Sunday, November 21, 2004

Not fun

(Re-copied from a comment to Ellen Dana Nagler at BOP, Fraying at the Edges.)

No, not fun.

They forget the other half of Apollo's curse--his sending nightmare visions, one after the other, day after day, without pause, each more excoriating than the last--until night and day became equal. Really, that was the worst.

Being ignored was the smaller part. You don't think so? But that was just toying with false hope! So what would it have been like: Not to be ignored, but to be celebrated in every forum, feted in every household--the prophesies on everyone's lips . . . And then to watch the destruction happen--anyway--and to die--anyway--an abused slave to a brutish warlord, slain like a feast-day pig by a jealous queen . . . All better, right?

And those who ignored: They knew they wanted no part of those nightmares. Better to sleep at night, and enjoy the dalliances of the day! It seemed unfair that shouting Cassandra down with heroic patriotism would not keep her visions from coming to pass. How could the Gods possibly ignore their good intentions, their utmost innocence? The shock when Charon tossed them like stinking sacks into his infamous boat, and the dismay when Hades told them the unsought truth, face to face!

Not fun. Not fun at all.
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The Blogging of the President: 2004

The Blogging of the President: 2004

Empire and Ethic:
The New American Republic I

An important post on bopnews by Ian Welsh.

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Friday, November 19, 2004

The Blogging of the President: 2004 * Author's Query

The Blogging of the President: 2004:

This is a copy of a post on bopnews.com:

"I'd like to ask the BOP community for a little brainstorming help. I need a descriptive term for the nation the right is trying to create. Stirling has termed it 'The Freeple's Republic', Oldman has called it 'The New Feudalism', others have called it the 'The New Theocracy' or 'the Neoconomy'. What I want is a simple phrase, preferably, but not necessarily with the word Republic or Nation in it, that encompasses both the idea of aristocracy and the idea of theocracy. Once I find a name I like I'm going to pound it home in a series of articles. Help appreciated, and will be acknowledged repeatedly."

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Monday, November 15, 2004

Schism

While the Democrats aren't looking, a significant part of their base is openly discussing a coming rupture within itself that will be exploited by Republicans, I predict, in unfortunate ways.

Middle and upper middle class blacks are beginning to turn on their poor relatives.

Within the black community there has always been grumbling by middle class types over how being associated with our poorer, more uncouth brethren is a burden. However, there was always a moral imperative to not openly abandon the black poor and to always say you wanted to "give back to the community". Whether one actually did or not is another question; however, to be seen as a moral person one had to at least pretend to care.

I was watching a C-Span show featuring something called the Low Country and Chesapeake Society. They've been featured several times in the last 2 weeks on C-Span (links to Low Country founder Webster Brooks on Washington Journal and the forum I saw may be found here: Link

Mr. Brooks and others at this forum openly discussed whether middle and upper middle class blacks could afford any longer to expend political energy trying to represent the interests of poor black people. My impression of their assessment of the situation is that if poor blacks have to be abandoned by their better off relatives in order to maintain middle class status, well that's just what needs to be done.

A schism between poor and middle class blacks is the subject of this article at The Black Commentator, No Exit in Black: Trapped by the Economy and Politics. A quote from the article:

. . . Poor black people are about to become the victims of a great political betrayal that is as predictable as it is awful. This betrayal is due to the unyielding logic of modern economic life, which has slowly but inexorably destroyed the basis for black unity. . . .


The author laments the trend. The Low Country forum accepts the trend with the stoicism of people who don't expect to pay an exorbitant price for their betrayal.

Bill Cosby recently gave voice to disgust over the style, lifestyle and life choices of the black poor and was met with understanding and sympathy by leaders of traditional civil rights organizations. I don't think I'm wrong in saying that if Mr. Cosby had bloviated similarly 10 years ago, Kwesi Mfume and Jesse Jackson would've come down on him like a ton of bricks instead of fluttering like moths around his flame today.

If you're not black and American this may not be of much interest to you, but I submit that in black America has dwelt the deepest source of desire for justice coupled with economic opportunity and compassion that this country has ever had. If that well runs dry, if the memory of a civil rights struggle that was for all black people, and not just for "worthy" black people, if that memory disappears among the people who should most cherish it, then how will justice and liberty remain as values among people who were peripheral to that struggle while still benefitting from it?

If this is the trend among middle-class black Americans, then the Republicans will exploit it, probably first using front groups whose mission is to give intellectual legitimacy to the notion of a "post-civil rights era" of dog eat dog.

"Low Country and Chesapeake Society" . . . has a lovely and melodic sound to it, don't you think? What may not be appreciated by the larger American society is that elegance is a high value among middle and upper middle class black people, more so than among white Americans of similar economic circumstances IMO. I have several friends who went to work on Wall Street in $1,000 Italian suits and were called aside and told that they just looked too fly to fit in. If I were to establish a front group as described in the paragraph above, I would be sure it had trappings of elegance and high style.

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Think Big

Think Big - JFK Selling Science

From a blog called Loyal Opposition:

"Lift your spirits out of the election doldrums. Follow this link to watch a video of JFK's speech promoting the space program (Rice University, Houston Texas, 9/12/1962). It's worth the detour.

The proper role of government in the economy is to do what the private sector will not, but will make us all better off if we do. Basic science research, for example. What are Democrats for? We're for that. Can we sell it? Yes we can. Follow the link and see."

I agree. It is worth the detour.

Who was Kennedy's speechwriter?

(You can fast-forward to about halfway through... The first half is introductions, invocations, etc.)

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Fates are Kind

The last two days have seen much activity over at The Blogging of the President, with posts on the economy, the (new) assault on Fallujah, and the politics of NATO. Too much to summarize, except to say that with Bush re-selected, the US economy moves measurably toward the brink, Iraqi insurgents understand guerrilla warfare and we do not, and NATO joins the list of international institutions whose sole purpose (from the US point of view) is to facillitate the bullying of our former friends.

The disaster continues.

A disaster as large, as encompassing, as the destruction of the United States takes time--takes years. For over a decade we have been a "me-first" society, and now, a "me-only" society. I remember clearly, during the Reagan years, the famous comment by an investment banker that "greed is good." The comment was not surprising: After all, he was a swindler who was indicted for his crimes and nearly went to jail. What was surprising was that the comment was welcomed in the media as a new truism and accepted as such by the public: There was neither outrage nor outcry that he was denying either Christian moral teaching specifically or ethical principles generally. This in a nation increasingly considering itself to be Christian. That was some years ago, now. We did not come to this overnight.

