Thursday, September 28, 2006

Off to Wine Country

No, not Napa (you snob).

Did you know that the country's second largest wine producing area is the Finger Lakes of New York?

We (ABFS and some poor, misguided, obviously addled, woman who has been ABFS's compañera for the last two years) are heading out to Sheldrake Point on Cayuga Lake for a long weekend of wine tasting, diet-busting dining, and complete relaxation. We'll be sans television, radio, newspaper, computers, and cell phones.

The photo shows where we will be staying. We'll have a room with a private porch overlooking the lake. We've been there before and it is a perfectly delightful B&B overlooking the point. The hostess is the best chef I have ever run across, and a delightful person as well -- perfectly suited for her occupation.

Our favorite winery, which also has a pretty darn good restaurant, is, fortunately, within walking distance of our Cayuga Lake home. There are sooooo many good wineries in the region. I was frankly astounded at the quality when we made our first trip just one year ago. Equally surprising is the amazing caliber of dining experiences available in the area. Our favorite matches for creativity, freshness, preparation and presentation any of the five-stars I've enjoyed over the years -- Simply Red in Trumansburg -- don't blink or you'll miss it (we did the first time) -- it is to die for!

So, they'll be no posts for a few days and when I return, I'll be refreshed, but a few pounds heavier.

Until then . . . .

Santorum: Nazi Comparison? I'm Shocked!

"Senator Byrd's inappropriate remarks comparing his Republican colleagues with Nazis are inexcusable. . . . These comments lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate. He should retract his statement and ask for pardon."
--Sen. Rick Santorum, March 2, 2005, on the Senate Floor.

"The audacity of some members to stand up and say 'How dare you break this rule' . . . . It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' "
--Sen. Rick Santorum, May 19, 2005, on the Senate Floor.

(h/t to Dad's Day Off for the image)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SV: Casey +9; WSJ: Casey +6; Survey USA: Rick 99th Worst

Well, we did say it would be a sad week for Rick Santorum.

The latest poll by Strategic Vision -- a Republican Pollster -- has no good news for the floundering reelection campaign of Pennsylvania's Junior Senator from Virgina.

SV's September 2006 Poll puts Casey at 50% and Santorum at 41% in a three-way with Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli (5%) (eeew, Santorum's not the only one who would shudder about such a three-way). A two-way race apparently sends the SV respondents into confusion -- Casey stays at 50%, Santorum drops to 40%, and all of Romanelli's supporters, and the defecting Santorum supporters, all fold into the 10% "idunno" category. This same poll gave Casey a six-point lead a month ago, pegging the Favorite Son's favorite son at 47% to Virginia's son's 41%. So I guess Santorum can tell his pillow "it's okay, I didn't go down".

This wasn't the Santorum team's game plan when they began spending their huge cash lead in August on television buys, soft image commercials, and lying, devious, attack ads. That's alot of money to spend and not gain an inch in nearly two months. Santorum can run on immigration, he can run on Casey's perennial campaigning, he can run on the subtle bigotry and irrational fear of Muslims, but he can't run from his record, which Pennsylvanians find dismal. The policies he supports are walking around the White House -- and EVERYone knows that. Pennsylvanians think Bush sucks (58% in this SV survey). Santorum's record is Bush's record, and that's broken.

Sliced with or without Romanelli, the meat of the Poll shows Casey winning this race handily.

The SV Poll puts Rendell comfortably ahead of the Republican challenger, Lynn Swann, 55% to 37%, despite 63% seeing Pennsylvania heading in the wrong direction. Hmmm, I wonder which party is in control of the Pennsylvania legislature . . . . oh, yeah, the Rs.

UPDATE 9/28/06: WSJ/Zogby Poll -- Casey up 6 Points

The Wall Street Journal/Zogby Poll released another set of figures today. According to this interactive online poll, Casey leads Santorum 45.8% to 39.8%. This represents a three-point drop for Santorum over the preceding WSJ/Zogby numbers and a one-point fall for Casey. The Poll was conducted between September 19 and 25. Your correspondent participated in the Poll. No other data is made available with these polls. They state that Carl Romanelli was part of the poll, but they do not give his numbers nor the undecided tally. The margin of error is 3.3%. The previous WSJ/Zogby poll, taken August 29 to September 5, had Casey at 47%.

Santorum 43%. Santorum continues to fall in every poll. In the last week, these are the polls we have seen:

Strategic Vision 9/28 Casey 50% Santorum 41%
Quinnipiac 9/26 Casey 51% Santorum 39%
Temple/Inquirer 9/24 Casey 49% Santorum 39%
Rasmussen 9/21 Casey 49% Santorum 39%
Keystone 9/21 Casey 45% Santorum 38%
Issues PA/Pew 9/21 Casey 52% Santorum 31%

Throwing out the 21 point Issues PA/Pew poll (because, we've never seen the actual poll results and it's a little out of line with the rest), the last six polls give Casey and average lead of 9 points. (N.B.: Where available, we used the three-way poll result.)

UPDATE II 9/28/06 -- SurveyUSA Releases September Approval Ratings for All US Senators

Look, we weren't kidding when we said this was gonna be a really, really bad week for Santorum.

Survey USA has released its latest Approval Ratings for All US Senators as of September 2006. Santorum is back down at the very bottom of the list, the 99th worst Senator in the United States, ahead of only Conrad Burns. A solid 53% say that they think Rick Santorum is doing a lousy job as their Senator.

This comes a scant month after the Virgina resident scored his highest approval rating in over a year (48%). This month's 53% number isn't as low as he's gone, though. That would be the 57% disapproval score he earned in May, 2006. But we have all the confidence in the world that Santorum can equal or "better" that 57% mark.

Independents (14% of respondents) trash the junior Senator with a 54% disapproval ranking; Moderates (39% of respondents) reject him with a 64% disapproval figure; Regular church goers (36% of survey), 50% disapproval, 45% approve; those never attending college (21%), give him thumbs down with 49% disapproval, 38% approval.

Mmmmmmmm, toasttt!

(PS from the "Ain't We Special Department" -- As near as we can tell, we were the first to bring you these three poll results.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We Get a Bigoted Ad Pulled!

From the shameless self-promotion files of the Slob . . . . .

Some of you may have seen the publicity about an Ohio auto dealer running an advertising campaign making fun of Islam and declaring "jihad" on the auto business. Here are some snippets of the press coverage:
A car dealership's planned radio advertisement that declared "a jihad on the automotive market" has drawn sharp criticism for its content but will not be changed, the business said Saturday.

Several stations rejected the Dennis Mitsubishi spot, which says sales representatives wearing "burqas" - head-to-toe traditional dress for Islamic women - will sell vehicles that can "comfortably seat 12 jihadists in the back."

"Our prices are lower than the evildoers' every day. Just ask the pope!" the ad says. "Friday is fatwa Friday, with free rubber swords for the kiddies." A fatwa is a religious edict.

Dealership president Keith Dennis said the ad does not disrespect any religion or culture. He said it was "fair game" to poke "a little fun at radical extremists."

"It was our intention to craft something around some of the buzzwords of the day and give everyone a good chuckle and be a little bit of a tension reliever," he said.

The AP report will now need to be revised.

In response from an email from Your Slob, Mitsubishi Motors contacted the dealer and told him to pull the advertising:

To: A Big Fat Slob
Date: Sep 26, 2006 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: Mitsubishi's Jihad Advertisement

We greatly appreciate your email expressing concern regarding the proposed advertising campaign from one of our dealers.

