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Archives for October, 2004

October 30, 2004

Perhaps he wants you to vote for vice presidential candidate Gephardt

Daniel Radosh


That's the front page of today's New York Post: Osama "urges Bush defeat."

There is, of course, nothing in the article to justify that headline, because it is -- what's the word? -- a lie.

The Post editorial team is entitled to its opinion that "bin Laden might as well have endorsed John Kerry," but, since he didn't, it's not permitted (by whatever remaining rules of journalism exist) to state it as a fact on the front page. Meanwhile, opposite the editorial, John Podhoretz wants "to caution my friends on the Right about claiming that the Osama tape is somehow an endorsement of John Kerry." Hey, Pod, don't you have Col Allan's phone number? He obviously didn't get your message in time.

Meanwhile, it's pretty crazy how low the standards have fallen for an October Surprise. Bush was supposed to have dragged Osama kicking and screaming from his cave right before the election. Now his people are calling it "a gift" that he's still out there rattling his saber? Thanks, but it's not my size. Any chance you saved the receipt?

October 29, 2004

Osama drama

Daniel Radosh

Isn't it funny that all anyone's talking about is how this is going to affect the election? Aren't we scared that it means something important -- like another attack is coming? What? We're not? Then why should this affect the election at all? People are treating this like it's Fahrenheit 9/11 or the Mosh. Will it help Bush? Will it hurt him? The very fact that Osama bin Laden can reappear and not even remotely shake us out of our obsessive poll watching indicates that the reappearance is too insignificant to affect the polls at all.

The only plausible argument I've heard to the contrary is Josh Marshall's that any event that changes the conversation helps Bush because he couldn't possibly have taken four more days of that.

October 29, 2004

Nothing can go wrong... go wrong... go wrong

Daniel Radosh

With all the news about crude attempts at voter suppression, let's not forget that we were right to first be worried about problems with electronic voting machines.

A friend of my mother's just told her about her daughter's experience voting early in Florida. She pressed the touch screen for Kerry, and it asked her to confirm that she had voted for Bush. She restarted, voted for Kerry again, and was again told that she had voted for Bush. Only on the third or fourth time did the machine agree to let her vote for Kerry. It's like a hacky joke!

I guessed correctly that Black Box Voting would be trying to keep track of stories like this and passed on the URL. And while I was initially a little suspicious of what was technically a friend-of-a-friend story, I soon saw that people in several states have already reported the same exact problem with these machines -- and all in one direction. I don't know if the machines are more likely to register a Kerry vote for Bush or if Kerry voters are more likely to know about the Black Box Voting site, but we shouldn't have to be taking any chances. How much do you want to bet this story will never make the mainstream media, and certainly not in time to warn everyone to check their vote before submitting it.

October 29, 2004

Alicia & Maurice: A spam opera

Daniel Radosh


Will this woman find true love? Jesus? A nice handbag? Find out on Cockeyed's Unsolicited Commercial Love Story. It's funny, and also: boobies.

[via Happy Scrappy]

October 29, 2004

While Rumsfeld tells him it's raining

Daniel Radosh


Otty polls internet model Kate:

Otty: If you had to choose, which 2004 Presidential candidate would you most like to have sex with -- Kerry or Bush?

Kate: im gonna say kerry, cause bush seems like a bit of a weirdo and might want me to pee on him or something.

[links probably NSFW]

October 29, 2004

The Life Intifatic

Daniel Radosh



October 28, 2004

I'd say "off message" pretty much sums it up

Daniel Radosh


There was probably no way for Bush to win the al Qa'qaa cock fight. Every excuse he had looks bad, even if it's true. "How could we possibly know if the explosives were taken before or after the regime fell? What did you want us to do, quickly search and secure every site that had been identified in advance of the invasion as a weapons depot? Oh, you did? Um..." Clearly, the administration didn't think it was necessary to keep conventional explosives out of the hands of insurgents, because it was dead sure there wouldn't be any insurgents.

But staking everything on when the weapons went missing was a huge gamble, because it gave the media an incentive to figure that out for itself, and that gamble has now blown up in Bush's face like 380 tons of HMX.

The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003.

During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled "explosives." Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords....

Once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren't secured. They were left open when the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew and the military went back to their base.