The news this week has been going by very fast, but each new atrocity of justice, law, or humanity is just a small bit in the process of the larger collapse. And each conversation I have, each on-line petition I sign, each letter I write or e-mail I send is just a small moment in an onrushing stream of events. By next week it will be forgotten.

But the disaster will still be with us.

So the first thing is learning to live with this.

From time to time, I get up my nerve and visit Riverbend's blog Baghdad Burning to see what things are like in Iraq. I feel like a ghoul. But that's all right, because I know that our turn is coming--even though the details will be different--and it is good to try to get a sense of what lies ahead. Riverbend writes gracefully, and even her complaints are not really complaints, but appeals to a conscience that at one time we would have had, that even now we can remember--so that we are goaded into blustering words of self-righteous self-justification. She witnesses--even her complaints are a witnessing--and when she is not complaining her cool thoughts are like a clear pool of judgement.

But as she knows herself it is not enough. One can live for an hour, for a day, for a few days in the lucid terror of crystalline awareness, but hardly longer than that. One has to escape to somewhere else. For me this is personal: I know--I grew up knowing--what it is like to face the wrong end of a gun, and to have one's life in the hands of a psychopath. And now my country is in the hands of a psychopath, and it is all very familiar. The atrocities that do not get reported in our media--even as the rest of the world watches--are shocking, always shocking, but never surprising: What did we expect from someone who spent his childhood blowing up frogs for fun? Also familiar is the glass wall that separates me from those around me: When did we forget that blowing up frogs isn't normal (when I was a child we all knew that); that raping "suspects" for "information" is wrong (haven't we always known that)? The elephant in the livingroom is not just the GOP. Our own lies about how good everything is and how happy we are make us crazy.

A choice between craziness and fear is untenable. We need to escape from fear not into craziness, but to somewhere else. Where does Riverbend escape to? I may have missed that, or she may not have said. It's a bit private. But escape she does.

This past October 27th I went down into the bottomland of a local river to watch the lunar eclipse. Sheltered from streetlights by a cliff to the east and a woodland to the west, I had a clear, glare-free view of a dark, sparkling sky. To get to the river, I had to walk down a wooded path in filtered moonlight, and through a gate made by the arch of a half-fallen, living tree. Beyond the gate was the clearing, open to the sky. Downstream, back-lit trees glowed softly in sodium-yellow light, while around me silver light brought out the colors of the autumn leaves in Impressionistic pastel.

I waited. The shadow of the Earth fell across the Moon. In the deepening night the creatures of wood and river--birds, fish, frogs--fell silent. Reality separated into layers, like the filo pastry of a baklava. This was expected. So: Time came to a stop, and raced by, simultaneously. Many things happened, and nothing happened--Isn't it always like that? What are the conversations you wish you had had, would like to have? The friends you treasure, and regret. Sometimes it was sad, but mostly it was happy. All there at once. And then the light came up; I felt confidence in what was to come; and then newly arrived cirro-cumulus clouds glistened in the moonlight like rainbows to match the pastels on the ground. The woods remained silent. Desperately tired, I felt a fear as of wading into thoughts beyond my depth. It was time to leave. Walking out through the living gate of the bent tree I returned to the world.

In every situation there lies a host of possibilities, seen and unseen, and a set of limitations--of things that cannot be done. The possibilities lie in a tree of decisions, and each choice or happenstance is a movement along a branch of the tree--opening up some possibilities and closing off others. The Fates guard the tree, create its possibilities, and prune its branches.

Americans do not believe in the Fates--do not believe the Fates are real. That is no matter--the Fates absolutely do not care whether we believe in Them or not. They do not reward or punish. But disbelieving, Americans think that they are free of Their Iron Law--the Law of Consequences. This is not so: The Fates bind us to the Law whether or not we believe.

The thing is, by re-selecting Bush, we closed off the last escape route in this world that the Fates held out to us.

The ancient Greeks knew what we steadfastly refuse to believe: That actions have consequences, and that the Fates relentlessly--or kindly--return to us that which we create. I might have left out the word kindly--modern scholars of Greek consider the epithet "the kindly ones" a euphemism--but it's not. Its a reminder that the Fates are kind or cruel according to our own actions.

Kindly, the Fates held out a path which we might have taken, that--when I walked out of the woods in the pre-dawn morning of October 28th--I thought we would take. Now, only malign possibilities are left--but without the release of resignation, for they are not all equal. It is now our fate to wreste the lesser of the available disasters from the impending catastrophe.

I am not despairing, nor am I hopeful. Joy waits in the otherworld as clearly as a moonlit clearing that I can remember in vivid detail. In this world there is only what is.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me

Not a blog birthday, but a real live *people* birthday: yes, it's my birthday today. And thus, uncharacteristically, I've been running around and largely offline.

I just wanted to take advantage of a red letter day (which term I believe comes from the practice of rubricating, or writing in red, Saint's days on the calender, and from there came to mean exceptional or fortuitous--but please double check me), to thank everyone for making TsDz feel like a party *every* day.

We might not be as big as Kos (yet! yet! lol), but there is a lovely feeling of community here, in a non-exclusive way that seems to make new readers also feel comfortable to post.

We've just had a host of remarkably talented writers join on the writing team, and I look forward to what they will be adding to the mix as well.

So thank you, lovely readers (and friends and colleagues) for making tsuredzuregusa feel like a celebration of ideas (and snark and silly pictures and questionable humor). It is a pleasure to be your hostess.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Proud to be Canadian today

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Next Steps for the Left

Adapted from a comment thread on BOPnews which asked "How do we create a governing coalition that can bridge the urban/rural divide?"

Is "bridging the urban/rural divide" what we really want to do?

The way I see it, we can either solidify towards the center of the political spectrum and reach out to middle-American moderates, or we can remake the party as being truly liberal - far more to the left then its core is now - and educate America as to what true liberalism means. The right has been so successful at defining liberalism as a vague folly. If America understood what liberalism really stands for - not what the Republicans say it stands for - then I suspect that [in my own fantasy universe without historical continuity] most Americans would happily identify themselves as liberals.

Look at the silly "Liberalism = Socialism" meme.