Mitsubishi Motors North America has been in contact with the dealer in Columbus, Ohio, about the proposed advertising campaign that reportedly referenced jihad and terrorism. We've made it clear to this dealer that this campaign runs contrary to our company values and we strongly urged him not to run the campaign.

The dealer has agreed not to run it. We are pleased that this campaign will not run and apologize to all those who were offended.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us.

Dan Irvin
Director Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Here's the email that I sent to Mitsubishi:
Dear Mitsubishi,

Below is a newspaper account of an advertising campaign, of a Mitsubishi dealer, which exploits the deaths of thousands of people this year at the hands of terrorists who claim to be devotees of Islam. They also go further and treat the religious garb of faithful, and peaceful, practitioners of Islam as something to be mocked -- as if it it were a Halloween costume.

Given the precarious situation which Muslims face today as the result of subtle bigotry and irrational fear, this kind of overt appeal to that bigotry and fear is, there is no better word for it, disgusting. It is unworthy of being linked to the honorable name of Mitsubishi.

While I understand that your dealers are independent entities, I am sure that this is something in which you will take an interest. Independent or not, their advertising will still reflect on your company and I would be surprised if your Dealer Agreement did not give you some rights when proposed advertising might reflect poorly on your trademarks or products.

I appeal to you to take appropriate actions to convince this misguided dealer to select a different promotion for your products.

A Big Fat Slob
A great day for the good guys.

(Ed. -- WaPo reported this afternoon that the car dealership confirmed the ad was pulled.)

Quinnipiac - Casey Up By 12 Points

This is going to be a very sad week for two-term incumbent Republican Rick Santorum.

It started off with the Inky/Pew poll showing the floundering Virginia resident down by ten points, which came on the heals of two polls last week showing the faux Penn Hills resident down by 10 points and 7 points. Now comes the new Quinnipiac poll of likely voters showing Casey trouncing Pennsylvania's junior Senator 51-39% in a three-way race and 54-40% in a head-to-head match up. And it will not be ending there, also due out this week are polls from Strategic Vision and, my favorite, the Survey USA rankings of all United States Senators.

In August, Quinnipiac showed the spread at a mere six points, with Casey at 48% and Santorum at 42% among "likely voters" (Quinnipiac -- despite several requests -- has never said how they determine if a voter is likely to vote. Their cross-tabs do not show that they ask any of the series of questions usually designed to ferret out likely voters. While we are suspect of their "likely voter" claims, they are used here for comparison purposes. The spread among all respondents and likely voters is roughly the same, anyway.)

Quinnipiac was one of the rare polls over the last year which showed Santorum above 40%. Not any more.
"Sen. Rick Santorum's comeback momentum has been stopped dead in the water. Santorum's attack ads against Casey have failed to spark voters' support, and 50 percent of voters say the Senator does not deserve re-election," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
While we take issue with any claim that Santorum had any comeback momentum -- he has consistently been looking at the ass-side of 40% throughout this campaign -- it is clear that Casey's support is solidifying. Actually, it may be more correct to say that the anti-Santorum sentiment is solidifying:
Among likely voters who back Casey, 55 percent say their vote is mainly against Santorum, while 40 percent say their vote is mainly for the Democrat.
You can count your loyal correspondent amongst that 55 percent. (On November 8, we start looking for ways to replace Casey in Washington with a real Democrat. Guess we'll have to draft him to run for Governor.)

The Quinnipiac Poll found that only 38% of the multi-term Senator's constituents think he's been doing a good job -- everyone else thinks he sucks, or is too confused to make up their minds. On the other hand, Casey's favorables are going up, which surprises your truly, but is a good sign for the Favorite Son's favorite son.

Romanelli (4%), as we have long said, is having no impact and, in fact, is pulling support from twice as many Republicans (2%) as Democrats (1%), according to the Quinnipiac numbers.

Santorum is strongest in the Northwest (47-47%) and Central (48% Santorum - 41% Casey) which have the fewest numbers of voters. In heavily populated Allegheny County, Casey is leading Santorum with 57-38% and in Philly Casey is walking away with 75% support.

Santorum is no doubt sending his resume out to his friends on K Street this week.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Romanelli's Fate Rests with PA Supreme Court

As has already been widely reported (it having been announced on PCN right before the debate between Romanelli and Santorum), the Democrats were successful in challenging the signatures, gathered by Republican operatives and money, on Carl Romanelli's nominating petitions. A State Court decided today that Romanelli fell short of the required 67,000 signatures and ordered him off that ballot. The decision is being appealed.

Meanwhile, Romanelli is challenging the State Election Board's statutory interpretation which led to the 67,000-signature requirement, which Romanelli missed by about 9,000. An appeal from an adverse Commonwealth Court decision was filed in late August, and is proceeding apace before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with briefs due on Thursday this week.

If you've been paying attention, you know that minor parties in Pennsylvania need to submit petitions bearing the number of signatures equal to at least 2% of the highest vote-getter in the statewide election immediately preceding the general election for which they seek to nominate a candidate.

The Pennsylvania statute (25 P.S. Section 2911(b)) states, in pertinent part, as follows:
Where the nomination is for any office to be filled by the electors of the State at large, the number of qualified electors of the State signing such nomination paper shall be at least equal to two per centum of the largest vote cast for any elected candidate in the state at large at the last preceding election at which State-wide candidates were voted for.
The State Board designated the 2004 election of Casey as "the largest vote cast for any elected candidate in the state at large at the last preceding election at which State-wide candidates were voted for", leading to the 67,000+ signature requirement for this year's minor party candidates.

But, there was a statewide election in 2005 -- the judicial retention election of Justice Sandra Schultz Newman. She won retention with about 800,000 votes, meaning that Romanelli would need submit slightly less than 16,000 signatures. Based on today's ruling, Romanelli far exceeded that number of valid signatures.

The Commonwealth Court sided with Casey's party in rejecting Romanelli's argument and it is from that decision which Romanelli has now appealed. The Commonwealth Court ruled that a retention election was not an "election" within the meaning of the statute. Romanelli's argument to the Supreme Court is multi-faceted, but the central point is made obvious by this quote from his appeal:
Objectors to the Romanelli nomination papers argue that the Pennsylvania Election Code does not apply to the retention elections held in the Municipal Election or General Election. The absurdity of their position is exposed when taken to its logical conclusion. If the Election Code does not apply to retention elections then the prohibitions against stuffing the ballot box, 25 P.S.§ 3535 Repeat voting at elections, Bribery, 25 P.S. § 3539, Bribery at elections, among other things, are now perfectly legal with respect to judicial retention elections. This is hardly the legislative intent or judicial interpretation one would expect in a government of laws. Common sense has to prevail here.
From a reading of the statute, it is clear that the legislature did not draw any distinction between retention elections and any other statewide election. To rule in favor of Casey's party, the Commonwealth Court had to read that distinction into the law because a facial reading required a ruling in favor of Romanelli. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have to decide if it wishes to write the law or to simply apply it as the legislature wrote it. As my two readers know, I don't hold much faith that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will reach the correct result.

As a policy matter, I fail to understand why a Party who can gather 50,000 valid signatures can't get on the ballot. It seems awfully unDemocratic to require that many in the first place or to have someone thrown off who can get that many people to sign the petitions.

What Rick Santorum did here, in (however incompetently) funding and arranging the petitions drive was cynical, desperate and shameful. But there is enough shame to go around in this debacle.

