Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Many apologies to those who have visited the blog in recent days and found nothing new since my half-baked and mostly discredited electoral analysis hit the wire. I stand by my predictions, but there are enough contradictory polls out there to make me nervous, I'll admit.

In any case, I have nothing much to say today, but hopefully I will have a new article out on DU in the next couple of days. No word from the editors yet, but I expect it to get in. It's not about any of the things I promised it would be about, but you're used to that, I guess.

Selah.

Friday, June 25, 2004

OK, so blogspot is not eating my posts, it's just taking a long-ass time to publish them. See below for my whiz-bang analysis of the electoral map.

Blogspot is eating my posts today, and of course being a brainless tool I have been composing my posts in the browser window again. I did a complete workup of the electoral map this morning, and it's vanished into the ether.

The bottom line is, Bush is in big trouble. He needs Florida for his lungs, and even if he takes Florida he still needs to win a bunch of the other toss-up states in order to win the election. What's more, the meat of the election is going to be in the midwest, particularly Michigan, Missouri and Iowa, not exactly Bush strongholds. If you want a four-word summary of why Bush should be pissing his pants right now, here it is:

Virginia is in play.

That's right. Virginia. That's based on a Rasmussen poll from May 31st, and the President* has actually had a pretty OK month, numbers-wise, so maybe he's back out in front in the Old Dominion. But just the fact that there's ANY question about which way Virginia is going to go is a major red flag for the Bush campaign. They do not want to be wasting time and money running in Virginia when they could be spending those resources Florida or Michigan. Trouble is, if Bush wins, his margin is going to be so small that he really can't afford to give up Virginia under any realistic scenario.

Look at it this way - Kerry has about 201 electoral votes either locked up or very close to it. He's also working with solid leads in New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New Mexico. Jersey's a 15, Ohio's a 20, Wisconsin a 10, Minnesota a 10, and New Mexico a 5. If Kerry wins all those states and New Hampshire (currently a toss-up), he'll be at 265 electoral votes, which means he could win ANY ONE of the remaining toss-up states, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Virginia or Michigan and win the election. If Kerry wins Florida, he can lose New Hampshire AND Ohio and still win the election.

In other words, Bush not only needs a virtual sweep of the so-called "battleground states," he probably needs to take away at least one big prize that Kerry already has his mitts on. Kerry, on the other hand, only needs to do what Kerry does best - sit around and not screw up.

Say hello to John F. Kerry, your next President.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

That's the sound of me reacting calmly to the fac that my entire electoral college analysis of the 2004 presidential election just got eaten by BlogSpot. You'd think I'd learn.

Anyway, long story short, Kerry wins.

Time to begin the serious handicapping of the 2004 elections. A lot of people have questioned my prediction that Kerry will win easily, saying basically "You're a Bush-hating moron." So today I'm going to focus on rebutting that argument. We'll get to the interesting part - the US Senate - later, after we've disposed of these silly rumors that George W. Bush has any chance of being elected to a second term.

Of course, many people are going to question my analysis because it's based on polling. "Polls are useless this far in advance!" people will say. And they have a point, but it's not a decisive one. Polls are useful, but you have to look closely and realize how much potential there is for movement. So here's an analysis of the situation by region. The numbers are all cherry-picked from www.electoral-vote.com's excellent tracking spreadsheet.

The South

The South is Bush's strength, along with the West, the South being more important because there are actually people living there. Dust doesn't get congressional representation.

In Bush's column to stay are Alabama (19 points), Georgia (17 points), Kentucky (13 points), Mississippi (17 points), South Carolina (10 points), Tennessee (18 points), and Texas (20 points), a total of 91 electoral votes in the South. These states are not only over 10 points but all of them are outside the margin of remaining undecideds in the state, except South Carolina, and Kerry would need basically every single SC undecided (and most of the Nader voters as well) to break for him if he wanted to win it. So count 91 electoral votes for Bush that Kerry is going to make no effort to win.