We say, "helping the poor, protecting workers' rights, providing financial security for the elderly and working towards enabling universal access to healthcare doesn't make us Socialists" and they reply, "We're all for that, too, we just hate paying for your Mapplethorpe exhibitions."

Somebody had the idea not too long ago to use the word "progressive" instead of liberal, however the right has begun to successfully villify progressive as well.

We need to identify a core handful of issues that we all feel strongly about... Let's say civil rights, healthcare, social security and education for example, and we need to push the hell out of those issues, showing why we [the left] are the only ones who can be entrusted to improve these things in our country, along with how the Republicans have proven historically that they cannot.

Going into this election, I perhaps naively felt that the most important issue was the Bush Administration's contempt for the opinions of the rest of the world. In my heart this remains a big issue, but it appears that it was largely incomprehensible and irrlevant as an issue to the majority of the electorate.

Everybody can relate to civil rights, social security, health care and education and these should be easy issues for a political organization to talk about.

Keep the focus on these types of issues and save repairing America's image abroad for after we are in power again.

The time to start is now.

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As the Democrats take it lying down

Over at the Blogging of the President, paperwight writes in "Brave New World" of the oddity of Kerry's concession. The mistaken the notion that a reconciliation--"healing," was the word I think Kerry actually used--is possible is leading the Democrats to abandon leadership even as a courageous investigation of election fraud is needed. The Democrats just don't seem to get it: The Republicans are not interested in democracy, they are interested in control.

I agree:

Kerry's concession was a disaster, a funking in the very midst of the battle. Oldman thinks he was blackmailed--no matter: The disaster is the same. I felt like I was not watching politics, but professional wrestling. Kerry can no longer lead, and the loss of leadership is crucial.

Being "powerless" will not help the Democrats, for although the Rethugs will be saddled with their mistakes, yet they never lack to find scapegoats, and in the mean time they will just move to eliminate the Dems permanently. Electronic voting, and electronic tabulation was where the election was decided, and we lost. The Dem leadership hasn't even noticed. Those who want to win will have to remove clueless Dems from the action--or move the action away from them.

I do not believe that Shrub will live out his next term: The drug- or booze-related illness he is suffering from will finish him off well before then. But he will have a successor, so there is no comfort there.

Waiting (and hoping) for the next election is a path of failure.
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How was your day at the office, honey?

FYI, I am SUPER busy these days, on a number of political projects (details to follow soon).

In the meantime, I don't want to neglect the fabulous Tsuredzuregusa readers, so we are bringing in a number of new bloggers.

Please give them a warm welcome and make them feel at home. I suspect you'll recognize a few of the names.

And, thank you for your patience with a well-intended but truly crummy hostess.

On the positive side, I'm sleeping fairly well. On the other hand--I'm so busy, I'm wishing I could stay awake and work all night! lol
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Honored

Shaula, my boon companion at BOPnews, has been kind enough to ask me to, er, bop on over and say hello. It's an honor, and a pleasure, to be here.

I'm in California, and though your clock says 2 a.m., for me it's the shank of the evening. I'm watching Jon Stewart interviewing Chuck Schumer, whom Stewart refers to as one of the few surviving members of the species Homo Democratus. I love Chuck. He brings it home. As for Jon, he's way high up in the Pantheon of greats. Could we have stayed sane lo these many weeks without him? And in the days ahead, we'll need him more than ever. He's just observed that in this election cycle, seems that "nothing could trump the idea of two guys kissing." Talk about bringing it home. These two, both my landsmen (I'm a Brooklyn girl myself) are the best.
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Monday, November 08, 2004

Censorship by Blogger?

Just got a very interesting comment in a thread below from Terry at Thinking Rocks:
Hey, Shaula -
I've got a quick, off-topic question:  Have you

experienced any censorship by blogger? I posted
the same link twice
(http://www.whitehouse.org/news/2004/110304.asp),
and twice had it removed without any input from
me. I've tried a third time (in a round about
way), and I'll see if it takes (this try is at:
http://thinkingrocks.blogspot.com/2004/11/censorship-at-blogger.html).

Have you had anything like this happen to you?

Cheers,

Terry
Well, time to start playing "I am Spartacus," boys and girls. Blogger-bloggers, please try putting up a link on your blogger blog to http://www.whitehouse.org/news/2004/110304.asp. Where you ask? Why, to http://www.whitehouse.org/news/2004/110304.asp. Sorry, which link is it, you say? http://www.whitehouse.org/news/2004/110304.asp. That's right. And please let Terry or myself know if you incur any censorship.

Oh, and that link goes to VICTORY 2004: PRESIDENT'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH INVITING THE 55 MILLION AMERICA-HATERS WHO VOTED AGAINST GOD TO BEND OVER AND TAKE IT LIKE A PRISON BITCH. Do take a look.
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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Hang on tight, or we'll all slide off the edge of the big, flat world

Wisconsin School District to Teach Creationism

1. Neo-Cons want your children ignorant. They want Americans to be (even further) divorced from reality and easy to manipulate. They are willing to sabotage science to acheive their political agenda.
2. Creationism and so-called Intelligent Design, which Stirling has previously explored here, are part of their flat earth science strategy.
3. When progressives fight against unscientific religious dogma being added to school science curricula, this plays into the GOP frame of Democrats as "anti-religion" (re-branded this week as "anti-morality") and increases the partisan divide and the polarization of our communities.
4. The reason the GOP started running candidates for the down-ballot, unsexy* positions on schoolboards years ago was in part to put candidates in the pipeline (i.e., to develop campaign and policy experience towards running for successively higher office and groom a candidate talent pool), but less obviously, it was to influence school curricula to influence local political culture (i.e., to indoctrinate your kids) and to dumb down America.
5. In order to do this, they need to control schoolboards. The solution: start by taking back school boards, with the byproduct of getting our own candidates in the pipeline for higher office.

Small, local races are SERIOUS business. In the big picture, they are where the game for the country is won or lost, frankly. Without young minds we don't have intelligent, informed voters. (To paraphrase what Clinton said a few months back on The Daily Show, "people who think vote Democrat." By extension, keep'em ignorant and they'll vote GOP.)

So, what can you do about it?

1. Find out the partisan breakdown of your local school board.
School boards may be "officially" nonpartisan, but in reality, they are very, very partisan, and the starting ground for a lot of long, successful political careers. If you don't know who is who in your area, your local Democratic committee will be keeping tabs and should be happy to tell you.