(Thanks to Gary at Declarations for alerting me to the decision!)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Poll -- Casey up by 10

A new poll, released today, shows Democratic challenger Bob Casey leading Republican incumbent Rick Santorum by ten points among likely voters. The poll was conducted by Temple University for the Philadelphia Inquirer among 666 (nice touch) likely voters. Respondents gave Casey 49% support, Santorum was stuck below 40% again, at 39%, and Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli pulls in an insignificant 3%.

Even if Rick picks up all of the undecideds, he loses. More likely, as we move closer to election day, the undecideds will break towards Casey. Santorum is seeking his third term -- these voters know where he stands better than most of the people who live on their own street. When a multi-term incumbent is unable to make a solid case for himself a scant month before election day, an "undecided" vote is already a vote against the incumbent.

From the Republican faithful, you'll start hearing the myth about Santorum coming from behind. Don't let those talking points worry you -- at this point in his last reelection campaign, Santorum was trouncing Ron Klink, 43-24%. The challenger managed to pull in most of the undecideds over the last month of the campaign, ending up with 46% of the vote on election day in 2000.

As the Inquirer article points out, the last ten polls we've seen (which goes back to August 6th), give Casey an average lead of 9 points. Santorum has been looking at the underside of 40% virtually throughout this campaign. In the 25 public polls since April, Santorum has broken 40% on only six of them, and never by very much. There is no evidence that he has moved any Casey support to his side of the ledger and, with only 8% undecided at this point, he is unlikely to do so.

NOW it's time for the butter, Mabel!

The Fool on the Hill

I have been traduced.

Most of you who read this blog on a semi-regular basis (that would make it two people) are familiar with the Santorum Blog. It is officially unaffiliated with, but very supportive of, the floundering campaign by Virginia's third Senator to keep his seat.

It is run by AlexC, who is, to all appearances, making a real effort to bring some quality to that site. He provides a great deal of information about the latest buzz, on the news and opinion front, on issues related to the contest between Santorum and Casey. There are others on the staff, who contribute on an irregular basis, of differing levels of quality and rabidness, but none of whom present themselves in nearly an admirable way as Alex. Some of them are thoughtless and shrill in their cause. Those members of the crew pepper the Santorum Blog with unsupported assertions, unsourced "facts", and not infrequent ad hominem attack when refutation grounded in fact and logic lays beyond their grasp.

And so it is with this latest entry by one of the lesser minds on the Santorum Blog who sought to rush to the defense of our Great Decider from a post of mine that, interestingly enough, consisted largely of direct quotes from Commander Codpiece and absolutely no commentary from your ineloquent Slob.

The dust-up was occasioned by a series of quotes which I have been running in the "Howz That" sidebar for two or three weeks. Replacing them over the weekend, I saved them for posterity in this post (which was birthed mostly as an excuse to run this post).

What I learned about myself from this attack was remarkable. (As was the attack's headline, suggesting that any linkage between Bush and God was fearmongering. Leaving aside for the moment that I am of the devout opinion that any influence of religion in our government is something worthy of fear, for a far-right bushlapper to make the same connection is truly worthy of remark.)
I am "misquoting people and making stuff up" (my quotes were direct and linked to their sources).

It appears that I believe that "Bush is a Christofascist lunatic who . . . wants to kill everyone who doesn’t convert to Methodism". I haven't been able to find that argument in any of my posts, but I am subject to the periodic blackout, especially on weekends, so if anyone can help me find it . . . . ("Christofascist"?!)

Apparently, I don't do "the slightest bit of research". That's actually good to hear because in the morning I am going to call Lexis\Nexis and tell them they are going to have to eat that bill they sent me because obviously it wasn't me using their service. While I am at it, I might as well cancel my subscription to the service, that'll save me a nice bunch 'o bucks every month.
I had not realized just how an incompetent fraud I have been. And here I was going to the trouble of linking to my sources and researching them a few hours each post when apparently all I need to do to sustain my opinons is refer to the little voices in my head. Oh good, now I can stop taking that medication, too -- there's another couple hundred bucks a month saved!

There's more, too, and here's how I responded on the Santorum Blog site (from which I am getting even MORE hits thanks to this):

Well, thanks for paying attention and confirming that the quotes are embarassing to any rational person.

But nothing you say to refute them is correct.

You say “in order to help promote his and most hysterical liberals’ idea that Bush is a Christofascist lunatic who I guess wants to kill everyone who doesn’t convert to Methodism

I have never made any such claim and neither know nor care of the identities of the others with whom you desperately try to lump me. Of course, in keeping with the pattern of shrill denial, there are no links to the source material on which you rely.

You then say “he cites a pair of discredited Bush quotes“. Two lies here. One, I provided more than two quotes from Bush, the others you ignore, but more on that presently. The second lie, unsourced, as usual, that that the quotes have been discredited. To the contrary, despite repeated requests, the White House has refused to deny the quotes — nor confirm them — as the Washington Post reported here. This last cite ties in to your overarching lie — false, unsourced, allegations that I have misquoted, made things up, and not researched what I say. To the contrary, everything in MY post is sourced and the quotes are correct.

Thus, when you say “It’s easy to see how Abbas and Shaath just completely made these quotes up if you do the slightest bit of research. Not that the left would bother to double-check anything which is anti-Bush, but still.” You again fail to source the easy research you did. Instead, you rely simply on your own opinion, falsely presented as fact. But, here in the real world, we do not cite to the voices in your head.

Your statement about any claim that Bush said God wanted him to steal oil for Haliburton is simply bizarre. I never said anything like that (indeed I said nothing — I simply posted the quotes simpliciter, sans commentary). But, once again, you rely on misleading your reader to make a point.

Your statement that “Bush allegedly made these statements during a meeting with various Middle Eastern leaders on June 4, 2003, in Aqaba, Jordan“. Is likewise false, but necessary to set up your crushing blow: “Thanks to, we have a full transcript as well as a full audio clip from the meeting.

If you had bothered to read the reports, to which I linked as my source material, you would have learned that these comments were made in a private meeting among Bush, the Palestinian President and Palestinian Foreign Minister, for which we have only the — highly detailed — minutes of the Palestinians, which formed the basis of the reports that I cited. The White House has refused to release its memoranda on the meeting, has refused to deny the comments, and has refused to comment on the report (as the Washington Post article said).

Your comment “That’s just as bad as saying that God told you to kill Muslims” once again suggests something I never said. Of course, we are not given the link to your source for my supposed comment.

You suggest that it would be obvious why the Palestinians would make up the quotes (which the White House has refused to deny). But that statement is rather ignorant of the political situation. Here we have a President who has made clear his commitment to the re-establishment of a Palestinian state — which is the goal of the Palestinians. If the quotes were intended to place Bush in a poor light, what would the Palestinians gain from antagonizing the person who is supportive of their ultimate goal? It is hard to see who gains by the fabrication of the quote.

But what is revealing are the two quotes which you ignore — one from a group of Amish with whom the President met, in private, and the other from one of his closest friends:

“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
President Bush (July 2004). Here he was speaking with a group of “Old Order Amish”. Once again, no reason to suspect that a group of Amish men, women, and children, had anything to gain by fabricating this quote.