The rest of the South looks like this:

Arkansas, with 6 electoral votes, is currently within the margin of error. Ditto Florida, with its huge 27 EV prize. And don't forget Virginia (yes, Virginia) which is within the margin of error as well, for reasons no one has been able to adequately explain but which may have something to do with the fact that the Republican party has been looting the state for the last decade in plain view of everybody. So in the South there are 46 electoral votes that are completely up for grabs.

In North Carolina (15 ev) and Louisiana(9 EV), Bush has small leads, though Louisiana is probably close to being out of play as there aren't very many undecided voters.

So in Bush's strongest area of the country, the South, he has 97 votes more or less locked up, 15 votes that he should win but will have to spend at least some time defending, and 46 votes that he's going to have to scratch and claw for. Anything Kerry gets in the South is a big bonus, with the exception of Florida, where he'll no doubt be spending a lot of time, along with Bush.

The Northeast

Here, in Kerry's stronghold, we find a different story. Connecticut (10 points, with a big, probably illusory Nader vote), Delaware (13 points), Maine (19 points), Massachusetts (24 points), Maryland (14 points), New York (19 points), Rhode Island (22 points), Vermont (15 points) and D.C. (80 points) are Kerry cinches, giving him 77 walkover electoral votes in the Northeast.

Pennsylvania (21 EV) and New Jersey (15 EV) are both still fairly close, but of those two, only New Jersey is a worry for Kerry, as Kerry is pulling almost 50 percent of the polls in Pennsylvania even as Nader shows good strength there. It's not likely Pennsylvania will be competitive, so we can add that to Kerry's cinch column.

The only true toss-up state in the Northeast is contrarian New Hampshire and its awesome four electoral votes.

So in Kerry's stronghold, the Northeast, Kerry has 98 votes locked up, 15 he has to defend in New Jersey, and 4 that he'll have to work hard to grab.

The Midwest

This is where most of the real action is going to be, as neither candidate has a lot of strength here. Behold:

Kerry can count 13 EV Illinois (13 points and several major GOP scandals) among his lock states, and Bush can bank 11 EV Indiana (21 points). Other than those two, everything in the Midwest is in play to some degree or another. But it's mostly uphill battles for Bush.

Minnesota and Wisconsin (10 EV each) are still close, but Kerry should pick these up if he doesn't completely fumble the ball. West Virginia (5 EV) is in the same category for Bush. But the big surprise is Ohio (20 EV), where Kerry will be protecting a lead rather than trying to come from behind. Iowa (7 EV), Missouri (11 EV), and Michigan (17 EV) are all toss-ups.

So in the Midwest, Kerry adds 13 to his cinch total, bringing him to 111, and Bush adds 11, giving him 108. Meanwhile Bush has the inside track on only 5 votes, with Kerry playing defense on 40, with 35 toss-ups.

The Midwest, then, is an easy call for the Kerry campaign - he wants to spend a ton of time there, talking shit about Bush's job record. For Bush's camp, it's strategically tricky - do they want to seriously contest Kerry in Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, or concentrate mainly on Michigan? Actually, it turns out when we get to the end that they have no choice - they HAVE to engage Kerry across the whole Midwest.

The West

Bush's other strength, of course, is the big, flat states out West. Kansas(18 points), Idaho (30 points), Montana (20 points), Nebraska (29 points), Oklahoma (19 points), North Dakota (28 points) South Dakota (16 points) and Utah (45 points) are all going to go Bush.

But Bush is probably going to have to actually spend some time campaigning in Colorado to grab its 9 EV, where he owes his slim lead mainly to Nader voters defecting from Kerry. New Mexico (5 EV) is actually Kerry country, and that race may be getting out of hand, as Kerry's 7-point lead is well above the percentage of undecideds. Arizona (10 EV) and Nevada (5 EV) are both toss-ups.

So the West is still Bush country, and he can expect to get 36 votes without really trying, and then to add an extra 9 without a ton of effort, but if Kerry hustles, he could conceivably get out of the West with anywhere between 10 and 20 votes.