2. Look ahead to your school board elections.
- Do you care enough to run? Unlike national races or even state legislature races, school board campaigns don't have as high an entry threshhold--the turf is smaller, it is easer to walk (shoeleather, shoeleather, shoeleather politics), it doesn't take a fortune.
- If elected office isn't your thing, go recruit your own candidate. You see, you don't have to "ask permission" to do politics. Just do it. Find someone who will go door to door talking to voters, and make fundraising calls (the candidate test); and who will stand up against the provincial Neo-Cons and stop the book burnings, the installation of dangerously ineffective abstinence-only programs over science-based sex ed, and the rest of the flat earth science. File their papers, raise some money, knock on doors, and put a new Democrat on your school board.
- Get involved in helping out on other Democratic candidates' campaigns for school board. (As a downballot race, they typically rely on strong coattails from larger races and are starved for volunteers.)
- At the very least, make sure you vote, make sure you cast an educated vote, and make the progressives around you aware how critically important school board elections are.

3. Pay attention to what is, and isn't, being taught in your children's schools.
And raise hell about it. You know, like the Republicans do.

The threat of this aggressive ignorance and pre-enlightenment "science" is hard for many intelligent people to take seriously because it is so absurd. But, it is really a fight over the national culture, and certainly the minds of the next generation of Americans.



*No offense intended to school board members. Some of the sexiest people I know (I'm talking about you, Janet Oleszek) are on school boards. :)


Update
It's not just science...

Texas Board of Education forces health textbook publisher to change wording of definition of marriage to "lifelong union between a man and a woman"



Cross posted to BOP News
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Absurdity Burnout

The Yes Men have their own theory on how we got here: Absurdity Burnout.

"That's what's amazing about the discourse in this country," says Mike Bonnano, one of the two weapons-grade ironists behind Yes Bush Can. "People are so used to complete absurdity that nothing surprises them any more."

The article, which provides some much-needed levity this evening detailing their Rick Mercer-esque antics, and also mentions the Stanley Milgram experiment.

For months leading up to today's election, George Bush and his campaign team have been criss-crossing the US in a fleet of red, white and blue buses bearing the words "A Safer World - A More Hopeful America", followed close behind by several coachloads of journalists. Amid the mayhem that attends the motorcade, few people seem to have noticed anything odd about the occasional appearance of another, unauthorised bus, bedecked with near-identical patriotic graphics and a huge photograph of the president's grinning face.

The somewhat defensive slogan "I'm telling the truth!" should probably have rung alarm bells. So should the fact that the zealous campaigners on board claimed to represent a pressure group called Yes Bush Can. Mainly, though, alarm bells did not ring - which is why, over recent weeks, numerous loyal Republicans have happily signed a pledge in which, among other things, they agreed to host a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in their neighbourhood, promised not to have sex before marriage, and specified which branch of the military they would prefer their children to join to fight America's forthcoming war against North Korea."

They call their work to undo the Orwellian illogic of the Bush regime and the WTO "identity correction."

I say, more power to them.



Cross-posted from BOP news

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This one's going out to all our GLBT brothers and sisters across the country

Democracy
by Langston Hughes

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Freedom
Is a strong seed
Planted
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.
Don't let anyone tell you to "wait your turn." We've got your back.

Via Silent Lucidity.
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The Big One: They're Stealing it Again

Folks, this is THE news story right now: the numbers don't add up, the voting machines were rigged, and they're trying to steal the presidency again.

This story isn't in Big Media and word is, for whatever reason, the inside-the-beltway crowd won't touch it.

So push it hard in the blogs, talk to your neighbors, email it to your grandma, and send it to your local media.

Kerry's concession speech carries NO legal weight. Results aren't final until they are certified by the state election boards. Once Bush is coronated again, we're out of luck.

We have a VERY SMALL WINDOW to make sure the votes count. And, no one else is doing it: it is up to us.

Roll up your sleeves, and go forth to save American democracy.



Republican Election Theft Roundup
  • The numbers don't add up
  • CIA-style hacking rigs election for Bush
  • Black Box Voting calls it Fraud
  • Surprising Pattern of Florida's Election Results
  • The Greg Palast classic: An Election Spoiled
  • Washington Dispatch: Vote Fraud in Ohio?
  • Presidential votes mis-cast on machines across the country
  • Reconciling voting machine and exit poll discrepancies
  • Ohio Whitewash
  • Institute for Public Accuracy on Ohio Elections
  • software flaw found in Florida vote machines
  • Florida numbers analysis (chart)
  • exit poll chart via BOP reader alyosha (thanks, man)
  • Stolen Election 2004
  • Open Voting Consortium
  • 4000 votes missing in Pennsylvania County
  • Palm Beach county logs 88,000 more votes than voters
  • outrage in ohio
  • Broward County Florida voting machines count backwards
  • Diebold Pres Odell's 2003 promise to "deliver Ohio for Bush"
  • Greg Palast: Kerry Won
  • Diebold Machines yield fishy results
  • Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Votes in Ohio
  • More evidence of possible fraud in Darke County, Ohio
  • NC: 11,823 "extra" votes cast for Bush
  • chart: Florida voter reg vs performance
  • Something looks very wrong in Florida
  • Election Theft Bombshell: Major Security Breach
  • And finally, from the "We told you so" files: A technical look at how they can steal it (from October 9, 2004)
  • Plus, from the BOP House Crew
  • Matt Stoller: another stolen election
  • oldman: speaks for itself
  • Barry Ritholtz: mapping out election results
  • Ian Welsh: Okay, it was stolen
  • Shaula Evans: fight fight fight
  • Have more data? Add a link in the comments.

    Note, these are the kind of URLs that mysteriously wind up scrubbed Would some tech savvy person be kind enough to archive them, quickly?



    Cross-posted from BOP News



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    Maporama Weekend on BOP News!

    The fabulous (and I mean that from the bottom of my heart) Barry Ritholtz of BOP News is hosting an extended weekend of cartographical election analysis. If you liked the United States of Evangelicals Map then you have to check out Barry's political map gazetteer, "We've Gone Map Crazy!"

    Map Day is now officially Map Weekend!

    We know the Red State/Blue State dichotomy is really misleading -- it doesn't accurately reflect the US.