But then we have the comment from Bush’s very close personal friend which, as is the Amish quote, similar to and in the same vein as the (un-denied) quotes to the Palestinian leaders:

‘Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time’.
– Commerce Secretary Don Evans (April 2004)

These last two comments are entirely consistent with the thoughts expressed by the first two — this President is a man who actually believes that he has been divinely selected. That consistency of thought process, and the White House refusal to deny the Palestinian minutes of the private meeting, as well as the lack of any profit to the source of fabrication, led me to conclude, after my research, that I had a legitimate basis for posting the quotes.

Of course, what you completely ignore is the much more important theme — that when a man believes, as completely as this President so obviously does, that he has the invisible man in the sky behind him, that “God speaks through me”, he not only has little reason to question what he does, his theology would suggest that questioning what he does would be near heresey.

And that is the dangerous situatiuon which my six quotes, posted without commentary, intended to convey.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your facts. And you are less entitled to falsely and without basis disparage the integrity of someone with whom you disagree. But that last point is one far lost on this Administration and many of their blind faithful. Thankfully, today those are a small minority.

I recall a time when Bill Buckley would sit down with people who disagreed with him, nearly every week, and have a rational, thought-provoking, and respectful discussion (well, except for that unfortunate encounter with Gore Vidal). The ability of people to disagree honesty and respectfully seems to be on the wain, and that's unfortunate. It is a development not unrelated to the alacrity with which critics of this Adminstration's policies ( even if calling them "policies" gives them a false implcation of resulting from careful thought), are so quick to be tagged as disloyal and compared to Nazi sympathesizers.

Back when I was a practicing attorney, an older lawyer wisely advised me that, if your opponent is a fool and the argument empty, never say that. Instead, he told me, skewer them with fact and reason -- lead the court to "discover" the vacuity of the argument for itself. If they discover it for themselves, they will own it forever.

Of course, that advice never works if you are the fool.

UPDATE (09/25/06): As if attempting to prove that he is indeed the fool, John Lewandowski has posted an update on his main post which is typical of his retreat from truth, logic, and fairness. The intended impact is to discourage his readership to actually read my response to his lies:
Naturally I would forget to mention that all of this is quite similar to what Santorum’s critics are doing to him with his book, “It Takes a Family”. If Bush and Santorum are so evil, why do they need to be attacked with years-old quotes, second-hand alleged “quotes”, and out-of-context distortions of what they actually said or wrote?
The Slob defends the integrity of the second-hand Abbas and Shaath quotes in the comments. His acceptance of the suspect quotes seems to be based upon a misreading of his sources and a general misunderstanding of Christianity. Well, I guess we really shouldn’t expect a leftist to understand the Christian faith, so we can let that slide.
The first paragraph is just silly (as if the whole thing weren't) -- Santorum is running for reelection based on his record of bushlapping. He and Bush are issues in this election. I guess this clown would have us ignore what they have said. The remainder of that paragraph once again falsely says that something was misquoted, without a link to any source showing that to be so (the voices in his head approach to proof).

The second gaf is yet another astounding descent into intentional dishonesty to hide personal failure. What I questioned was the source of this fool's claim that the comments were discredited. After I pointed out that Bush had refused to deny them when given the opportunity, I guess the best he can do is to now change the argument to yet another false claim. (Can anyone say "WMD"?)

Finally, once again, I said nothing about christianity (and remind you that I said nothing in my original post -- I merely posted the quotes without commentary) -- I was talking about a President who has said -- and has been quoted by close personal friends as saying -- that god selected him the way god selected Moses, and that he is doing god's bidding. As if thinking that he is talking to an invisibile man in the sky wasn't enough of a worry when the man has his finger on the button, Bush not only believes that god speaks to him, but that he is doing god's work.

As I mentioned, he posted this non-update as a response to things I didn't say, not in reply to my post, but on the front page. Obvioulsy the intention was to discourage his fellow travellers from reading the detailed response. Not only is this John Lewandowski person a liar, he's also a wimpering coward.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

But THIS time . . . .

"President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."

— Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., as chairman of Senate Armed Services airland forces subcommittee, March 24, 1999, referring to the UN-NATO efforts to eliminate the "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo.

With God on His Side

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job."
-- President Bush (July 2004)

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."
-- President Bush (June 2003)

"I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq . . .' And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it."
-- President Bush to Palestinian Leaders (June 2003)

'Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time'.
-- Commerce Secretary Don Evans (April 2004)

"You never ask questions when God's on your side."
-- Bob Dylan (April 1963)

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."
-- Seneca the Younger (5 BC - 65 AD)

A Little Bird Told Me Something Worth Passing Along


This week we suggest you take a look at Blue Wren.

This wee bird's search for the truth -- and gas money -- is worth more than a passing glance.

Blue Wren offers intelligent commentary on matters as diverse as dealing with turning 50, death by natural gas, the Zen of Coffee, and a search for lost time, this one triggered by a stray hair in the beans instead of a small French cake, which may bring a tear to your eye as it did mine.

But mostly she writes with grace and insight on the absurdities and unfairness of the nightmare which the Bush Administration has brought to bear. She skillfully skewers Codpiece, as she has taken to referring to President Bush, and the mosh which passes as his policies, and brings a little more truth to light each time.

She writes like I wish I could and reaffirms for me that -- despite the mass of pickup trucks on my local roads sporting Bush stickers -- I am not alone. From her introductory post:
I'm Wren. I'm an American, a disgruntled Democrat, a veteran, a Mom, a wife, an artist and a journalist, a non-believer. I've never been political. But I can't sit silent and watch while America is taken over by the religious right and our democracy and great Constitution are shredded away by inches.

I'm deeply worried about America. I don't want to see the day come when we find ourselves, by virtue of our silence, powerless subjects of an imperial theocracy. I have a lot of questions and not much in the way of answers. But I have a sharp, questing mind and increasingly, feel compelled to speak out.

And so, I'll blog.
Indeed, she does. And for a long time, we hope.

From Jack Ohman (h/t to Bob Geiger):

Friday, September 22, 2006

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה

Rasmussen Releases Latest Survey

Rasmussen released the results of hte latest PA-SEN Poll to the public today. Previously it had only been available to Premium Mebers, who leaked the results, which we reported on here. This is part of the Rasmussen analysis (crosstabs are reserved for Premium Members):

In August, the Rasmussen Reports election poll showed Democratic candidate Bob Casey, Jr. leading Republican Senator Rick Santorum by just 48% to 40%. It was the closest the candidates had been all year and many wondered if it marked the beginning of a surge that would enable Santorum to draw even closer.

So far the answer is No. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows very similar results; with Casey leading 49% to 39%.

Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli continues to attract 5% support and it's unlikely his slice of the electorate will grow much larger.

The two major-party candidates recently debated for the first time, clashing over the war in Iraq, pay raises for politicians in Pennsylvania and DC, and abortion. Many independent observers say Casey, not exactly renowned as a speaker, surpassed low expectations and was at least on a par with the more fiery incumbent. Some argue that Casey won the debate.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) view Santorum "very favorably," 30% "very unfavorably." For Casey it's 19% very favorable, 18% very unfavorable; only 4% are still "unsure."

The rest of it is here.

Rendell Trashes Santorum Tactic

Important New Rasmussen Polls Get it Right!

The last couple of days have seen the polls coming in fast and furious. Rasmussen has released the results of yet two more new and extremely important polls on an issue of vital national concern.

They are polls which I have scrutinized VERY carefully and determined that the respondents got it 100% correct. Actually. these polls were released at the end of August, but somehow I missed them.