The West Coast

California is Kerry's ace in the hole - he leads by 12 points in the state, even with 4 percent Nader voting. Those 55 votes are a bone in Bush's throat. In Oregon (7 EV) and Washington (11 EV), Kerry's leads aren't prohibitive, but they're outside the margin of undecideds. Kerry should sweep the West Coast without much effort, and grab all 73 of its electoral votes.

Alaska and Hawaii

Alaska (3 EV) Bush, Hawaii (4 EV) Kerry.

So, let's count the votes, shall we? (Don't tell SCOTUS.)

Bush, the incumbent, currently is looking at a lead-pipe cinch on 153 electoral votes, all of them except Indiana in his regional strongholds. He's playing defense for another 29 electoral votes, again in regions where he should have an advantage, except West Virginia.

Kerry, the challenger, has a lock on 201 electoral votes, including 5 in the West, a Bush stronghold, and 13 in the Midwest, the election's real battleground. He's got to defend shaky leads on 55 votes, all of them except New Jersey in the Midwest, the battleground region.

There are exactly 100 electoral votes completely up for grabs, 61 of them in Bush strongholds, 35 in the battleground region, and 4 in a Kerry stronghold.

So let's be extraordinarily generous to the Bush campaign, and assume a few things go their way. First, let's assume that Bush can win every single toss-up state in his strongholds, AND hold his leads in Colorado, North Carolina, and West Virginia. So Bush gets his 61 toss-up votes, and he hangs on the the 182 votes he's already favored to win. That leaves him with 243 votes, 27 short of the 270 needed to win.

That means that even in this very rosy Bush scenario, he would still need to win Missouri, Iowa, and Michigan in order to win reelection.

In other words, if John Kerry can find a way to win New Hampshire and one of Iowa, Missouri, the only way that Bush can catch him is to overcome Kerry's lead in one of the Midwestern states (Minnesota or Wisconsin) or in New Jersey, while also hanging on to all the states he ought to win. There's simply no other place for Bush to realistically make his money back.

That's all, by the way, assuming Bush wins Florida. If Kerry wins Florida, Bush would need to win every other toss-up state except New Hampshire AND take Ohio from Kerry. Not going to happen.

Add to this the fact that incumbents rarely, if ever, come from behind to win Presidential elections, and that the Iraq body count is going to hit four figures sometime in the next three months.

Yet nowhere do I see any handicappers showing Bush as anything worse than an even-money bet to win reelection. My advice? If somebody will give you even money against Bush, bet like a motherfuckin gorilla. John Kerry is your next President.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I've been wanting to do a Howard Kurtz entry for a long time. Kurtz is probably the worst media critic in the history of the business. It's not because he's antoganistic to liberals and goes easy on conservatives - in my opinion, media critics are not obligated to be objective - it's because he spends so much of his time defending the media, the opposite of his job.

The reason I've been waiting to criticize Howard is that I was waiting for a moment when he was actually saying something I completely agree with, as he does in today's Blaming the Press in Iraq. This way, my argument doesn't get muddied by the fact that I disagree fundamentally with the content of the piece.

In this case, Kurtz is exactly right, and in fact, could go a lot farther in criticizing the blatant and altogether nauseating hypocrisy of Paul Wolfowitz - who has not been leading a lot of walking tours through downtown Najaf recently, to my knowledge. Many, many journalists have been killed in Iraq, several of them shot down by coalition forces, and Wolfowitz has the nerve to criticize them for not putting it on the line.

So for once, I have no quarrel with the substance of what Howard Kurtz is saying. But in the last two weeks, two major dailies and an important center-left periodical, along with numerous individual columnists, have printed articles admitting to having dropped the ball to one degree or another during the run-up to the Iraq war. Even the most cursory analysis of this development could easily consume hundreds of pages. Yet Kurtz uses his page, once again, to defend the media he is supposed to be crtiticizing. Pathetic.

