock Democrats' Expectations

Cory Reiss of the Lakeland, Florida s Democrats and pundits sift election results for clues to the party's future, some analysts said Democrats placed undue emphasis on first-time, young, anti-war voters who didn't give Kerry the numbers or the margin he needed, even though exit polls say he won 54 percent of an inflated youth vote." Are they right? Click here to read how some Democrats responded to this assertion.

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Did Gwen Moore Really Keep Race Out Her Campaign?

"Gwen Moore, Wisconsin's first African-American congresswoman-elect, made a conscious decision to keep talk of race out of her campaign, and it worked," according to United Press International. If that's true, I suspect its a rarity in American politics. Race was used by Republicans to gain a base in the South when old Dixiecrats such the late Senator John McClellan of Arkansas and the late Senator John Stennis of Mississippi faded from the political scene. Click here to read how Ms. Moore kept race out of her campaign ans why. Kudos to Ms. Moore and her Republican opponent.

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Reynolds on 'Elections and the New Media'

Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit has a piece at Tech Central Station on "Elections and the New Media." It's interesting.

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Barack Obama Should Watch His Step

The National Political Observer notes that U.S. Senator-elect Barack Obama of Illinois is not letting suggestions that he would be a good candidate for the 2008 presidential election go to his head. He should concentrate on the senate and watch his steps. Just as some journalists anointed him the darling of the Democratic Party after his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, some will just easily try to bring him down a notch. At one point, former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan was the darling of the media. After a few years, he became target because of his gambling and alleged womanizing.

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Chicago Mayor's Analysis of Why Kerry Lost

The National Political Observer thinks Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago has provided the best analysis of why President George W. Bush defeated Senator John Kerry on November 2, 2004. "If you watch the Republican Party, they're to the people...,"  he is quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times  and other area papers as saying. "They're more grass-roots than Democrats. We think we are. The Republicans outfoxed the Democrats. They became the party of precincts, a county, a city. Their strategy was to go to the people and not to the money people...We're supposed to be the party of the people. We're the party of the money...We've become the party of the insider."

Mr. Daley said former presidential candidate Howard Dean was trying to steer the party back to its roots before he flamed out during Iowa primary. I totally agree with Mr. Daley's assessment. His conclusion is reflected in the number of telephone calls and door-knocks Republicans say they made during the campaign.

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November 4, 2004

Ashcroft is Expected to Resign

Attorney General John Ashcroft "is expected to resign" before President George W. Bush's January 20, 2005, inauguration, "said aides who spoke [to the Associated Press] only on condition of anonymity," Associated Press writer Curt Anderson reported on November 4, 2004. "They said there is a small chance he would stay on, at least for a short time, if Bush asked him," Mr. Andeerson added. Please, Mr. Bush, don't ask him to stay. Appoint a political moderate to the office.

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The Democratic Veteran's Advice

Democratic Veteran's readers are offering good advice on how to get involved and stay active in politics, especially at the local level. I like this statement by Jo Fish: "Just because the republicans handed us “Morning in Amerika”, there's no reason for us to have Mourning in America. Right?" Right, Jo.

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Politizine's Post Election Analysis

Politizine's post-election analysis, headlined Aftermath, 2004, Part-1, is very perceptive. I thinks it's worth reading.

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Ohio Talking Points Hasn't Talked Since October 18

I went over to Ohio Talking Points to see what JB Lawton III had to say about the presidential election. The blog, which provided "links, talking points, and resources for Ohio Kerry/Edwards activists writing letters to the editors of this battleground state's newspapers," was last updated on October 18, 2004.

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Bush is Kerry and Kerry is Bush

Nate Livingston, who runs Cincinnati Black Blog, one of the best written locally oriented political blogs in the Blogosphere, told his readers, among other things, on November 3, 2004: "I don't know about you but I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome of yesterday's election. President Bush is Kerry and Kerry is Bush. It doesn't make a difference who wins, the result will be the same."

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Presidential Primaries 2008

The National Political Observer came across a blog called Presidential Primaries 2008. The speculation about who will run for president on the Democratic ticket four years from now is interesting. Take a look at it.

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November 3, 2004

The Day After the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election

The National Political Observer is waiting for John Zogby of Zogby International to explain why the polling outfit called the November 2, 2004 election for Senator John Kerry at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time when the polls had not closed anywhere in the United States.

Transcript: Here is a transcript of an interview that Mr. Zogby gave the Australian Broadcasting Co.'s The World Today of Australia. He called the contest between Senator John Kerry and Preisident George Bush "the Armageddon election."

Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit.Com is to be commended for sober, non-gloating day after blogging he is doing on the presidential election. I hope other bloggers also refrain from gloating.

Bloggers did a good job yesterday. Although some bloggers published exit polling data indicating that it appeared that Mr. Kerry might defeat President Bush, they did not commit a crime. If that's what the data was showing at the time, so be it.

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How Some Pollsters Predicted The U.S. Presidential Election Would Turn Out

A Sample of pollsters predictions on how the November 2, 2004 presidential election in the United States would turn out.