    So I gathered up, in all their cartographic glory, a series of election map post-mortems. (They were just lying around the internet gathering dust anyway).

    These graphic representations of the election's outcome are thought provoking and even humorous.

    Proportional Electoral Map
    this one is my favorite -- because land doesn't vote, people do

    Red States Feed at Federal Trough, Blue States Supply the Feed
    So much for self-reliance

    Popular Vote, Population Density
    similar idea

    Red & Blue World
    You know how the States voted; Here's how the World did

    Purple America
    a sentimental favorite

    The Kids Are Alright
    How the Youth of America voted . . .

    2000 vs 2004 County by County Election Results

    Where did their votes come from?
    an interesting 3D comparison

    Electoral College Over Represents Rural Areas
    no kidding?

    which leads to the very sad
    Voting: Free versus Slave States
    Look how far we’ve come as a country

    Demographics versus Geography
    For when you finally get sick of maps

    New America redistricted
    DeLay loves redistricting, so . . .

    and just for laughs, Jesusland
    guaranteed to offend someone

    Cartographic political analytics -- fun for the whole family!

    Now, with bonus tracks!

    Red & Blue States
    Who pays the taxes, who spends the taxes.

    How Red or Blue Am I?
    State by state margins of victory

    Keep those maps coming! If you've got more maps, let me know and I'll pass it on to Barry, or leave your comments for Barry directly on BOP News.

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    Saturday, November 06, 2004

    I've heard this moral values talk before somewhere

    The GOP went out of their way to enshrine hatred and discrimination against GLBT's in at least 10 states and counting... (Who has a more accurate count right now?)

    And yet, we've seen this game before:
    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
    because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.


    Rev. Martin Niemöller
    How do we wake this country up and learn from history before it is too late?
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    Friday, November 05, 2004

    Margin of Diebold

    voting machines shaped like elephants
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    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Best part is, it's for real



    Many thanks to John A. of AmericaBlog for the link.
    |

    If you won't come to reality, eventually, reality comes to you.



    So who's taking bets on who's next: Iran? Syria? North Korea?

    Thank you, red-state voters of America, from your friends at Halliburton and the Carlyle Group.

    Graphic via Youngfox Canada
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    For the Sunshine Liberals

    "What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label 'Liberal?' If by 'Liberal' they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then … we are not that kind of 'Liberal.' But if by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a 'Liberal,' then I'm proud to say I'm a 'Liberal.'"

    - John F. Kennedy, September 14, 1960


    Thanks to paperwight.

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    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    A Possible Solution to US Electoral Problems

    Northen American map showing blue states added to Canada and red states labeled 'US of Evangelicals'

    Via MWU!
    |

    Watching Shooting Stars


    I drove into Boston at the spur of the moment to see Kerry and his concession speech. I saw him, Edwards, Teresa, Kerry's daughters, Ted Kennedy, James Carville and Lockhart. This was the first time that I have seen any of them, ever. The crowd was enthusiastic and supportive. The whole experience was just a little bit sad.

    The event had some extra meaning for me because Kerry gave his speech in the same historical building/room in which my wife, along with 200+ other immigrants, was sworn in as a Naturalized American Citizen a year or so ago after 16 years of us being together. That day was a beautiful day that filled me with pride for my wife, for all of the other immigrants there raising their hands and for our country, kind and noble in its embrace of foreign guests. The judge who presided over the ceremony that day said to the new citizens that they were as of that moment "No more or no less a citizen than any other American." It was a beautiful thought.
    |

    Apocalypse Now

    Larry Brennan - Bush said he hit the Trifecta last time. What do you call it when four of your horses come in?

    Ellen - The Apocalypse?

    Via Making Light

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    How is everyone today?

    I'm...still reeling.
    |

    Nov 3 Elsewhere Blogging

    I've been pulling the graveyard shift on BOP. Here's what's up:
  • How Can It Be This Close?
    If you have answers, I want them. Seriously.

  • N3: Get Your Second Wind
    Where to go for information on direct action events across the country. We need to keep the momentum going and make so much noise that Kerry can't cave. Please check it out and spread the word.

  • Absurdity Burnout
    The Yes Men explain that absurdity burnout can account for why it seems like voters checked their brains at the door.

  • Brace Yerself, Effie
    We may not know who's president until November 15. Details on why.

  • Bush Presidency Hangs By A Thread
    I'm framing this election *my* way.
  • |

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    NPR 7pm report: Virginia too close to call

    The "experts" said Virginia couldn't be won; the national campaign has never had a serious presence here; but the grassroots rose up and took democracy into their own hands and fought for an historic win in Virginia.

    Virginia politics are about momentum. Virginia, like New Jersey, holds state elections in the off years, so we are in a perpetual election cycle. That means this year's momentum was kickstarted when the Democrats picked up their first new seats (3) in 25 years in the House of Delegates in the state elections last year [I had the pleasure of working as Field Director for the Steve Shannon for Delegate campaign in one of those historic wins], and even earlier, by the spectacular win of Democratic Governor Mark Warner in 2001. For Virginia, the real payoff of this year's election activity will come in next year's gubernatorial election.

    Virginia is, to the best of my knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong), the only state that limits governors to one term. Thus, despite his success in office and outstanding popularity, Governor Mark Warner will not be running for re-election in 2005. (People in Virginia are hoping that Warner will remain in public life; while there is great speculation about what he *may* do, Warner himself has not made any public comments on his future course of action.)

    Next year is a big election year for Virginia. Democratic Lt. Governor Tim Kaine is the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor, and will be facing down a well-funded challenge from Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (who, coincidentally, has been doing double-duty this year while also wearing the hat of Bush campaign chair for Virginia, but assured Virginians he had no conflict of interest when he flexed his AG muscles to scrap with State Board of Elections Director Jeanne Jenson to try to override the SBE and put Nader on the ballot[he failed]). In the 2003 General Assembly Session, Governor Warner battled with a Republican-controlled House (61 R's, 37 D's, 2 I's) and Senate (34 R's, 16 D's) to produce a balanced biennial budget in a fight that extended the standard 60-day session to a record 115 days. The acrimonious session also saw the passage of Virginia's infamous HB 751, which attacks civil rights for same sex partners, in addition to a host of bills attacking reproductive freedoms. The stakes in next year's election are, for Virginia, very high.