I also feel the need to point out that Kurtz's criticism of Michael Moore makes no logical sense, and borders on the willfully dishonest. I plan to write an article on Michael Moore and "liberalism" generally, but I'm going to wait until after I've seen F911, which I'm going to do this Friday. Suffice it to say that while I like Moore's movies more than a lot of people, I am not a Michael Moore groupie.

However, to say that Great Britain's libel laws are "stringent" and that by threatening to bring legal action under U.S. libel laws, Moore is "advocating" UK-style laws is ridiculous beyond the borders of its clothing. Most of Kurtz's readers probably do not know anything about the UK's libel and slander laws, but Kurtz does, and that's what makes the charge so shameful.

In the UK, if a libel claim is brough against you by a public figure, the burden of proof is on you, the DEFENDANT, to show that what is charged in the questionable piece is accurate. In the U.S., the PLAINTIFF is required to show a number of things, including that the printed charge in question was false, and that the defendant knew that it was false or acted with a blatant disregard for the truth.

Now I, unlike 95% of the U.S. public, am a serious first-amendment hawk. I would probably argue in a debate that libel laws are an unnecessary infringement on free speech, and that at most the government has a responsibility to make sure that there is sufficient access to the media that someone accused of something in print or on the air can defend herself with the truth. As a journalist (using the term loosely) I would never bring a libel suit against anyone, for the reasons Kurtz outlines in addition to my philosophical objections to the statutes as well.

But it is easy for anyone with an ounce of common sense to see how UK-style libel laws act as an extreme chilling agent on the public discourse, while U.S. laws are much more restrained, and mostly prevent people from blatantly lying. If, for example, a major paper prints an article alleging that Moore's film says something which it does not say, and refuses to print a correction, a libel suit is certainly a legitimate recourse.

Of course, this is all overlooking the real, underlying reason that media apologists like Kurtz hate Michael Moore - it's because they see in Michael Moore what they should themselves be, and would be if they didn't care so much about maintaining their popularity among the people and institutions they are supposed to be restraining. Michael Moore is a muckraking, abrasive and reckless critic of the media - which is what being a media critic is supposed to be all about.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

There's an Utne article right now called "Blogging Ruined My Life." I'm approaching that today, I think. This will be the last post. Really.

While I was gone, the White House Press Briefing returned in all of its weird glory. Take a look at Scottie Mac getting freaking clobbered over the al Qaeda/Saddam link. Just priceless. It's like somebody suddenly turned on the WHPC's brains.

Unfortunately no one quite gets to the real meat of the dumbness of what McClellan is saying, which is that all countries that are enemies of the U.S. are working with al Qaeda by definition, and presumably, working with one another. So, like, Cuba is allied with Iran? Wait, or maybe Iran is our friend now? No? Enemy still? Just checking. So Iran and Cuba are tight. Cool. Also North Korea and Venezuela. Kim Jon Il and Chavez are hanging out all the time, eating dim sum and tostones together. They're inviting bin Laden over; he's ordering the stripper on his cell phone on the way to the crib. The sad thing is, conservatives reading this (I know there are a few of you) don't see this as ridiculous. To them, all the enemies of America are part of a big global conspiracy to snuff us out, hanging out on COBRA island cackling maniacally. Only George W. Bush can protect us from this disjointed, impoverished, no-air-force-having horde of subsistence farmers and factory workers poised to destroy the earth.

Am I satirizing the right-wing position yet? No? Still just restating it verbatim? I give up.

At the risk of tooting my own horn, let's hearken back for a moment to my quick rundown of the Illinois senate race:

Illinois - (D) Barack Obama vs. Jack Ryan (R)

This race is a pick 'em, maybe leaning Obama right now. Obama will need to make his money in Chicago, with Ryan hustling to catch up in the rest of the state. Ryan's big weakness is a high-profile divorce.

This was written just before the Tenet resignation, so I never followed up, and it turns out I'm glad I didn't waste the time.

It turns out that high-profile divorce is not a weakness but a mortal wound.