"We weren't quite sure what were looking at, but we saw so much of it and it didn't appear that this was being secured in any way," said photojournalist Joe Caffrey. ...Caffrey and reporter Dean Staley, who spent three months together in Iraq, said Iraqis were coming and going freely."

October 27, 2004

"Cuaght on video" indeed

Daniel Radosh


Tim Carvell, recalling that I recently posted a doctored photo of Bush flipping the bird, points me to this apparently legit video of the same unpresidential gesture (or, in this case, ungubernatorial).

It's a cheap trick (but an effective one!) to drive traffic to a site urging people to videotape acts of illegal voter suppression on election day. I guess that can't hurt, but my guess is that most suppression is going to be of the crypto-legal variety — much harder to catch on tape.

October 27, 2004

But would the New York Times have published it?

Daniel Radosh

"What's this all about on TV?" begins the best letter to the editor ever.

Fark has all the Grandpa Simpson jokes you could want.

October 26, 2004

A protest vote in New York

Daniel Radosh

Doug Ireland endorses David McReynolds for Senate in New York. I can't say I know much about McReynolds other than what I've just read — despite the fact that I'm almost positive I've voted for him for something or other in the past — but anything that reminds Schumer that New York City is still a progressive town is OK with me. Anyone want to talk me out of it?

October 26, 2004

It's like a fuckin' army marching in back of me

Daniel Radosh


The rumors that Eminem's new album will be his most overtly political appear to be true. Silly Salon says, "With his history of homophobia and his long-running beef with MoveOn supporter Moby, Eminem is an even less likely lefty hero than Howard Stern." Radosh.net readers know better.

I'm not sure the Mosh video is quite the powerful statement that the left wants it to be, though. I mean, it's blunt, to be sure (and nicely animated), but not all that persuasive if you're an undecided slacker sitting at home watching MTV. Still, I would have liked to have seen this out three weeks ago. If nothing else, won't it be weird if this is on the air a month from now, with Eminem all, "I'm the new Che. We're gonna destroy Bush," if, in fact, Bush has won the election. Won't it make Em look just a little bit less powerful than he wants to appear?

I definitely think Just Lose It is the more subversive song.

October 26, 2004

Finally, a sex slave story we can all feel good about

Daniel Radosh


They say you never forget your first geek crush. In the years since my childhood obsession with Star Trek I've moved on to newer and geekier things. But, oh, did my heart skip a beat when I read that the Orion Slave Girls are returning to television for three episodes of Enterprise, starting this week. I mean, they're half-naked, and they're green -- if only every woman could be one!

Yeah, who even knew Enterprise was still on the air? If this is a desperate bid for survival, give me more.

Marginally less exciting, Brent Spiner guest-stars as the great-grandfather of Data's creator. Guess that movie career's not working out the way he hoped.

[via Fark]

October 24, 2004

It's not like they said anything about Adam Nagourney's son

Daniel Radosh

The New York Times letters page today runs the following note regarding my last New Yorker article.

An article in the Oct. 18 issue of The New Yorker reported on a class for gifted high school students at Duke University last summer that enjoyed unusual success in getting letters to the editor published in The Times. This page is always happy to print good letters from students.

Reading back over some of the submissions from the Duke class, we're impressed by their clarity, pith and lively language.

Unfortunately, we've also discovered that the students who did get their work published were permitted to submit additional letters under false names. One writer added fictitious information about her family. For the record, a letter on July 27 about network coverage of the Democratic convention and one on Aug. 1 about work and leisure in Europe were written under pseudonyms, Allan Coffer and Franklin Henderson, respectively. The writer of another letter on Aug. 1 about Europe referred to a nonexistent ''daughter.''

Basic facts like the name of the author are critical to assuring our readers that the writer stands behind his or her letter. We regret the errors.

If Tom Feyer had said something more like this when I contacted him, the story probably wouldn't have spun out of control. It's generous to the students, makes a firm but not over-excited expression of Times policy, and omits the more dubious concerns about dateline fraud.

But my favorite line in the note is, "we've also discovered that the students who did get their work published were permitted to submit additional letters under false names." Yes, they discovered this by, you know, reading the original article. Solid investigation work, guys.