    What today's neck-and-neck results mean, regardless of where the Old Dominion assigns its electoral college votes, this election is a win for Virginia Democrats. 2004 has rallied and given purpose to Virginia grassroots Democrats, who put forward a spectacular voter registration and voter mobilization campaign--and that energy and those new voters will give a tremendous advantage to Lt. Gov. Kaine in his 2005 bid for Governor, as well as the many state races where Democrats are challenging Republican incumbents. And regardless of who may try to take credit for any good news that comes out of Virginia today, I want to acknowledge publically that credit goes to the grassroots activists of Virginia.

    There will be celebrations in Virginia tonight: celebrations of hard work, hard-earned progress, and a taste for Victory that we plan on indulging again with Governor Kaine this time next year. If Virginia votes for a Democratic president for the first time since LBJ in 1964, then that's just icing on the cake.

    And, during the celebrations tonight, we'll be thanking the people whose hard work last year sewed the seeds of this year's momentum: Delegates Steve Shannon, Mark Sickles, and Lynwood Lewis, for their relentless and outstanding campaigning last year that picked up 3 new seats for the Dems; the incredible campaign talent like Kevin Hyde, Connie Houston, Marty Mooradian, Doug Rueff, and Nick Sukachevin, who made those election wins possible; the diehard volunteers and voters in districts 35, 43, 100, and across Virginia; the critical energy from the Virginia Young Democrats; and the dedicated, highly-skilled professionals in the Democratic Party of Virginia.

    Remember: in Virginia politics, this year is the warm-up act, and the big show is Tim Kaine in 2005.



    Cross posted to BOP News
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    Messages from Michael Moore

    "One Day Left" by Michael Moore

    Dear Friends,

    This is it. ONE DAY LEFT. There are many things I’d like to say. I’ve been on the road getting out the vote for 51 straight days so I haven’t had much time to write. So I’ve put together a bunch of notes to various groups all in this one letter. Please feel free to copy and send whatever portions are appropriate to your friends and family as you spend these last 24 hours trying to convince whomever you can to show up and vote for John Kerry.

    Here are my final words…

    To Decent Conservatives and Recovering Republicans:

    In your heart of hearts you know Bush is a miserable failure. From having no plan on what to do in Iraq once he conquered Baghdad to the 380 missing tons of explosives that could be used to kill our brave young men and women, this guy doesn’t have a clue how to fight and win a war. You should see the mail I’ve been getting lately from our troops over there. They know how much the Iraqi people hate them. They are sitting ducks anytime they go out on the road. Many believe we are not that far away from a Tet-style offensive inside the Green Zone with hundreds of Americans and Brits killed.
    Bush refused to go after and capture Osama bin Laden. He fought, every step of the way, the investigation into the 9/11 attacks. Who on earth would oppose such a thing? If 3,000 people died at your place of work and your boss said we don’t need to find out why or how it happened, he’d be thrown out on his ear. Bush’s behavior after this great tragedy alone is reason enough for his removal.
    You already know that George W. Bush is the farthest thing from a conservative. He’s a reckless spender who has run up record-breaking deficits and the biggest debt in our history. He believes in having the government pry into everything from your library records to your bedroom. He has hit you with hidden taxes with his tax cuts for the rich.
    I know many of you don’t like Bush, but are unsure of Kerry. Give the new guy a chance. He won’t raise your taxes (unless you are super-rich), he won’t take your hunting gun away, and he won’t make you visit France. He risked his life for you many years ago. He’s asking for the chance to do it again. Scott McConnell at The American Conservative magazine has endorsed him. What more do you need?

    To My Friends on the Left:

    Okay, Kerry isn’t everything you wished he would be. You’re right. He’s not you! Or me. But we’re not on the ballot – Kerry is. Yes, Kerry was wrong to vote for authorization for war in Iraq but he was in step with 70% of the American public who was being lied to by Bush & Co. And once everyone learned the truth, the majority turned against the war. Kerry has had only one position on the war – he believed his president.
    President Kerry had better bring the troops home right away. My prediction: Kerry’s roots are anti-war. He has seen the horrors of war and because of that he will avoid war unless it is absolutely necessary. Ask most vets. But don’t ask someone whose only horror was when he arrived too late for a kegger in Alabama.
    There’s a reason Bush calls Kerry the Number One Liberal in the Senate – THAT’S BECAUSE HE IS THE NUMBER ONE LIBERAL IN THE SENATE! What more do you want? My friends, this is about as good as it gets when voting for the Democrat. We don’t have the #29 Liberal running or the #14 Liberal or even the #2 Liberal – we got #1! When has that ever happened?
    Those of us who may be to the left of the #1 liberal Democrat should remember that this year conservative Democrats have had to make a far greater shift in their position to back Kerry than we have. We’re the ones always being asked to make the huge compromises and to always vote holding our noses. No nose holding this time. This #1 liberal is not the tweedledee to Bush’s tweedledum.

    To Nader Voters:

    See the above note.
    Ralph’s own party, the Green Party, would not endorse his run this year. That’s because those of us who want to build a third party in this country know that the only way to do this is to build bridges with those who believe in the issues Nader believes in. But not one of those people will sacrifice the chance to remove George W. Bush from the White House on Tuesday. The choice here is clear: do we join with our friends, or do we piss on them?
    After the debacle of 2000, the Democrats got smart and abandoned the conservative wing of their party. That’s why 8 of the 9 Democrats in the primaries this year were from the liberal wing. Ralph should take credit for that and declare victory. It’s so sad that he doesn’t realize the good he’s accomplished. But for reasons only known to him, he’s more angry at the Democrats than he is at Bush. He has lost his compass. I worry he has lost his mind. But he still gives a great speech!
    And Lila Lipscomb, the mother from Flint who lost her son in Iraq, she still grieves -- as do the mothers of 1,120 others (not to mention the mothers of the 100,000 Iraqis who have died because of Bush’s war). That’s what this election is about. Not Ralph proving some point. Almost none of us on his 2000 advisory group are supporting him this year. His total lack of respect for his best friends should tell all of you something about what he really thinks of you, too.