"Actress Jeri Ryan accused ex-husband Jack Ryan of insisting she go to 'explicit sex clubs' in New York, New Orleans and Paris during their marriage -- including 'a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling.'"

Would the last person to leave Ryan campaign headquarters please burn the place to the ground? Thanks a bunch.

While I was on vacation, I got an email from my Uncle Carlos. Carlos is the evil genius of my mother’s side of the family, a razor-witted, wild-eyed rocket scientist meandering through middle age sucking down cosmopolitans in a shadowy compound somewhere in central Florida. Little is known about what he truly does for a living, but it has long been assumed in the family that if and when the nation-state system finally crumbles and the human race is reduced once again to tribal warfare, Carlos, more than any of his myriad siblings, will provide us with a significant ace in the hole.

In any case, Carlos was writing to alert me to the fact that Patrick Buchanan has an article on World Net Daily that tracks with my Tenet/Chalabi/Passion of the Neocons story arc. I guess I should feel bad about this, since Buchanan is a racist, soulless minion of hell, but instead I'm loving it, since Pat, despite his shortcomings and his recent fall from prominence, is a big-time player.

One request - after linking to WND, please do not click through to any ads, no matter how ridiculous or hilarious the advertised product seems to be, as this may help WorldNetDaily financially in some way. I can live with being nominally aligned with one of the great dirty political operatives in the history of man, but if I knew my readers were keeping WND's board in bad suits, I'd have to jump off a cliff.

Monday, June 21, 2004

I regret to report I am on the trail of no story at all at the moment, having just deadheaded home from San Francisco after a simple trip to the West Coast to watch my brother-in-law graduate from U of O suddenly tumbled into the depths of depravity and despair, mostly due to the imbeciles at United Airlines, a dingy and useless fleet of flying trash that should have been sold off to the Colombians long ago. My only small bit of satisfaction came when the ATSB rejected United's bailout request in a mean-spirited and gratuitous puff of red tape as I lounged in the jacuzzi at the Lion and Rose in Portland, watching CNN. The airline got the last laugh, of course, on the return trip, seating me next to a dead-drunk MBA who smelled like a dung rat that had fallen into a vat of cheap blended scotch and drowned some weeks ago.

I desperately want to write a story about John Ashcroft, a desperate weirdo whom I could probably learn to like if he weren't constantly trying to put me and everyone like me in jail for life, where we can apparently be abused in cruel, inhuman, and degrading sadistic rituals, as long as said rituals do not rise to the level of torture.

This may seem like one of my trademark exaggerations, but check out the summary of the Justice memo that the Post printed on Sunday. I can't find it online, but it's there I believe in the Sunday Outlook section, and the thrust of the memo is considerably worse than what the press is generally reporting.

The standard of "Cruel and inhuman OK, Torture Not OK" in the memo summary clearly applies only to interrogations being conducted on U.S. soil. The memo summary goes on to say that interrogations on foreign soil are not subject to this restiction, meaning that "inflicting pain on the level of massive organ failure" and other such tactics are acceptable.

Meanwhile, Dana Priest said in her chat last week that the press hadn't been able to find any link between the Justice department directive and what happened at Abu Ghraib. What, exactly, are the investigative techniques being used in this story? Are the reporters trying to get to the bottom of things by, say, eating a banana split? Going to an afternoon O's game? TiVo'ing "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton?"

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Well, here I am in gray-green Eugene, still recovering from the nightmare of being herded through O'Hare along with about ten thousand other restlessly lowing wet sacks of gravy as poisonous, black rain pounded the tarmac in drops the size of full-grown cicadas.

The place was a soggy sock-smelling tangle of delays and cancellations and overbookings, but Sophia and I were able to slip into two fairly spacious second-class seats on a 727 to Portland after I told one of the counter attendants that I was Mike Ditka's second cousin. This strategy was arrived at after Sophia dissuaded me from adopting several more obvious plans, all of which had the drawback of involving varying degrees of wanton violence.

In any case, I'm now out the door, headed to a party in the White Guy With Dreadlocks capital of the world. Wish me luck.