Continue reading "It's not like they said anything about Adam Nagourney's son" »

October 24, 2004

Instructions to copy desk inadverently not removed before publication? Or frustrated antiwar typesetter making a statement?

Daniel Radosh

The web version of the New York Times article on the ghastly execution of 50 Iraqis concludes with the words, "END IT."


October 22, 2004

Also, wolves totally get a bad rap

Daniel Radosh

Believe it or not, there's something even more ridiculous than the wolves ad coming out of the Bush campaign today. Recently, you may recall, Bush & co. have been insisting that they never linked Iraq to 9/11 -- where could anyone have gotten that idea? Well, you can hardly expect them to admit that they once said something so obviously false. But what really takes chutzpah is continuing to say it. Here's Bush today: "I would tell them the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war against those who caused the deaths on 9/11 is necessary."

[via atrios]

October 22, 2004

Wake up with Huckapoo

Daniel Radosh


Don't look so mad, girls! You're gonna be on the WB11 morning show on Monday. OK, so it's only New York. Tomorrow the world, I promise. Set your TiVos for "approximately 8:45," Huckafans.

Update: Don't know how I missed this last week, but Throwing Things has a cheat sheet for distinguishing between Huckapoo and I Heart Huckabees. Handy, for sure, but what do they mean by "inexplicably"?

October 22, 2004

We'll never forget Poland again

Daniel Radosh


At Lie Girls, "real girls are standing by to tell you exactly what you want to hear.... and if you don't believe them terrorists will kill your family."

The ad is pretty funny, but be sure to call the phone number too, where you can hear a hot chick (well, semi-hot) say things like, "Mmmm. I want your smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud," and, "John Kerry is so French that when he's in France, French people are like, hi Frenchy Frenchman."

It's true: "These girls pose a grave and gathering threat — to your pants."

[via TMW]

October 22, 2004

Post-election analysis today

Daniel Radosh

Since 2000, we've all heard over and over from our Democrat friends that Al Gore "really won" because he won the popular vote. I happen to think the Supreme Court unjustly gave Florida to Bush (when it was a statistical tie) and that there's a case to be made that the election was stolen. But the popular vote has nothing to do with it because the candidates weren't competing for the popular vote. If they had been they would have run completely different races, and who knows how it would have ended up.

I mention this because it now appears conceivable -- if only just -- that John Kerry could win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote. Republicans will scream bloody murder. They'll be wrong, but Democrats who made their case for Gore based on the fact that "more Americans voted for him" won't be able to say it. Upside: the cause of eliminating the electoral college gets bi-partisan momentum.

More post-debate analysis: Why a victorious Kerry is in trouble, while a victorious Bush has little to worry about.

Continue reading "Post-election analysis today" »

October 22, 2004

Shut up!

Daniel Radosh

You may recall that Bill O'Reilly's lawyer, Ronald Green, has accused Andrea Mackris and her attorney, Benedict Morelli, of partisanship. According to the lawsuit filed by the firm of Epstein, Becker & Green, the suit is motivated in part "by Morelli's political connections. Morelli, his firm, and his wife, Arlene, are known supporters of and contributors to the Democratic Party, contributing to the campaigns of U.S. Senators John Kerry, John Edwards, Tom Daschle, and Charles Schumer, among others."

Busted! But as Phil Reisman reports, Ronald Green has given $4,500 to his local Democratic executive, and his wife was a member of the town's Democratic Committee. And since Green dragged other members of Morelli's firm into his calculus, let's note that his partner, Jeffrey Becker "gave a total of $3,000 to the Friends of Schumer between February 1999 and June 2004. He's given a total of $4,000 to Nita Lowey for Congress; $1,000 to former Sen. Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey; $1,000 to the senatorial campaign of Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana; and $4,500 to the Friends of Andy Spano in 2001."

Duh! All trial lawyers support Democrats. That's why OB-GYNS can't practice their love with women.

[Thanks Jerry S]

October 21, 2004

Setting the bar low

Daniel Radosh

Today in the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley implies that Stolen Honor shouldn't really be a concern as far as the presidential campaign goes because it "does not do much more damage to Senator John Kerry's reputation than have the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's negative ads, which have flooded television markets in almost every swing state."

So the film only does a little more damage than the most damaging and specious ad campaign Kerry faced during the entire race. That's non-partisan enough for me, FCC!