The first poll reveals that, in the considered and respected opinion of baseball fans, the Yankees were the number one selection of baseball fans to win this year's World Series.

The second poll shows that 52% of baseball fans expect the Yankees to "Meet the Mets" (cute, but the Yankees don't need a ditty to attract fans) in the 2006 World Series, setting us up for the second Subway Series in this young century.

More important -- a majority of those fans understand that the Yankees will crush the overachievers from Queens ("Queens?! What kind of baseball team comes from a town named "Queens"?!), again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More PA-Sen Polls -- Casey Lead Firm

Rasmussen has released the latest PA-SEN poll, but only for premium members. Apparently Bob Geiger is one, or knows someone who is a premium member. He tells us that Rasmussen's September 2006 Poll calls it Casey by ten points over Santorum, 49-39%, and features the same numbers.

What's it all mean? Geiger agrees with us:
Santorum is toast. Even if the Santorum team Photoshops a picture of Casey marrying a gay couple, while performing an abortion, with a burning flag in the background -- and I think we know, with Republicans, that's not out of the question -- this seat goes to the Democrats on November 7.
PoliticsPA has a report on a new IssuesPA/Pew Poll which it says was released today showing Casey up by 21 points, 52-31%.

Curiously, based on a poll said to show Casey with a much larger advantage, PoliticsPA thinks the race might still be up for grabs:
Among the three-quarters of registered voters who say they are “absolutely certain” to vote, Casey’s margin actually increases by two points (55 percent to 31 percent).

The Senate race remains more “up-for-grabs” than the polls indicate, as Casey has yet to seal the deal with voters. Only one-third of Casey supporters support him strongly (17 percent of all voters), while more than two-thirds are not strongly committed to his candidacy (36 percent of all voters). That leaves some opportunity for Santorum to close the gap, and a high percentage of voters remain undecided.
I think that's overly optimistic for the incumbent. Santorum is seeking election to a third term and simply does not have a strong case to make for himself. When a multi-term incumbent's two main strategies are to bring in a siphon (Romanelli) and to weaken Casey support with attacks, AND when he is struggling to stay above 40% within 50 days of election day -- he is fighting a lost cause.

Santorum's support will begin to crumble (even more) and become more fragile the closer we get to election day. He will lose by double digits.

But don't worry, he'll be fine. He'll make more money at Haliburton anyway.

Rendell's Approval Remains High

Here's why Lynn Swann isn't getting any traction -- the latest SurveyUSA numbers for Governors are out and Ed Rendell is in the top twenty with an impressive approval rating of 60%. That mark is near the 62% approval rating he scored in May, his best rating this year. His disapprovals are down to near their lowest level this year also -- at 37% in September, he's only one point off his low of 36%, hit a few times this year.

Check Your Voter Registration

From today's in-box, a note from the folks at with some useful links -- check your voter registration for accurracy at their site:

Republicans stole the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 through dozens of dirty tricks - before, during, and after Election Day - to make sure Democratic votes did not count.

It's time for Democratic voters to fight back! was created to give Democratic voters the tools we need to make sure our votes count - so Republicans never steal another election!

1. Register My Vote

Are you registered? Are you sure? Your recent application may have been lost or rejected - or your past registration may have been purged.

"Google" your registration to find out!

If you are not registered to vote, register here

In 2000, Florida illegally purged 57,000 voters - mostly Democrats
2. Cast My Vote

Avoid long lines and hackable machines - vote absentee (Rules vary by state)


No, I am not referring to their clinching their 9th straight Division Title last night.

They have won the contract for the AAA franchise in Moosic, PA (just north of Wilkes-Barre). Since my business brings me to Wilkes-Barre quite often, and certainly more than it brings me to the Yanks' former AAA home in COlumbus, O., this is exciting news, hot off the wire. They beat out crosstown rival Mets, who were looking to move their AAA franchise closer to home from its current spot in Virginia. It's not the first time they beat the Mets this year and, if it is another Subway Series, it will not be the last!!

Latest Keystone Poll Has Casey Increasing Lead

The September Keystone Poll shows Democratic contender Bob Casey Jr. increasing his lead over incumbent Republican Rick Santorum to seven points. The poll, taken September 13-16, 2006, shows Casey beating Santorum 45% to 38%, with Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli taking 5%. The August Keystone Poll had it 44-39-4 for Casey-Santorum-Romanelli.

The Poll was taken after Santorum began running his scandalous and misleading attack advertisement against Casey and following over a month of heavy Santorum advertising buys across the Commonwealth. Sanotrum's blitz appears to have had no positive effect on his standing in the polls, with the incumbent firmly entrenched at or below the 40% mark.

Also having no effect on this race is Green Party candidate Romanelli. He is on the ballot thanks to the financial and logistical support of Santorum faithful. The Santorum campaign encouraged their followers to give money and time to the Green Party petition drive. The floundering farrr-right-wing Republican had hopes of the liberal Romanelli pulling enough votes away from the right-leaning Casey to give the Senator a shot. That didn't work, either. The latest Keystone Poll puts the race not far from where it was last summer, when the June Keystone Poll put Casey in the lead, 44-37%, with 19% undecided.

Keystone reports that 63% of respondents say that they have made up their minds and are certain of their support. Of the 37% who say that they might change their minds before election day, 14% are leaning towards Casey, 19% Santorum, and 5% Romanelli. I guess the remainder are hopelessly clueless.

As, it appears, is the Senator. Despite his heavy advertising on the immigration issue, the Keystone Poll finds that only 5% of respondents view that as the most important issue this year, behind Iraq, the economy, terrorism, health care, and "something else". Santorum's fervent support for the Bush war and economic policies obviously leave Pennsylvania voters cold. In this latest Keystone Poll, the multiterm Senator's unfavorable ratings are the highest they have ever been since Keystone began polling the Senator. Thirty-seven percent of Pennsylvanians have an unfavorable view of Virginia-based Santorum, with only 36% saying they have a favorable view of him. In June 2005, when the Poll results were about the same between Casey and Santorum, 42% had a favorable view and only 26% had a negative opinion of the job their junior Senator was doing.

While the Senator is making no headway getting voters to come over to the dark side, Casey is not ramping up his poll numbers, either. The Senator is stuck below 40% because his far-right-wing policies are so well known and his joined-at-the-hip support for the President firmly rejected. Casey is the obverse of that coin -- he isn't known and he isn't going to great lengths to make himself known. This gives the Senator his opening and his only, desperate hope -- if he can't make them love Rick Santorum, maybe he can make them hate Bob Casey.

Back in June, 2005, the Keystone Poll reported that 40% of respondents had a favorable view of Casey, 9% unfavorable. An incredible 51% didn't know -- incredible because Casey had been on the statewide ballot every second year for the last decade. In the latest poll, Casey's favorable rating has shrunk to 29%, the people having a favorable view of the challenger has risen to 22%, with 49% still not knowing how they feel about him.

With Santorum fading, expect to see more of Santorum spreading venom against Casey in the final weeks of his final Senatorial reelection campaign.

In the last 6 to 8 weeks, the Senator has reportedly spent away all of his cash lead over Casey, with the result that his position in the race has worsened, as has his favorables. Although there is over a month until election day, only an unusual event will turn this around for the Senator and we are now expecting Casey to win by double digits on election day.

In the Governor's Race, Rendell is still mopping the floor with Swann, leading 52-34% with 74% saying that their minds are made up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Suvery says . . . .