BTW yesterday's New York Times cover was one for the time capsule. If it's sitting in your recycle bin, go grab it. You damn hippy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Well, as I believe I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I am going on vacation for the next week and a half. Sophia's brother is graduating from the University of Oregon, and I'm going out to attend the graduation, see the sights, and other such vacationing.

Hopefully we'll have some new visitors tomorrow, and as always, I encourage you to write to me at raulgroom@yahoo.com and let me know what you thought. I particularly appreciate factual corrections. BTW you should check out The Plaid Adder's latest, it's nice work.

At the risk of sort of exposing myself, let me point you to this article on From the Wilderness.

Read the story and you get a pretty good sense of the storyline I'm working from in my Tenet vs. the Bush Administration story arc. Basically, it's a wild conspiracy theory, and when you read it on From the Wilderness, it comes off as such. There's factual evidence to support the theory, but there are major holes. Don't get me wrong, I believe this is what is happening, for the most part, but there are several alternative explanations that also fit the facts.

The key problem on FTR is the earnestness of the story. If you're going to espouse huge conspiracy theories about the CIA fighting the White House with Justice caught in the crossfire, etc. etc., you have to have an edge. Pretend like you don't care. World going to hell, ha ha, let's drink some gin and play Scrabble.

That's what Hunter S. Thompson did for us. He taught us how to really get at the real absurdity and monstrosity of life on earth without coming off as a dangerous crank.

On second thought, perhaps I'm giving both of us too much credit. I guess to most people, the Good Doctor and I are, in fact, dangerous cranks. Oh, well. Scrabble anyone?

Front page of the WaPost today, above the fold, Ashcroft Refuses to Release Memo.

This strikes me as completely untenable. What possible basis could there be for keeping this memo secret? It's a document prepared by a government lawyer directing government policy. In this article, Ashcroft doesn't even provide any justification for keeping the memo secret. He just trots out the "confidential advice" canard, which has a chance to work when it's not known whether a crime was committed, but is not going to fly in a case where we know there are several people who have been tortured to death. The President is not allowed to get confidential advice about how to have people tortured to death. This is not essential to the survival of the Republic. Even the Supremes aren't that craven.

My thinking is, Ashcroft is the weak link here. He's the Colonel Jessup in this story, desperately yearning to tell the world that he ordered the Code Red. Perhaps more on that in my next article (not the one coming out tomorrow, but the next one after that - you know, the one I haven't written yet.)

BTW, this is one of my favorite non-denial denials of all time:

"I want to confirm that the president has not directed or ordered any conduct that would violate any one of those enactments of the United States Congress or that would violate the provisions of any of the treaties as they have been entered into by the United States."

This sounds pretty unequivocal, right? Ashcroft is insulting your intelligence here. He thinks you don't know how to read, how to digest the totality of a situation. The allegation is that the memo advised the President on how to allow the use of de facto torture without running afoul of the law. So, if the President did indeed act on this advice and instruct the Pentagon and/or military intelligence to use these tactics, the entire point of the secret memo is that Justice believes the tactics approved were narrowly legal.

So Ashcroft is in fact CONFIRMING our suspicions about the memo in an attempt to deny them.

Anyway, like I said, tomorrow morning on DU, my article on the Tenet resignation. The title of the piece can also be read as my one-line Obituary for the Gipper, which is the last I'll have to say on the subject, at least until the fall.

Check it tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Has there really not been a White House press briefing since May 28th? I guess there's just been a slow couple of news weeks, eh? I mean, new Iraqi prime minister*, Bush consulting a lawyer in the Plame case, Reagan dying, Tenet resigning, all of that probably doesn't require any ongoing explanation by the White House.

Well, they didn't get my story in today because they had to run a bunch of shit about Reagan. Blah. I keep thinking I ought to do a Reagan thing, but I'm of the mind that, except in rare cases, the moment when someone dies is not the right time to say a bunch of mean shit about them.