Zogby International: Zogby was off-base in its final prediction. It had Senator John Kerry gaining 333 electoral votes, which would have been a landslide. Instead, the electoral votes were much closer.

Electoral Vote.Com: This very informative site predicted Mr. Kerry would win 262 electoral votes and President Bush 261.

CNN.Com's tracking polls can be found here.

Gallup Poll numbers behind the election are here.

Google's Directory of Polls and Surveys.

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The Guardian Says Blair Favored Kerry Over Bush

Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor of The Guardian of London reported on November 3, 2004, that British Prime Minister "Tony Blair has been telling friends and Downing Street staff in confidence over the last few months that he would prefer John Kerry in the White House." Click kere to read more.

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November 2, 2004

What Bloggers and Mainstream Media Are Saying About the Presidential Election

daily Kos, which offers "political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation," is on the ball in providing election updates and statistics.

LewRockwell.Com says it's Not Looking Good for The Good Ole Boy.

Atrios at Eschaton says in a 3:27 PM post that, "It's tough to be a Republican in Philly today. It's like a Kerry Theme Park in center city. Signs plastered everywhere. Armies of volunteers with signs and shirts and buttons and stickers everywhere. "Honk for Kerry" groups on many street corners."

Ambra at Nykola.Com has very interesting commentary on voting and the election. Read her often. She is good.

Chuck's Daily Blog linked to a George Will column headlined Voters shouldn’t worry as they scan election returns.

Slashdot, more noted for technology postings rather than politics, has combined the two in what makes for very informative reading about the technologyu behind the presidential election.

Robert Cox at The National Debate has open thread for his readers to comment on todays Election. He calls it an ELECTION DAY SPECIAL

hannah bayman blogs has insightful commentary by a blogger who is a dual citizens of Britiain and the U.S. Her thoughts on todays election are emphatic. The excitement comes through.

An English Man's Castle predicts that "it's going to be a long night."

WatchBlog, which calls itself "a multiple-editor weblog broken up into three major political affiliations, each with its own blog: the Democrats, the Republicans and the Third Party (covering everything outside the two major parties)," is a must read this election night for opinion and news. These folks do a good in offering diversity of opinion.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Illinois has an "'Unheard of' turnout."

news.com.au of Australia is telling its readers that "exit polls give Kerry early lead."

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Reuters: Blogs Send Stocks Into Reverse

Reuters wire service has reported that "U.S. stocks reversed course suddenly on Tuesday [ November 2, 2004 ] and drifted lower as chatter on the Internet speculated that early exit polls had Senator John Kerry leading the presidential election in key swing states." Click on Blogs Send Stocks Into Reverse to read the article.

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Decision Day for the U.S. and the World

I left home this morning at 6:20 heading for the polling place not far from home in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. When I arrived eight minutes later, I was surprised to see so many people waiting in line to vote. Lines for both precincts were long and seemed to move slowly although that was not the case. How do I know? Because I was on public transportation by 7:10 heading to the office in downtown Chicago.

I only saw three people turned away while I waited. One Muslim couple and an African-American man. I don't know the circumstances. I think the election workers wanted more identification.

As I stood in line, I wondered how many Muslims would vote for Senator John Kerry and how many would vote for President George W. Bush. I also wondered how much of an impact would Muslims for Bush have on Muslims voters.

In 2000, Mr. Bush got much of the immigrant Muslim vote. That's because some leaders of major Muslim organizations told Muslims to vote as a bloc in 2000 for Mr. Bush. I suspect he did not receive many votes from African-American Muslims although I don't know that for certain. Some of those I spoke with in 2000 about the endorsement saw voting as an indiviudal decision although they understood the power of bloc voting. Some of them and their parents and grandparents had marched for the right to vote during the often dangerous voter registration drives in the South during the 1960s. However, some non-immigrant Muslims did vote for Mr. Bush.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the subsequent passage of the Patriot Act detrimentally afffected some Muslims in the U.S. The draconian measures implemented to protect the homeland changed some opinion towards Mr. Bush. Some Muslims were deported or detained in the hunt for al-Qaida. Anger over arrests and detentions without trials also resonates. Admittedly, some Muslims had over stayed their visas or committed oter immigration violations.

The invasion of Iraq and Mr. Bush's unwavering support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his war on the Palestinians also had had an impact on Muslim opinion. Finally, the fact that Mr. Bush would not hold meaningful dialogue with Muslim leaders, only photo opportunities during Ramadan, helped some of them understand that they were not quite prime-time players in American politics.

So how did I vote? I voted for Senator John Kerry for President and State Senator Barack Obama for U.S. Senator from Illinois. I also voted to send U.S. Representative Bobby Rush back to the House of Representatives. The other candidates were local, mostly judges.

By the way, I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

This post can also be found at The TDT Observer Review and The Foreign News Observer.

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November 1, 2004

The Poll That Matters

We are hours away from the only poll that matters. The one conducted by eligible votes in the United States and the expatriate and military communities abroad.

The punditocracy, whether in the Blogosphere or mainstream media, has written millions of words on the campaign between President George W. Bush and Senator John Forbes Kerry. None of it will matter tomorrow although some of us may have influenced our readership to follow our lead, if we endorsed a candidate.

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