    To the Non-Swing States:

    Stop listening to how your vote doesn’t count in this election and that your state is already decided for Kerry or Bush. It is critical that you vote because we not only need to give Kerry the electoral win, but he needs to have a HUGE mandate with an ENORMOUS popular vote victory as well. It will be impossible for him to get anything done for four years if there is no clear mandate. We must not only defeat Bush, we must put a stake in the heart of the right-wing, neo-con movement. If you live in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, the Northeast or the Deep South, you need to vote and you need to bring ten people with you to the polls. If you live in a state where we have the chance to elect the Democrat to the Senate or the House, you need to vote. Turn off the TV. Quit listening to news media that has a vested interest in repeating to you over and over that your vote does not count. It does.
    If you have friends or relatives who live in the 30-plus non-swing states, call them and remind them how important it is that Kerry gets a massive popular vote victory.

    To Non-Voters:

    I understand why you stopped voting. Politicians suck. Nothing ever seems to change. You’re only one vote.
    Yes, politicians suck. But so do car salesmen – and that hasn’t stopped you from buying a car. Politicians only respond to the threat of the angry mob also known as the voting public. If most people don’t vote, that’s good news for them ‘cause then they don’t have to answer to the majority.
    Almost fifty percent of Americans don’t vote. That means you belong to the largest political party in America – the Non-Voting Party. That means you hold all the power to toss George W. Bush out of the Oval Office. How cool is that?
    I believe that we are going to have the largest election turnout in our lifetime tomorrow. You don’t want to miss out on that. The lines at the polls are going to be long and raucous and fun. It is an historic election. You won’t want to say that you were the only one who wasn’t there. Promise me you’ll vote, just this one time.

    To All First-Time Voters:

    Welcome to the longest running, uninterrupted democracy on earth! You own it. It’s yours.
    A few words about how messy it’s going to be tomorrow. The lines are going to be long. Bring your iPods. Better yet, bring a friend or two. The election officials have no clue just how many millions are going to show up at the polls. This will be the largest turnout in our lifetime. They don’t have enough machines. They are going to have to send for more ballots.
    And they are going to make it difficult for you to vote. The new law says if this is your first time voting you must bring ID with you that matches the address you are registered at.
    If for some reason they can’t find your name on the voting rolls, you have the right to ask for a provisional ballot, which you can fill out and then sort things out later.
    If you have any problems at the polling place, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. The people there can tell you how to find the precinct where you should be voting, get you legal help if you are denied the right to vote, or answer any other questions you may have.
    If you need any help figuring out the ballot, don’t be afraid to ask. If you screw up your ballot, you can ask for another one. In fact, the law allows you to screw up your ballot two times before you finally have to submit your final ballot! Be careful to vote on the line that says John F. Kerry/John Edwards. Don’t vote for more than one Presidential, Senate or House candidate or you ballot won’t be counted. If your polling place has a stub or a receipt from your ballot, make sure they give you one.
    Thanks for joining us. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It only works when we all come off the bench and participate.

    To African Americans:

    First of all, let’s just acknowledge what you already know: America is a country which still has a race problem, to put it nicely. Al Gore would be president today had thousands of African Americans not had their right to vote stolen from them in Florida in 2000.
    Here is my commitment: I will do everything I can to make sure that this will not happen again. And I’m not the only one making this pledge. Thousands of volunteer lawyers are flying to Florida to act as poll watchers and intervene should there be any attempts to deny anyone their right to vote. They will NOT be messing around.
    For my part, I have organized an army of 1,200 professional and amateur filmmakers who will be armed with video cameras throughout the states of Florida and Ohio. At the first sign of criminality, we will dispatch a camera crew to where the vote fraud is taking place and record what is going on. We will put a big public spotlight on any wrongdoing by Republican officials in those two states. They will not get away with this as they did in 2000.
    In Ohio, the Republicans are sending almost 2,000 paid “poll challengers” into the black precincts of Cleveland in an attempt to stop African Americans from voting. This action is beyond despicable. Do not let this stop you from voting. I, and thousand of others, will be there to fight for you and protect you.

    To George W.:

    I know it’s gotta be rough for you right now. Hey, we’ve all been there. “You’re fired” are two horrible words when put together in that order. Bin Laden surfacing this weekend to remind the American people of your total and complete failure to capture him was a cruel trick or treat. But there he was. 3,000 people were killed and he’s laughing in your face. Why did you stop our Special Forces from going after him? Why did you forget about bin Laden on the DAY AFTER 9/11 and tell your terrorism czar to concentrate on Iraq instead?
    There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)
    Speaking of my movie – can I ask you a personal question before we part ways for good on Tuesday? Why did you and your friends fund SIX “documentaries” trashing me -- but only ONE film against Kerry? C’mon, he was the candidate, not me. What a waste of your time and resources! Sure, I know what your pollsters told you, that the film had convinced some people to vote you out. I just want you to know that that was not my original intent. Funny things happen at the movies. Hope you get to see a few at the multiplex in Waco. It’s a great way to relax.

    To John Kerry:

    Thank you.
    And don’t worry – none of us are going away after you are inaugurated. We’ll be there to hold your hand and keep you honest. Don’t let us down. We’re betting you won’t. So is the rest of the world.

    That’s it. See you at the polls – and at the victory party tomorrow night.

    Yours,
    Michael Moore
    www.michaelmoore.com
    MMFlint@aol.com

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    Republican Pride



    This fraudulent letter (that coincidentally mentions the NAACP, hint, hint) was sent to newly registered voters in Lake County, Ohio.

    How can anyone take pride in a victory helped along by disgraceful efforts like the above?

    Silence regarding these tricks is complicity.

    This is a democracy - if your candidate cannot stand on his own then he/she simply shouldn't win. That is the way the system was designed and the way it should function.

    Accept, expose and denounce these acts.

    [From bopnews.com contributor Glenn Smith's Video Vote Vigil site.]

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    More Muliblogging

  • Virginia Report: Lines out the doorway
    At our polling place in Richmond: lines of 100 people before 6:30 a.m., doubled to approx 200 by ***7:00*** a.m.

  • Muy Grande Endorsement
    Major international Spanish-language paper endorses...Kerry.

  • Exit Strategies
    Overheard at the polls this morning.
  • |

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    You know what happens to big wheels...

    |

    Multiblogging

    Links to posts I've put up elsewhere recently:
  • GOTV Plans for ANYONE
    How to run your own, one-person Get Out The Vote operation. If you're only reading this on Monday or Tuesday: Yes, there's still time to make a difference.

  • The Video They Don't Want You to See
    If you haven't watched Eminem's Mosh video yet, follow the links for it. And let me know what you think.