"Bush still sucks!" At least in the opinion of 59% of Americans and 60% of Pennsylvanians, according to today's Survey USA poll results. With only 1% of Pennsylvanians unable to make up their minds -- the lowest figure all year -- 60% of Pennsylvanians disapprove of the decisions of this decider. This is up a point from last month, while his approval rating of 39% is down a point from the August tally.

Playing with the numbers, 52% of Pennsylvanians identifying themselves as regular church goers thinks this President is doing a lousy job -- that's a two-point "gain" from a month ago. In the largely rural "T", it has been over a year since the President has had a positive ranking from those voters. In July, 2005, 49% of voters in the T approved of GWB's job performance, 48% gave him a negative score. Apart from that, the one-third of the state's voters in the "T" -- generally considered more conservative -- have regularly, month-in and month-out, declared their disdain for the competence of the Republicans in control of Washington.

This is not good news for Virginia's third Senator who has been a loyal supporter of Bush's failure in the Middle East and elsewhere. He has, indeed, supported the President more than 98% of the time. His numbers should be out in a couple of days. Last month was the first time this year that Rick Santorum did not end up as one of the ten worst Senators (he was in a 4-way tie for 83rd), as rated by their own constituents -- including a run from April to July as THE worst Senator in the nation. I guess if he came out as "only" the 75th worst Senator in America, he'd see that as an improvement.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Romanelli Gets PA Supreme Court Review

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear the appeal of Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli. The appeal is limited to the issue whether the "2005 Judicial Retention Election or the 2004 General Election constitutes 'the last preceding election in which State-wide candidates were voted for' under 25 P.S. § 2911(b)."

The Supreme Court did not set an argument date, but did direct the clerk to set an expedited briefing schedule.

(h/t Politics PA)

Romanelli on PCN -- See it Now.

Green Party candidate for the US Senate, Carl Romanelli, was on the PCN-TV call in show on September 12. I missed it live and haven't had a chance to review the entire program yet. If you'd like to watch it, you can do so here. I'm not sure how much longer it will be available; PCN doesn't keep their stuff up through the entire election cycle.

I'm hoping Larry Smar will watch it, since he thinks Santorum and Romanelli stand for the same thing. (Okay, I know he doesn't truly believe that -- but that's the lie he's promoting. I'm not sure if it would be worse if he was really stupid enough to believe that, or if he thinks other people are stupid enough to believe it.)

(PS -- If you'd like to see PCN leave its election-related coverage up though the election, please join me in suggesting that to them here.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blog o' the Week - Lehigh Valley Ramblings

This week, we're suggesting that you take a look at Lehigh Valley Ramblings. The proprietor 'o that blogspot is Bernie O'Hare, who claims to be a former lawyer and a current title searcher in, well, the Lehigh Valley. Bernie makes his home in Nazareth.

His blog does exactly what one looks to blogs to do -- he covers the courthouse and political scene in his corner of the universal with a pleasing mix of information, insight, and crankiness. He skewers his subjects with a clear eye and sharp tounge.

Lehigh Valley Ramblings is on my daily reading list and you just may find yourself making it a habit as well.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Romanelli - I'll "Clean Casey's Clock" in Debates

Casey campaign chief Larry Smar says Casey won't take part in the debates because Romanelli "is a representative of the Santorum campaign." Romanelli, for his part, says Casey is “not policy-equipped and he’s a terrible debater . . . .Why on earth would he want to go up against me? Because I’ll clean his clock!”

Smar's comment is (take your pick) silly, sophomoric, a lie, cynical. Romanelli makes a couple of good points in his. I can't recall any debate in his career in which Casey came out on top -- and his clock was cleaned in the primary (worse in the two primary debates for which he showed than in the ones for which he stayed at a fundraiser in Chicago, or California, or wherever he was hiding from his opponents).

It is inappropriate for Casey to continue to duck debates. Romanelli is a candidate and deserves to participate. Casey should stop his tiresome whining about how Romanelli became a candidate and just get on with the race. Santorum's placement of Romanelli on the ballot was the cynical, inappropriate, and desperate action of a losing candidate. Casey's cynical, inappropriate, and desperate attempts to avoid debating Santorum and Romanelli pegs him as a loser, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Friend of Rick's Sits in Jail

Rick Santorum wants people to judge Bob Casey by his supporters. He's recently run an advertisement featuring donors to Casey who are under investigation for various degrees of alleged wrongdoing -- all occurring after they donated to Casey. Santorum's slimy ad doesn't mention that all of the donations were years ago -- in prior Casey campaigns; that one of the men has been dead for two years; or that two of them also gave to Santorum.

So, we thought it appropriate to take a look at some of Rick's Friends, since, according to Santorum, we should judge him by their character.

Here's another one. John Rigas, as slimy and crooked as they come. He founded Aldephia Communications. He and his son (the apple falling not far from the road) were convicted in 2004 in a multiBILLION-dollar fraud which resulted in the destruction of Aledphia Cable. The Rigas Crime Family was found guilty on 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

They had been charged in 2002 with, among other things, conspiring to hide $2.3 billion in Adelphia debt, stealing $100 million, and lying to investors about the company's financial condition. The Rigases had effectively used Adelphia as their personal piggy bank to pay for luxury condos and a golf course, to cover personal investment losses, and to pump over $175,000.00 into their personal PAC -- the Adelphia Communications Corporation PAC.

The senior Rigas got 15 years in a federal pen; his spawn, 20.

Pretty unsavory clan, these Rigases.

But not too unsavory for Rick Santorum. He's gratefuuly shovelled about $15,000 of the Rigas PAC money into his pockets -- including $5,000.00 in this election cycle. Amazingly, the Adelphia PAC is still doling out the Rigas money (almost all of its funds came from the Rigases before they were indicted and the PAC has not received any new contributions for a few years).

And Rick Santorum, knowing that that money was stolen from Adelphia in a collapse which left it's investors -- large and small -- holding the bag, gleefully accepts the Rigas largess. Imagine that, Rick's takes money from convicted felons -- the very money they were convicted of stealing.

And that's not all, folks.

The Rigases also threw over $40,000 into the National Cable & Telecom PAC before the feds caught up with them -- and half of that money went to none other than Our Rick.

Yes, as Rick's hero says, 'Hypocrisy is good for society'. Well, for High Society at least.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Friends of Rick Santorum

Since Rick Santorum thinks you should be judged by the people who have suppported you in the past, we're going to start a series of posts about Rick's Friends. Here's one, and now another:

Former Santorum Aides Charged in FEC Ethics Complaint

(Ed. Note: This is a story we first ran on May 21. We're rerunning it now in honor of Santorum Inc's most recent descent into desperation.)

Two former aides to Rick Santorum have been charged with multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act in connection with their PAC and contributions, including to Santorum's campaign. In a five-count complaint filed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW"), Santorum's aides are alleged to have violated disclosure requirements, campaign contribution limits, PAC contribution limits, and solicitation regulations.

In February, 2001, John Dick and Joseph Kuklis, formed the lobbying company, GSP Consulting Corp. (GSP), to assist technology companies, non profit organizations and commercial real estate developers identify, chase and secure sources of government funding. Dick has deep ties to Santorum. Immediately before forming GSP, Dick was a Deputy Campaign manager for Santorum's 2000 re-election campaign. Kuklis was Deputy State Director for the same Santorum campaign.