And speaking of the Swifties, Jim Hanas has the evidence that the makers of Stolen Honor never considered it anything but propaganda, regardless of what Sinclair said. From a Stolen Honor press release:

John Kerry has reason to be afraid that you and millions of Americans will see Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal. In fact, this video documentary includes many of the same Vietnam veterans and POWs who have appeared in the Swift Boat commercials — commercials that have rocked the Kerry campaign and caused his first major decline in the polls.

October 21, 2004

Thank god it's not Bloomberg

Daniel Radosh

My colleague Carly, a resident of Jersey City, has been puzzling over who to vote for in her local mayoral election. The guy who didn't really want to run but was told to by God? The guy who believes he'll be a good financial manager because he clips coupons and sends in rebates as a hobby? The supermarket clerk who says Ronald Reagan personally urged him to run? Or the frontrunner, whose naked pictures are all over the internets.

"Mr. Healy said that photographs showing him naked were as result of a night out drinking 6-8 beers over a 3 hour period -- though he is still scratching his head and wondering how his ended up on the porch. 'I wish I recall how I got out there,' he said, 'but I don't.'"

October 20, 2004

Sinclair's slam dunk

Daniel Radosh

You may have read that Sinclair has caved under protests of its plans to broadcast an anti-Kerry documentary.

Is it true... or is that just what the man wants us to believe? I don't know if Sinclair was smart enough to plan it this way, but here's how it worked out: stir up trouble, then make people think you're being accomodating so that the trouble goes away, then run your propaganda without a word of protest from the people who were led to believe they won.

BriVT explains.

What they planned all along was to air selected portions of the anti-Kerry propaganda and intersperse that with studio elements of former POWs and other veterans bashing Kerry. Think Swift Boat Unfiltered. This is far worse as a smear than if they had just aired the documentary. It reinforces the "message" of the documentary and updates it with the panel to make the charge seem fresh and alive.

But, wait, there's more. Remember all that about "the role of the media in filtering the information contained in these documentaries, allegations of media bias by media organizations that ignore or filter legitimate news and the attempts by candidates and other organizations to influence media coverage"? You see, all of this will be framed as a discussion about how the liberal media, following the lead of the Kerry campaign, has systematically ignored these claims and "filtered" the news. That's how they will claim that this is "news" and not just a recycling of old anti-Kerry smears.

October 19, 2004

I expect to see "graveside bukkake" in Dining In/Dining Out any day now

Daniel Radosh

Old Hag is correct.

October 19, 2004

How quickly they forget

Daniel Radosh

Given that this is an article about using exit polls to verify that votes are counted propery, how fucked up is this lede?

"Since the 1960's, the exit poll, that staple of election-night television, has been used along with other tools to declare winners when the polls close in each state, and its accuracy is noted later when the actual vote count proves it right. A landmark exception, of course, came in 2000, when the networks initially gave the decisive Florida vote to Al Gore."

At first I thought the article intended to use Florida 2000 and example of the accuracy of exit polls, but no, they go into a "but..." and treat it entirely as the anamolous situation where the exit polls were wrong.

Um... the exit polls gave a decisive victory to Gore for precisely the reason that people now want to use them to validate or challenge votes: because they were more accurate than the actual voting. People told pollsters who they thought they voted for, otherwise, exit polls would have taken note of Pat Buchanan's surprise lock on the elderly Jewish vote.

October 19, 2004

Because that worked out so well last time, asshole

Daniel Radosh

"Warren Christopher, the former secretary of state who oversaw Vice President Al Gore's legal challenges in 2000, said that the actions of the Supreme Court and some Florida officials that year had, at least temporarily, tarnished the American way of choosing leaders. A second tainted election, followed by more bare-knuckled partisan conflict, Christopher said, would be far more damaging. He urged both parties to cool their rhetoric and put the nation's interest ahead of partisan advantage. 'For the political parties, 2004 could be one time when winning isn't everything,' he said."

Memo to John Kerry: Don't hire Warren Christopher. Bush sure isn't going to.

October 19, 2004

Page Six sort of vindicated

Daniel Radosh

Recently, Kevin G and I challenged a claim by The New York Post's Page Six that John Kerry's use of the phrase "sort of" is "a subtle indicator of upper-class origins or aspirations." Linguistic professionals backed us up.