  • Darkness vs. Light
    You still need policy analysis? Look at the candidates' track records on government secrecy.

  • A Vote for Bush is a Vote for Mammon
    Follow the money. Follow the money. Follow the money.

  • There's Still Time for Going Upriver
    My short take on George Butler's documentary on the Long War of John Kerry--and why undecided voters should see it.

  • New! Improved! Corporate Whores for Bush (retail edition)
    Wal Mart jumps on the Bush Whore Bandwagon

  • Bush campaign says: no bandwidth for you!
    Campaign locks foreigners from viewing website

  • Calling All Night Owls: The Midnight Sign Brigade Rides Tonight!
    Sign Night: it's like Halloween for grownups.
  • |

    Where are you at?

    It's the eve of the election, and I am excited and scared.

    I'm also profoundly frustrated that I'm still this sick and I haven't been as hands-on involved in the election as I wanted to be. But, at the same time, I've very grateful that Matt Stoller invited me to write for the Blogging of the President--by sharing his big, shiny soapbox he gave me the opportunity to be involved the election in a way I could never have expected.

    Have you voted absentee yet or are you going to the polls tomorrow? Are you on sign duty tonight? How do you feel? What are your predictions?

    Don't leave me up chewing my nails all by myself...
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    Out of the Mouths of Babes

    My teenage daughter just came home and revealed the results of her class' election. The fact that we live in a blue-collar town in Massachusetts might give you an anticipatory hint of where she and her fellow students stand:

    Kerry - 71%
    Bush - 24%
    Nader - 5%

    The only current polling data I can find for Massachusetts shows:

    Kerry - 50%
    Bush - 36%
    Undecided - 14%

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    Put YOUR Election News on MSNBC

    Matt Stoller of BOP News is going to be at MSNBC all day Monday and Tuesday blogging and pitching stories for the TV teams. Email him at matt@bopnews.com if you have a good story that you think should be on air.

    MSNBC also has a new program called 'Citizen journalism': http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6348977/

    Matt writes:

    Please do report - if it's good it can get on MSNBC. And please spread this info around the blogosphere.
    You heard the man. Do your part to get the country real news coverage for a change. And pass it on.
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    Thank You, Vice-President Gore, for the Internet

    This weekend I "discovered" Wil Wheaton Dot Net. I realize that this "discovery" won't earn me any awards for being an internet pioneer (although, if pressed, I would be happy to indulge myself in justifying to you precisely why I am indeed an internet pioneer). Wil Wheaton Dot Net (WWDN) is clearly a draw for ordinary liberal folks, geeks and of course, internet pioneers like myself.

    What drew me to WWDN was a piece in Salon called "Time to Hit the Barricades" where Salon asks, "What if the U.S. president, who wasn't exactly elected in 2000, wins in 2004... We asked blue-leaning cartoonists, comedians, bloggers and activists to pause in their last-minute pre-election machinations to ponder what they'll do if the U.S. turns just a few pinky shades to the red next Tuesday. Their responses ranged from predicting civil war, to plotting to take Congress in 2006 and even pledging to give up on the "reality-based community" altogether and live in the absurd...

    One told us he'd cry."

    And the one who told Salon that he would cry was Ensign Wesley Crusher himself, Wil Wheaton, to whom I was immediately and irrevocably endeared.

    Wheaton's full response was:

    For four years, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have lied to the American people about everything from the cost of Medicare "reform" to their ever-changing justifications for invading Iraq. Throughout this campaign, they have tried to terrorize us into giving them four more years to mislead the country and further enrage the world.

    A Bush victory would mean much, much more than just the defeat of John Kerry. It would endanger the values that the vast majority of Americans -- the majority of Americans who voted for Al Gore or Ralph Nader in 2000 -- hold dear. It would be a victory for terror. So if George W. Bush wins, I will sit down, and I will cry. I will cry for my children, who will most certainly face a military draft, and I will cry for my country, because I believe that America can, and must, do better than George W. Bush.

    Wheaton posts a "warning" to first time visitors to his site in which he beats his cruelest detractors to the punch by tearing down his celebrity self and revealing a thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive geek who by now is impossible to dislike.

    I was never a Star Trek fanatic, but I did watch it back in the day, and while I reveled in the efficient resolve of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, like many men of my generation, Ensign Wesley Crusher made my skin crawl.

    When I was in 5th grade, I started reading science fiction and I devoured most of Heinlein's works. Once I became an adult, I considered most of Heinlein to be "Science Fiction Adventures for Boys!" in a very 1950s sense where an ordinary clean-cut boy gets swept up into glorious fascist adventures in the interest of god and country (see Have Space Suit, Will Travel, 1958). As a young adult these stories became inextricably linked in my mind to sickeningly wholesome things from my youth like The Boy Scouts, paper routes, Grit Magazine, Lutherans and saving beef tallow for the war effort. (Yes, a particular member of my family, was saving rendered animal fat for the war effort well into the 1990s).

    Ensign Wesley Crusher turned Star Trek into "Science Fiction for Boys" for me and, using my vernacular of the era, ruined it by making it "gay."

    Both Ensign Wesley Crusher and I have come a long way, I guess. Instead of seeing the young "queer" Ensign in his Federation unitard, now I see a sweet parent my age who sounds like the kind of guy I'd enjoy spending time with. (Wil - if you are ever in the Boston/Cape Cod area and would enjoy a gin & tonic, stop by with the wife and kids - my wife, daughter and I would love to have you as a guest in our home.)

    Which brings me to my thanks to Vice-President Al Gore, erstwhile inventor of the internet. We all know that Mr. Gore never claimed to have "invented the internet," that this meme was in fact an "invention" of the right in a [successful] attempt to humiliate and discredit him, but somebody should get the credit for inventing the net, and since I think Vincent Cerf is dead it probably should be Al. He has suffered a great deal because of this meme.

    In the absence of the internet, mass communication required celebrity, money or power. Piercing the media was required to pass a message along to an audience.

    The truly amazing thing about the internet is how it allows someone like Wil Wheaton to share something like, "I just farted" directly with as many people in the world as the message will attract.

    The internet in all of its fantastic near-zero-cost-to-communicate glory has brought this former Boy Scout together for a moment with the former Boy in Space, and indeed, in the grand scheme of things, an emotional bond between two distant people, however fleeting, should be what life is all about.

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