GSP operates out of the same office building as Santorum's Pittsburgh operations and has managed to secure for its clients some $35 million in appropriations, according to an April 2006 report by the Philadelphia Inquirier.

CREW is a progressive not-for-profit with a history of filing ethics complaints against some of the more excessive or outrageous practices of (mostly-Republican) members of Congress. It was formed in 2001 by Melanie Sloan, a former aide to Democratic Representative John Conyers and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.

(Ed. ps: Now, what does this story and the new Santorum advertisement remind me of? Oh, yeah, that's right:

"[H]ypocrisy can often be a social good.” -Rick Santorum, It Takes a Family, p. 280)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Abbott and Costello Take to the Road

Get ready, Pennsylvania, the odd couple of Keystone politics is planning a road trip. Carol Romanelli, who never had a viewing from the QEFTSG fellas, claims that he and Your Rick are taking to the streets.

"We will travel from Erie to Philadelphia and everywhere in between," Romanelli said. "The senator has assured me he will go forward in debate, even in the absence of Bob Casey's willingness to participate."

But not so fast, I feel a qualification coming . . . .

"Sen. Santorum looks forward to joining with Mr. Romanelli and Mr. Casey for a series of debates between now and Election Day," Davis said, adding that the details are still being determined.

(h/t to Santorum Blog.)

And, be sure to check out their offical home page.

OT: Advice to PA PoliBlogs (and others)

FIRST, no matter HOW enticing or cool it looks


Google has messed with the data organization on the feeds and many third parties are unable to read them. BloggerHelp ignores pleas and message board postings on the subject. Since I made the change, LeftyBlogs can't read my feed. Technorati had problems as well, but they have a larger force than LeftyBlogs and were able to make the adjustments. Others have had problems such as blogs disappearing; archive links no longer working; problems posting comments; problems signing in; and difficulty receivign comments from others. (Meanwhile, anyone who knows of an alternative to LeftyBlogs, lemme know. I am not holding my breath for Google to fix their crap and LeftyBlogs' one-man show seems a bit o'erwhelmed by all this.)

Second, BlogRolling is having trouble seeing updates on many blogs. Their Help people have been responsive and are trying to figure it out. In the meantime, you might want to consider manually pinging BlogRolling periodically (here). That way, you'll get noticed when folks like me who have their Blogroll set to move recent updates to the top 'o the list.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled mayhem . . . .

With God on Our Side

"George W. Bush says he decided to seek the presidency only after hearing about how God chose Moses to lead his people to the promised land." -- God is Their Co-Pilot, by Jake Tapper, Salon.Com

One I Missed

In doing my overview of how various blogs treated the fifth year anniversary, I missed one of the best. It comes from a non-political blog, which is perhaps why I overlooked it that day. It is smart, funny, moving, and oh, so true.

From Liam McEneaney:


I was watching Meet the Press Sunday morning, and Tim Russert was interviewing Dick Cheney, and to give Russert full credit, he was not letting Cheney slide. In fact, Russert might be the only person in the press who I've seen interview Bush and Cheney and not give them softballs or easy questions. And I think that the reason he can get away with it is that the core constituency that Bush and Cheney should be afraid to alienate are not spending their Sunday mornings watching Meet the Press.

I have to say that watching Cheney cemented exactly the thing I admire most about him. I'd tried to figure it out for years, and it became crystal clear: He is not afraid to be what he is; an openly evil puppetmaster pulling the strings. I used to watch Disney cartoons, wondering why no one suspected the main villain was up to no good, what with their wearing dark capes, laughing maniacally at the slightest provocation, and singing songs about how much better life would be once the hero was dead and the world was under their thumb.

In fact, if I was going to make a movie about a bent, twisted villain super-genius bent on world conquest, I would cast Cheney in a heartbeat. You know, like the kind of man who shoots his friend in the face and gets the victim to issue a public apology for embarrassing him. The kind of man who could watch the biggest terrorist attack on US soil in history, and immediately start the wheels spinning, figuring how to turn that into an excuse to attack Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with it.

And the fact that he makes no bones about who he is is the masterstroke. If he had any kind of positive charisma, he would be the most dangerous man in America, if not the world. Instead, he's a cantankerous, contemptuous cesspit of sarcasm and bilious spittle who can go on a show like Meet the Press and be confronted with his lies, and not only show no remorse, but lie about the fact that he had lied, denying it with the fervor of a six year-old, with his hand in the cookie jar, denying that he was trying to eat a cookie.

At one point, Russert showed videotape of Cheney lying which Cheney had just lied about not having done, and Cheney immediately started adding a third lie to the mix about how the first two lies were invalid.

Cheney's at the point where I would immediately suspect him, even if he said something I wholeheartedly agreed with. If Dick Cheney went on national television and said, "The President and I are firmly against baby-eating," my first thought would be, "What's he hiding on the baby-eating issue? Do babies really taste like chocolate? Are they an alternative energy source?"

Sorry, I really try to keep politics off of this blog, but I've been surprised at how depressed I've been this whole weekend leading up to the fifth anniversary of September 11th, and to see this smug arrogant piece of left-over Nixon White House garbage telling me that his underlings hadn't spent a lot of time linking Saddam hussein to the falling of the World Trade Center makes me as sick as their use of the September 11th tragedy as political currency in the first place.

It's like the murderer who uses his lousy childhood as an excuse for his crimes. Ugh. Sometimes I expect Cheney to turn into a bat and scream, "SO LONG FOOLS! NOW I SHALL FEED ON THE BLOOD OF VIRGINS!" as he flaps off into the sunrise.

My point is, if you disagree with me, good. Please persuade me that I live in a world where the Bush administration's actions over the last five years are rational, well-reasoned, and ethical. That thousands of young Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis didn't die in vain. That global warming is a myth, that the economy is rebounding, that the evidence of my senses are completely wrong.

In other words, I need to get laid. Okay, I get it.

Slate Senate Scorecard Shifts Slightly to Republicans

Slate's latest analysis of the Senate races sees 46 going or leaning Democratic, 50 Republican, and four tossups. Yesterday, Rasmussen identified six tossups, including Tennessee and Ohio. In Tennessee, Slate has it leaning Republican, but with momentum to Democrat Harold Ford. Slate puts Ohio in the Leaning Dem category. They see Pennsylvania as solid Dem, giving Casey a double-digit advantage (50% - 38%) based on their 5-poll average.

Slate excludes internet polls from its polling analysis. This means that two most recent Zogby Polls are not included in their 5-poll average. Regardless, the results would be the same. As the Pollster polling data indicates, including the internet polls, the 5-poll average still results in a double-digit lead for Casey, 41%-40%.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rasmussen Balance of Power -- Tossup

Rasmussen's latest Senate Balance of Power Report was released today. With Maria Cantwell (D) now polling with a double-digit lead, Rasmussen has moved Washington from the Leans Democratic to Democratic column. By Rasmussen's count, 49 States are in their Republican/Leans Republican tally, 45 are listed as Democratic/Leans Democratic, and six are tossups ---Tennessee, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri, and Montana. Rasmussen places Pennsylvania in the Leans Democratic category. (Rhode Island's primary is today (get the results here).) For a change in control of the Senate, the Democrats would have to win Pennsylvania (the only "Leans Dem" Republican seat), and each of the tossups.

Casey Lead Down in New Zogby Poll

Among the things we ignored on yesterday's anniversary . . . .