But Sunday's New York Times offers a possible explanation of what Page Six had in mind:

Continue reading "Page Six sort of vindicated" »

October 19, 2004

You may already be a weiner

Daniel Radosh

My pal Fred Meyer investigates the strange subculture of Sweepstaking.

Outsiders view sweepers—insofar as they notice them—as sad sacks grubbing for handouts. Especially in its extremes, the hobby earns its low reputation. "Karen Evers," who is out of work with a disability, toils 40 hours a week on the sweeps and pays acquaintances to fill out entry cards for up to 20 more hours per week, because her disability makes it painful to write. She credits her dedication to sweeping as a factor in the dissolution of her marriage. She spoke only on the condition of anonymity, for fear that the prizes FedEx and UPS deliver to her house would be stolen from her doorstep if neighbors knew of her hobby. Whether paranoid or wary of scorn, many sweepers speak only to each other about the hobby, hiding it from friends, co-workers, and even family members.

October 19, 2004

Another defender of The Know-It-All

Daniel Radosh

I'm not the only one. Today, the Rocky Mountain News throws its mighty journalistic weight behind A.J. Jacobs in his battle against Joe Queenan.

"Queenan couldn't turn off his sneer. Well, upon reflection, I want to take back all the nice things I said about his book, now selling on Amazon for less than a buck, and praise Jacobs' book as much as possible.... Perhaps the cruelest fate for Queenan is this: Jacobs' book has already been sold to a studio planning to make it into a movie, and I bet it will be a big, funny hit, unlike the movie Queenan made. "

[via Romenesko]

October 17, 2004

When fake news and equally fake news collide

Daniel Radosh

Jon Stewart on Crossfire. Transcript,video

STEWART: You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably...

CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion...

STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.

[via Romenesko & Fark]

October 14, 2004

Also, I think John Kerry name checked him during the debate

Daniel Radosh

Back in April when Eminem fronted the dreadful D12 single My Band, I endorsed the theory that he was morphing into Weird Al Yankovic. At first blush, the video for Just Lose It would seem to confirm this. I mean, I was suspicious from the moment I heard about Michael Jackson flipping out. Making fun of Michael Jackson is so 80s. And indeed, the video itself is like an episode of I Hate The 80s, with all the Madonna and MC Hammer cameos.

But I think all the celebrity shennanigans in the video -- and Jackson's complaint -- have obscured what's really fascinating about the song: It's totally gay. And I don't mean that the way the kids today do. I mean it in the sense of being about having sex with other men.

Continue reading "Also, I think John Kerry name checked him during the debate" »

October 13, 2004

Always nice to be recognized. Or, you know, not recognized.

Daniel Radosh

A few readers have alerted me that The Durham Herald-Sun re-reported my New Yorker article without attribution. I don't really mind. It's a nice professional courtesy, but it's not required -- though I'd probably be more peeved if this had been a story I went out and found rather than an assignment.

The part that's a little off-putting is that the AP picked up the Herald-Sun article, putting it out with a headline and lede graf that spins it as a story about deceiving the New York Times. Obviously there's an element of that in this tale, but it hardly struck me as the main point. As I tried to explain to Jim Romenesko the deception may have allowed the students to avoid being automatically disqualified, but it is not what got them accepted. Or to put it another way, the kids didn't trick the Times into running their letters; they tricked the paper into not deleting their letters unread.

The petty trickery -- I can't condone the use, in two instances, of fake names, but is it so bad to sign a letter from the place where you live rather than the place where you happen to be spending the summer? -- also never seemed to me the most interesting aspect of the story. I wonder if the AP writer drew it out because, as a journalist, he identified more with the plight of the Times than with the achievement of the kids.

October 12, 2004

Police have put out an APB for Ken Jennings

Daniel Radosh

The three most frequently stolen street signs in Eugene, Oregon: High Street, University Street, and Westward Ho Avenue.

October 12, 2004

This is the first and last time I'm going to mention Bush's bulge

Daniel Radosh

People, people, people! Not only does indulging in dopey conspiracy theory make the left look idiotic, it helps Bush's campaign.