And I really have very little good to say about Reagan. Krugman does a nice job comparing the Gipper favorably to George W. Bush, but that's a backhanded compliment if I ever saw one, considering Bush has run up record deficits and has absolutely nothing to show for it, has blundered away significant tactical advantages in two wars, presided over a botched coup in South America, and is generally the worst president since the invention of television.

Since I feel that it would merely be damning with faint praise to say that Reagan was preferable to Bush because he ran up only moderately crippling deficits which actually helped the economy, did a nice job standing there looking presidential as the Soviet Union collapsed, mostly succeeded in his extensive meddling in the Southern Hemisphere, and was probably not one of the top ten most dangerous pathological liars to work out of the Oval Office, I will instead say nothing.

Don't you admire my restraint?

Monday, June 07, 2004

Well, I did the best I could in the time available. Not much in the way of analysis, just another irresponsible hatchet job, a cheap shot at a man retreating straight back from a fight. It's got a good beat, though, and you can dance to it. Hopefully it'll make it in tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out the relevant news stories:

Investigators interview Cheney in CIA leak probe.

From what I gather, this account falls for exactly the spin the White House was going for when they disclosed first that the President had spoken to outside counsel and second that Cheney had been interviewed. The timeline seems to be the opposite; Cheney came out of his Q&A with Fitzgerald and told Bush "you better hire a lawyer."

Implications of Bush Consulting Attorney

Fairly straightforward analysis of why Bush would consult an outside counsel, and why this means that Bush is probably in a pretty tight spot.

Lastly, check out this mildly funny satire.

I'm going on vacation Thursday, so don't forget me when I'm gone. My heart will break.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

This is egomaniacal of me, and if I knew an outside source to send you to, I would. But everyone should read my CIA story arc from last year again. Here are the links. I don't know when the hell I'm going to find time, but it's time for me to write the next installment. The Spark has arrived.


The Calm Before the Swarm

The Story

The Great Spark Hunt

Whi-ohhhhhhhh... Looks like Senate Watch is going to have to wait until next week. This Tenet thing is coming out of nowhere, at least for me. People are emailing me asking me what this means in the context of the CIA/White House war. My gut tells me it's bad for the White House, but it's too soon to tell. We'll have to wait for a few leaks on the real reason he's quitting.

OK, I'm excited now. The Senate is where it's at. Quick lineup, then I have to run off to have my joints examined to see why my entire body feels like Arvedas Sabonis' knee.

Illinois - (D) Barack Obama vs. Jack Ryan (R)

This race is a pick 'em, maybe leaning Obama right now. Obama will need to make his money in Chicago, with Ryan hustling to catch up in the rest of the state. Ryan's big weakness is a high-profile divorce.

Louisiana - (D) Two-headed monster vs. Tender Vittles (R)

I can't remember the guy's real name. Something like Vittles. Anyway, Louisiana races are always interesting to watch because they have runoff elections. So Vittles is going to win the first race because the dems are running two guys, but then the runoff should lean Democratic. If the Senate winds up 50-49 after November 2 (a distinct possibility) this race could take on national significance.

Colorado - (R) Pete Coors vs. Pete Coors (R)

This one is going to be all about Coors. Basically, can he shake the perception that he's just some rich bigot who makes crappy beer that tastes like diluted canola oil? Signs point to no.

Pennsylvania - (R) Arlen Specter vs. (Nazi) Pat Toomey

Actually, Specter already held off Toomey for the Republican nomination, but it was a bitter contest that may have left Specter alienated from his Republican base. Turnout will be the key in this one, and Specter stands to be hurt in that category by Kerry's strength in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Ah, June. Finally, the political season is here. So why am I not excited? Maybe it'll take a few days. But maybe John Kerry really is just boring. Also, people are starting to wake up to the fact that the election is probably not going to be close. Indeed, the interesting race is probably the Senate race, where the Republicans are going to have to pick just the right moment to throw Bush over the side of the boat and gun the motor.

I haven't been following the Senate stuff especially closely. Perhaps it's time for an article on that.