Sunday, September 12, 2004

2000 redux

Via Three Guys:

This paper (PDF, or abstract in HTML), by Kosuke Imai and Gary King, has yet more dirt on the 2000 election.

From the abstract:

Although not widely known until much later, Al Gore received 202 more votes than George W. Bush on election day in Florida. George W. Bush is president because he overcame his election day deficit with overseas absentee ballots that arrived and were counted after election day. In the final official tally, Bush received 537 more votes than Gore. These numbers are taken from the official results released by the Florida Secretary of State's office and so do not reflect overvotes, undervotes, unsuccessful litigation, butterfly ballot problems, recounts that might have been allowed but were not, or any other hypothetical divergence between voter preferences and counted votes. After the election, the New York Times conducted a six-month investigation and found that 680 of the overseas absentee ballots were illegally counted, and almost no one has publicly disagreed with their assessment.

It's easy to pass that off as old news, but their information and analysis deserve to be widely read, particularly as we near our next election.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


A friend of mine just worked on this short film. It oughtn't be missed. Posted by Hello

Friday, September 03, 2004

RNC lie roundup

Fred Kaplan writes a tidy list of untruths from the Convention speeches.

For the Anglophiles

The Leader of the Commons has dropped a hint that 10 Downing awfully hopes that Kerry will win in November.

It's not a surprising idea at all, of course, that Tony Blair might personally support John Kerry. I don't believe I need elucidate the reasons here.

But the Guardian suggests that Blair's government will remain "studiously neutral." I wonder what that will mean for the election. Although it seems that the American electorate is not overwhelmed by a desire for the advice of foreign leaders (and if, God forbid, Zell's right, we find it traitorous to accept that advice) Bush does still cite foreign leaders like President Kwasniewski, whose name it seems he's only recently learned (as, to my shame, have I).

What might it mean if Blair gave Bush a real public condemnation? Not the careful "suggestions" he's been giving him, but something real? America's still Anglophiliac enough that it might make a difference...

It's a pipe dream, of course, to imagine foreign leaders making a direct endorsement, and that's one of the reasons that Bush's macho and McCarthyesque request for the Kerry campaign to name names was absurd, but it's 3:30 in the morning and the convention frightened me this evening, so it's a dream I think I'll take with me to bed.

The enemy of my enemy...

Andrew Sullivan writes this about Zell Miller's speech. It's easy for anyone halfway principled and half-awake to condemn a speech like Miller's, and some authors now have.

But I watched Bush's speech tonight, full as it was with hateful lies, and at the end of it the commentators counted the balloons that had dropped, and made no mention of the statements in the speech that were directly contrary to fact.

Later and soberer...

There are a few decent comments on the various convention speeches.

"GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions", in The Washington Post, doesn't go quite so far as I'd like. It feeds the discourse of epistemological relativism with its gently chiding language that allows readers to continue to believe that you know, both sides lie a little, so how can you tell?

Joshua "Great Middle Name" Marshall

compares a particularly egregious section of the address to NBC's particularly responsible reaction. I've quoted below:

Two perspectives ...

Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer."
George W. Bush
Convention Acceptance Speech
September 2nd, 2004

"As speakers at the GOP convention trumpet Bush administration successes in the war on terrorism, an NBC News analysis of Islamic terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, shows that attacks are on the rise worldwide — dramatically.

Of the roughly 2,929 terrorism-related deaths around the world since the attacks on New York and Washington, the NBC News analysis shows 58 percent of them — 1,709 — have occurred this year.

In the past 10 days, in fact, the number of dead has risen by 142 people in places as diverse as Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel. On Tuesday, the number of civilians killed by terrorists totaled 38 — 10 at a subway entrance bombing in Moscow, 16 in a bus bombing in Israel and 12 Nepalese executed in Iraq.

Moreover, the level of sophistication is increasing. Terrorism experts point in particular to the attacks apparently carried out by Chechen rebels during that 10-day period. The rebels, whose top military commanders have been Arabs, are operating at a whole different level."

NBC News
September 2nd, 2004

Maybe if they keep lying this big-time, they'll start getting called on it. Bush has been overestimating his political capital for some time (this became clear to me in the Richard Clarke brouhaha) and it's possible that the next time he goes too far there will be consequences.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Billionaires photos

Billionaires photos available at my alter ego's blog:
Diary of a Billionairess.

Shameless plug

N+1 has run the first three installments of its convention series:

I'll be working on a longer piece about B4B and their messaging tactics, and would love to talk to anyone about it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Has anyone else seen this? Motorola is running a Rock the Vote promotion. Apparently you can register to vote and buy a phone at the same time. It's smart marketing, but I hardly mind. Posted by Hello

Monday, August 30, 2004


The Washington Post Convention Diary has a lovely bit on the Billionaires. The slide show even has a sweet little picture of me on our roomy, roomy limousine.

If you haven't got a logon for the Post, go to Bug Me Not, which provides shared logons for a number of free, registration-required sites.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Fox News

We've been watching all the news we can, trying to get a read on media coverage of the protests today. We'd been pessimistic about it all, of course, and swore for a bit that no matter what happened, Fox would make it look terrible. But after today's protests, even with a logo that read "Convention Chaos" and a special "Survival Guide" section, the report on Fox described the protests as orderly, and "the best that could be expected." The interviews featured included a Marine and a pretty blonde, who both spoke well. The worst we saw Fox manage was a backhanded compliment about fewer injuries than expected.

The New York Post is pretty ok so far, at least in the AP reporting it's picking up. It's got some good wire photos up of fresh-faced demonstrators, and this lovely Billionaire snapshot (Hi Phillmore!). Of course, it's a little heavy on the pictures of arrests (so far, there are confirmations of 142 arrested out of hundreds of thousands) and the descriptions of burning dragon seem a little off to me, but really, I'm impressed.

We do wish that all the commentary on the smoothness of the day didn't focus exclusively on the actions of the police. While they did a fabulous job, I also noticed how sophisticated the organizers were - some competent, strong marshals with the right words and right technology.

That's enough of that. Details will follow in the proper publication.

Sunday in the Park with George

Well, my friend and editor Marco Roth at the fabulous and fascinating n+1 magazine has reminded me to save all the dishiest dish and dirtiest dirt for the upcoming n+1 protest exclusive, so details and juicy photos will follow.

For now: today was a great day. All the marches I went to and participated in were exciting and good. People were upbeat. Interaction with police and bystanders was pleasant and interesting.
The NYPD was particularly impressive, and I wanted to break character to thank them more genuinely. Really a terrific job on their part.

Can anyone tell me something about how the protests looked to them, in person or through media? Posted by Hello