Remember Gersh's First Law of Bush Scandals: Karl Rove wants the media talking about ANYTHING other than the issues. Hey, maybe Rove started this whole rumor...

The more moderate line on this nutty conspiracy -- well, it may be nothing, but it's a legitimate story that the press is ignoring -- is undermined by the fact that the press (in the form of Knight-Ridder) went directly to Bush's tailor, who showed how an ill-fitting suit can bunch up in back.

But why was Bush wearing an ill-fitting suit! See, that's just the nature of conspiracy theories -- once you've decided that it might be a wire, no other explanation will ever be entirely satisfactory. Let's move on, for the good of our image and our cause.

October 12, 2004

Too bad no one thought to ask Anne Rice

Daniel Radosh

I knew Slate must have had a good reason to ask novelists who they're voting for. It was so Old Hag could parody it.

Joyce Carol Oates: Like virtually everyone I know, I'm voting for Kerry. And probably for exactly the same reasons. To enumerate these reasons, to repeat yet another time the fundamental litany of liberal principles that need to be reclaimed and revitalized, seems to be redundant and unnecessary, unlike my 528 books, each one of which is absolutely dundant and necessary.

October 11, 2004

Have yourself a Hucka little Christmas

Daniel Radosh

Good news, my goyishe friends. This year you can celebrate the birth of Jesus... Huckapoo style! According to the inexplicably questionmark-ridden Aaron Carter News Blog, the Radio Disney Jingle Jams CD features a track from our favorite girl group titled Wild Christmas.

Sadly, Britttney "Angel Sparks" Segal was apparently not able to convince the band to also record Meshugeh Hanukah.

October 11, 2004

It makes sense that Safire is the one guy who finds the word "internets" acceptable

Daniel Radosh

After the last debate I wrote that Bush was "toast" as soon as the media learned that he did, in fact, own shares in a timber company.

Today I came back prepared to eat some crow, after reading William Safire.

Kerry also blundered with a weird attack on an $84 item in the Bushes' federal income tax return, supposedly from a timber business. "I own a timber company? That's news to me," said Bush, adding engagingly in what was the most natural moment in the debate, "Need some wood?" It turns out that Kerry relied on an Annenberg Web site that later admitted it had been confused, which left the Democratic candidate out on a hardwood limb.

Fortunately, I decided not to depend on Safire's version of what factcheck.org said, because it turns out he's the one who's confused. Here's what it really "admitted":

Bush got a laugh when he scoffed at Kerry's contention that he had received $84 from "a timber company."  Said Bush, "I own a timber company? That's news to me."

In fact, according to his 2003 financial disclosure form, Bush does own part interest in "LSTF, LLC", a limited-liability company organized "for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales." (See "supporting documents" at right.)

So Bush was wrong to suggest that he doesn't have ownership of a timber company. And Kerry was correct in saying that Bush's definition of "small business" is so broad that Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business" in 2001 by virtue of the $84 in business income.

Kerry got his information from an article we posted Sept. 23 stating that Bush on his 2001 federal income-tax returns "reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise." We should clarify: the $84 in Schedule C income was from Bush's Lone Star Trust, which is actually described on the 2001 income-tax returns as an "oil and gas production" business. The Lone Star Trust now owns 50% of the tree-growing company, but didn't get into that business until two years after the $84 in question. So we  should have described the $84 as coming from an "oil and gas" business in 2001, and will amend that in our earlier article.

Continue reading "It makes sense that Safire is the one guy who finds the word "internets" acceptable" »

October 11, 2004

Sluts for $200

Daniel Radosh

At first, this Best Week Ever post struck me as too good to be true: Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings is robbed of $200 when Alex Trebek rejects his response to the clue, "This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker."

Jennings had said, "What is a ho?" The "right" answer: "What is a rake?"

But like in the butt, Bob, this incident checks out. Scott told me he got the story from his friend Kevan Choset, and Kevan quickly sent me the audio clip. Enjoy.

October 11, 2004

Don't ask me why they're using cover art from two months ago

Daniel Radosh

My absence from the blog last week can only mean that either I was working on another Talk of the Town piece or I was on a crystal meth binge. Or perhaps that, fueled by a crystal meth binge, I cranked out a Talk of the Town piece. Either way, you can read To the Editor in this week's issue and find out how exactly to get your letter into the New York Times.