A Zogby online poll taken over the holiday weekend shows Santorum's support virtually unchanged from a month ago. However, Casey's numbers drop from 51% to 47%. The MOE is 3.3, potentially putting this race at a virtual dead heat -- according to Zogby, at least. (Statisticians will also tell you that, aside from the dead heat possiblity, the MOE could well mean that the "real" numbers are 50-40.)

I am guessing that there is some skewing in here due to the holiday weekend and (perhaps) increased involvement of Republicans in the Zogby survey. Crosstabs are not available, but Zogby has taken the unusual (for them) step of using spot telephone checks to verify information provided by the online poll takers. According to the Zogby special methodology report issued with its news release, they attempted to contact about 2% of the online respondents.

I am on their online interactive polling list and was invited to participate in this poll. I did not because, well, it was the holiday weekend and I just didn't make the time. But, it is unlikely that I would have given them a correct phone number (if they asked for it) when I registered. It was even more unlikely that I would have been around to answer the phone over the Labor Day weekend (unless they paged me at Yankee Stadium). I suspect that I am not unusual in that regard.

As to increased Republican involvement, I have no evidence, only anecdotal reports of solicitation of conservatives to participate in electronic polls. This should not affect the polling if Zogby correctly adjusts the results to properly balance the results to reflect the Commonwealth electorate at large. But, since the WSJ/Zogby polls don't give the essential data, we have no way of knowing.

As a general matter, I don't have any less faith in the accuracy of interactive online polls. Many of the allegations about the efficacy of online polling were also asserted against telephone polls. However, I am always troubled when the crosstabs are not provided, as here. It is also curious that Zogby took the additional step of issuing a special methodology report with the press release. It suggests to me that there is an issue with the polls which they are trying to address.

These results don't trouble me terribly. Santorum has not made any meaningful progress in his numbers since the start of the campaign. Although he has moved from polling in the upper 30s to the low 40s, he can't win with 43%.

Not to put too fine a point on it, if Santorum were the challenger, I'd say he was in good shape. But he is a multi-term incumbent. He is tied at the ideological hip with the President, who is given very low marks in Pennsylvania. His personal favorable/unfavorable has been the worst, or near the worst, of all US Senators for over a year. A huge chunk of Pennsylvanians see this country as headed in the wrong direction -- which is the very direction in which Rick Santorum has been going. Finally, Santorum has eeked out an entire 1% increase in his polling numbers after reportedly blowing several millions of dollars on an intensive early advertising buy -- wiping out his cash advantage for the rest of the run in the process. Mabel, keep that butter handy.

That said, Casey had best soon figure out why he isn't wiping the floor with Santorum.

Monday, September 11, 2006


From Firedoglake -- How Did We Get from 9/11 to Iraq?:

From Dependable Renegade, Up on the Roof:
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in my apartment on the border of Chelsea and Greenwich Village, reading my email before going out for a run down to Battery Park. I was in the middle of returning a message when I heard the scream of plane engines overhead. As a New Yorker, you tend to tune out most of the sounds of the city, but this was so loud and so close that I thought, "this can't be good." (more)
Shakespeare's Sister:
I've been sitting here thinking exactly what to say about the five-year anniversary of 9/11, and I realized there's nothing I could say about how I'm really feeling that wouldn't be crass. The truth is, I'm angry. I'm angry that it happened, I'm angry about the immediate response, I'm angry about the long-term response, both domestically and abroad, I'm angry that there are people who would happily do the same thing again, and I'm angry that my feelings make me, in the eyes of the administration, an abettor of terrorism. I've been angry every single day for the last five years, and today is no different.

And that's really all I can say.
Remembering the Trifecta, at The Agonist, who dug up an older story to remind us all:
. . . . Professional stand-up comedians know that Sept. 11 jokes are radioactive. Not even the bravest have tried to turn the deaths of some 3,000 people into a laughing matter. But President Bush has forged ahead anyway. Bush has now been telling the same, spectacularly tasteless joke to a variety of mostly Republican audiences as part of his stock stump speech . . . .Bush appears to give "trifecta" a sort of rueful, ironic meaning. But therein also lies the morbid edge: After all, Bush -- who in the weeks preceding the tragedy faced mounting questions about his ability as well as his legitimacy, all of which vanished afterward -- is possibly the only American for whom Sept. 11 was indeed a stroke of incredible good fortune. However, the real problem with the joke is that it is a complete falsehood. (read it all)
Joe Bagent on Madmen and Sedatives:
. . . . Some days however, change does seem to be afoot, as it certainly must be, given that change is the world's only constant. A majority of Americas now disapprove of the war in Iraq. Just three years ago when I started writing from this town's taverns and churches, working people therein absolutely loved George Bush. Now they have returned to their normal state of political apathy, seldom speaking of Bush, but with one difference -- they no longer approve of his war, and express disapproval generally in the form of grumbling. They grumble because television has given them permission to do so, through its constant touting of polling results expressing "dissatisfaction" with the war. Being "dissatisfied" with something, a war in this case, is more in accordance with their programming as consumers, not citizens. They will never get permission to be really pissed off, much less pissed off enough to burn anything down. . . . (experience the whole thing)
Firestarter5 says it with a bumpersticker (which Blogger will not let me upload at the moment), and Blue Wren in verse.

John Micek on where he was, and where we have gone since then:
. . . .But there in the sadness and the silence, we vividly remember thinking that there was a quiet hope -- that this might finally be the opportunity for us to get it together as a species and transcend the petty (and ultimately meaningless) differences that separate us.

Of course, there were those who felt otherwise -- as we've since seen.
And this morning, we wake to a nation -- and a world -- that's as polarized as it's ever been.

We use artificial labels (gay/straight, liberal/conservative, Christian/non-Christian, Republican/Democrat, legal immigrant/illegal immigrant) to define ourselves away from others, instead of recognizing all that we share -- notably, common DNA, our hope in our children, and, of course, the fact that we're all stuck on this rock whether we want to be or not.

So, instead of remembering the sadness of that day this morning, we're instead going to remember the hope we felt in the quiet that came after it, and the opportunity we had to finally get things right.

And we will pray that we somehow find our way back to it.
Because if we don't, then those deaths will have truly been in vain. . . . (there's more)
Ol' Froth wonders, as do we all, Where's Osama?

The Rittenhouse Review on why their phones will go unanswered today:
I tire now of those who want me, and us, to remember where we where then. I'm sorry, but it doesn't matter where I was then, and the same holds for the vast majority of us. Look, if you weren't in the World Trade Center -- trying to get the hell out -- or in the Pentagon or on one of the planes that crashed, or were one of the first/second/third responders to those sites, or you lost your spouse/partner/parent/child there, really, what difference does it make where we were? You lost, I lost, they lost. Most important: They -- the They, they -- lost. They are dead. (Read it all)
PSoTD on The Saddest Day of the Year:
We mourn the loss of so many innocent souls on September 11. But as time goes on, it feels like we're mourning the loss of our country's health as well. We shouldn't accept it as permanent. We have to find a way to get better as a nation. What we're doing is not working. After five years, we have to start trying some new strategies. And in order to do that, we have to accept new leaders. Our nation, more than anything, needs hope again. Today it seems that hope is flickering, an old candle greatly in need of replacement. We need hope that shines brightly like a roaring bonfire, beckoning all to warm themselves at the edge. We need leaders that can inspire such hope. (There's more)
Bernie simply suggests that we Google "failure". As do I.

I Live in Delaware County suggests viewing "9/11: Press for Truth". As do I.