October 10, 2004

Kerry's forgotten Iraq plan

Daniel Radosh

Kerry is starting to convince people that he'll do better in Iraq than Bush, but only because it's becoming clear that he couldn't possibly do worse, and Bush's failure to face reality there is becoming dangerous.

But many people, myself included, are skeptical about the centerpiece of Kerry's plan. Bush characterizes it as "join me for the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Of course, Bush's critique is based on the premise that the problem is somehow Kerry's for identifying the errors with the war as opposed to his own for commiting them, but his point about how difficult it will be to pull in allies is valid.

That's why I've been extremely disappointed that Kerry hasn't followed up on a separate element of his Iraq plan that he raised during the first debate, but has not mentioned since (and possibly not before; I couldn't find it on his web site, or in any of his major speeches). Here's what Kerry said in Florida:

I think a critical component of success in Iraq is being able to convince the Iraqis and the Arab world that the United States doesn't have long-term designs on it. 

As I understand it, we're building some 14 military bases there now, and some people say they've got a rather permanent concept to them. 

When you guard the oil ministry, but you don't guard the nuclear facilities, the message to a lot of people is maybe, "Wow, maybe they're interested in our oil." 

Continue reading "Kerry's forgotten Iraq plan" »

October 9, 2004

And still I blog

Daniel Radosh

I missed a chance to blog the veep debate, which is OK since enough people said the same thing I would have: Immediately after the debate I called it a tie (well, between the candidates that is. Ifell lost big time), once all Cheney's lies started coming out, I gave the edge to Edwards.

I was going to skip this one too, since again, everyone else is on top of it. As soon as Bush dropped his "need wood?" line, I thought, if he actually does own shares in a timber company, he's toast (and, as you know by now, he does). The killer factor there is not so much that he didn't know this and sounded like an ass (though that's part of it) but that it will give people an excuse to explore the import of that, which Kerry raised, but did not do a great job of explaining: that Bush and Cheney lie when they say Kerry will raise taxes on 900,000 small businesses.

But as I said, you don't need me pointing that out, it's everywhere. One thing I've only seen on one blog is this: "There was just a question about how there have been no further terrorist attacks since September 11. But what about the anthrax attacks of fall 2001? Have we forgotten all about them?" Um, I had. I wonder if the media truth squadders are going to fact check the questioners as well as the candidates (I mean, in addition to the candidates; they don't fact check anyone particularly well).

Bottom line: I think the only reason some people are calling this a tie is because Bush didn't melt down the way he did last week (though when he snapped at Charlie G, I thought he might). But if this had been the first debate, it would have been called a decisive victory for John Kerry, and so it was. Remember, Bush didn't only lose the first debate with his bizarre behavior, Kerry won it by counteracting a year's worth of GOP ads and spin with one solid performance. He gave that same performance tonight.

I do wish Kerry had at least said that that National Journal "most liberal" "award" had been debunked. He didn't need to explain how or why, just get it on the record for the sake of post-debate spin.

GWB money quote: "The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off." Amen to that.

If you missed the debate, Wonkette captures the minute-by-minute pretty well. And no random references to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, followed by slightly deranged giggling.

PS: Sorry Atrios, Kos, et al, but nothing, but nothing, will convince me that voting in online polls makes a jot of difference, no matter how many internets there are.

October 5, 2004

Who flips off Santa?

Daniel Radosh


Good stuff on Chip Rowe's revised web site, including the legal history of the finger, a professional critique of poems by Ally Sheedy and Charlie Sheen, an analysis of smut for sale on Amazon.com, and a list of things God told people to do.

October 5, 2004

Don't put the lipstick in your eye

Daniel Radosh

News stories about sex ed books being pulled from library shelves are a dime a dozen. Sometimes I'm amused by the brainwashed kids who don't actually see anything wrong with the books their parents are trying to protect them from, but dutifully opine that other, younger kids need to be protected ("It's hilarious, but it's so wrong. Somebody's little sister might find it."). But even that's fairly common

What caught my eye in this particular story was this paraphrase of the angry mother's position: "She said there are several other books that can teach girls about menstruation and how to put on makeup, without discussing issues for which many young students might not be ready."

Just tart yourself up for the boys, honey. You'll learn why later.

Is this really the level of sex-ed that parents are comfortable with?

October 4, 2004

Venusians for Kerry

Daniel Radosh

"But I can do a better job of protecting America's security because the test that I was talking about was a test of legitimacy, not just in the globe, but elsewhere." --John Kerry Oct. 4

Sadly, he's quite cogent up till that point in rebutting a Bush charge that he rightly calls "pathetic." And all he really means is that the test is domestic as well as international ("where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing," is how he put it in the debate. But who among us can resist the opportunity for a cheap shot?

Since I'm here, I'll note that while the Bushies are distorting Kerry's words, there is a genuine policy difference in play here, and Kerry's is by far the preferable one. Compare his words with those of Condoleezza Rice, who said, "I don't understand 'proving to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.' "

Um, yeah, it's pretty obvious that you don't.

October 4, 2004

Know Nothing

Daniel Radosh

A few weeks ago I added The Know-It-All to my recommendations list. The book, by my Esquire editor A.J. Jacobs, is about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica cover to cover, and has been getting generally excellent reviews. Yesterday, however, Joe Queenan (with whom I've also worked) savaged it in The New York Times. Normally I say everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in this case, Queenan gets some basic stuff so completely wrong that he renders his review invalid.

Queenan has three complaints about the book. The first is that the jokes are "corny, juvenile, smug, tired." Fair enough. I happen to disagree, but they didn't hire me to write the review. You can make up your own mind on this point by reading the first chapter. I might point out that immediately after leveling this charge, Queenan makes a joke of his own -- calling A.J. "a poor man's Dave Barry; no, a bag person's Dave Barry" -- that pretty much epitomizes those four adjectives.

But the review doesn't really go wrong until after this.

Continue reading "Know Nothing" »

October 1, 2004

Let's make it a conference call, shall we?

Daniel Radosh

"My opponent says we didn't have any allies in this war. What's he say to Tony Blair? What's he say to Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland?" --George W. Bush

"They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride." --Alexander Kwasniewski

[via Hit & Run]

Continue reading "Let's make it a conference call, shall we?" »

October 1, 2004

Blah, blah, blah... Kerryboobies?

Daniel Radosh

Best debate wrap-up. Ever.

And if I did think about sex when the two scary men were on, I was very ashamed, especially when I imagined what kinds of breasts the men would have if they were women. (The man on the right: Big, pumped-up artifical breasts hard as bowling balls. The man on the left: Droopy, grey, old-lady breasts with long hairs on the downward-pointed nipples.) I was up all night shivering, I was so afraid.

October 1, 2004

Then of course there's the footage of Hitler

Daniel Radosh

I've said many times that I don't believe in Bush-bashing -- especially of the "what a dummy" variety -- as either a tactic or an expression of truth. So for the most part, a DVD of Bushisms is going to leave me cold, even when tricked out Best Week Ever stizz.

That said, you put those same Bushisms into song, and you just might have something -- so the quicktime preview is worth watching just for the closing scene of the George W. Bush Singers.

October 1, 2004

Godwin's Law! Debate over.

Daniel Radosh

"The AP also caught Kerry's mistake when he referred to looking at KGB records in Treblinka Square in a visit to Russia. Treblinka was a Nazi death camp. Kerry meant Lubyanka Square."

I was wondering about that myself. Anyway, forget the minor moments of misspeaking. FactCheck.org has the debate's genuine woppers. I'll let you decide whose were worse (hint: rhymes with tush).

October 1, 2004

buzz buzz

Daniel Radosh

I have nothing substantive to add to the post-debate analysis. Like most observers, I thought Kerry won on both style and substance, but whether it will help in the polls will depend on the next 48 hours of spin (which is not what this is; you know me and my history with JK better than that).

So here's something trivial (and I haven't checked all the blogs yet, so forgive me if someone else has made this point already). The flashing lights that Bush insisted on backfired on him. They helped keep Kerry disciplined, and kept tripping up Bush. Bush frequently was unable to get his thoughts formed -- or even his words out -- for several seconds at the beginning of his answer. He repeatedly hit his stride just as the green light went on, forcing him to speed up, which only emphasized the impression that he was frantic compared with Kerry's calm demeanor.

Continue reading "buzz buzz" »

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