Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: November 2005

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Republicans blocking voting rights

Below is a post I borrowed from Blanton and Ashton's. Basically, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) has a bill that is cosponsored by 159 congressman, and the Repugnicans don't think it worthy of floor action. HR 550 guarantees voter verified paper trails on all voting machines, and also implements mandatory random audits of every election in every county etc... Basically the bill covers all the voting irregularities we saw in Ohio '04 and Florida 2000, and basically every election going forward where you vote into a machine and don't know what the hell the machine does with your vote.

When you are done here, if you have a blog, go ahead and join the blogswarm. When you are done blogging it, go to this Daily Kos diary and reccomend and link to your post.

So... Here is all the info:
Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

-The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

Another election has passed without any action by Congress to protect our votes. Time after time, in state after state, electronic voting machines are proving to be extremely unreliable, with voting shortfalls showing up across the country. In addition, as documented numerous times by sites like, electronic voting machines have proven easy to hack into and the results can be changed. There is an unquestionable need for verifying our votes.

A solution to the problem of verified voting was introduced in the House of Representatives last February as House Resolution 550. That solution is a complete answer to the problem and is so thorough that it now has 159 co-sponsors, both Democrats and Republicans, and has been endorsed by the bi-partisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform.  For no good reason, the bill is stalled in the House Administration Committee, which is chaired by Robert Wilson Ney (OH-18th).

House Resolution 550, titled the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, "amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper record or hard copy under title III of such Act, and for other purposes" (as described by the bill summary at Electronic voting machines currently leave no paper trail and there is now way to confirm or recount votes. At the same time, these voting machines have become notorious for their security problems. H.R. 550 addresses those problems; the security issues with these voting machines would become irrelevant if you could perform hand recounts.

Verified voting is not a partisan issue. This is about making sure that everyone's vote is counted and can be verified. This cuts across all lines and divisions because this is about ensuring the legitimacy of our democracy.

Today I and many hundred of my fellow web loggers are urging our readers to go to Congressman Holt's web site and sign his petition in support of H.R. 550. Everyone, left, right, and middle, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or whatever, can join this effort and let Congress know that we want all of our votes to be counted.

Here is a list of House Administration Committee Members (their names are linked to their web contact page, so you can click the name and write an email, but you can only write to the Representative you live in his or her will need your nine-digit zip code, which you can find out here):

Phone or FAX the Committee?  No problem:

Phone: 202-225-8281

Fax: 202-225-9957

If you have a web log and are not already part of this effort, please join in.  You can join this blogswarm by joining the Big Brass Alliance.

Support H.R. 550

Other blogs posting on this subject include:


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Moment of Zen

Can someone tell me wehter or not 2 incarnations of anyone can exhist at the same time? What if both incarnations seem to be that of the great Buddha himself?
Authorities in Nepal urged religious groups and scientists on Sunday to help solve the mystery of a meditating teenaged boy who some believe is an incarnation of Buddha.

At least 100,000 devotees from Nepal and neighbouring India have flocked in recent weeks to a dense forest in southeastern Nepal to see 15-year-old Ram Bahadur Bamjon, who, his associates say, has been meditating without food or water for six months.

Talk about political shitstorms a brewin'. Can you imagine what the Dalai Lama is thinking right now?

He should go check this kid out, his entire credibility hinges upon it.


USA Today Pushes for Nia Gill

Like it or not, race and gender tends to be a player in who Gov. Elect Corzine picks to fill his Senate seat.  That doesn't mean Corzine is racist or sexist, it just means that its the reality of the situation. It is shameful to think that someone will be appointed to any political position to pander to some gender or racial segment of the voting population. However, it is equally shameful that only 5 African Americans have served in the United States Senate, only one of which was a woman.

DeWayne Wickham of USA Today makes the case for appointing State Senator Nia Gill. He mentions how Gill was the co-chair of Corzine's campaign.  Which to me means that she knows how to run a campaign. In simpler terms, this means she can win an election.  

Wickham also makes an excellent point regarding the loss of black votes to Republicans.  He notes that this has occured in the past and that the recent appointments of Condi Rice and Colin Powell have played a role in the Republican gains in the black community.

Back in 1912, when blacks voted for Republicans more heavily than they now back Democrats, some complained that the GOP was taking blacks for granted.

That year, activists W.E.B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter urged blacks to vote for Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who won the presidential election with increased support from black voters. By 1936, the move of blacks from the GOP produced a landslide of support for the presidential campaign of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, who got 71% of the black vote. Blacks have been the Democratic Party's most loyal constituency since.

That loyalty is being tested by the GOP's outreach to blacks — and the Democrats' complacency. In recent years, the GOP has been more aggressive in getting blacks elected to statewide offices. Two blacks were elected lieutenant governor in 2002: one in Ohio, the other in Maryland. And while GOP leaders from President Bush to Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich have thrown their support behind the U.S. Senate campaign of Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, Democrats have given scant support to Kweisi Mfume, the former congressman and NAACP president. He was the first Democrat to enter the race for the seat of retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes of Maryland.

These moves, combined with Bush's appointment of first Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice as secretary of State (a position no black ever obtained in a Democratic administration), leave a lot of blacks wondering whether the unwavering support they've given Democrats is being taken for granted. Corzine's decision on his Senate replacement will help answer that.

Looks like at some of Al Sharpton's donkey riders are talking about hopping off the saddle. John Kerry got 88% of the black vote and 48% of the female vote. The Democratic party used to be comfortably above the 90% mark with African American voters (Gore got 90% in 2000). Democrats are loosing one of their strongest constituencies, and Wickham's points are well made. In selecting Nia Gill to replace him in the Senate, Jon Corzine will be doing a service to his state and to the national Democratic party.

Worse case scenario? Gill looses to Menendez in the 2006 primary. This isn't much of a downside since there is no total net loss of Congressional seats.

I reiterate, I don't think that race and gender play a role, but it truly is the reality of the situation.  Equality is still an unobtained goal in this country.  NJ tends to pride itself and celebrate the diversity housed within its great borders.  Besides, we are talking about a well qualified individual who happens to be an African American Woman.  

It is well known that Bill Clinton used to read the USA Today to get a pulse on what America was really thinking. I hope a certain Governor Elect takes the same advice.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What’s wrong with cutting and running?

The best argument I have seen for cutting and running is right here by former National Security Agency Head Lt. Gen. William Odom.

He points to the 9 arguments people make for staying in Iraq, and then basically debunks them all. With the simple arguement that they are already happening:

1) We would leave behind a civil war. CHECK

2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.CHECK

3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy. CHECK

4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists. CHECK

5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase. CHECK

6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors. CHECK

7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen. CHECK

8) We haven’t fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet. CHECK (Ain't gonna happen on our watch either)

9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops. WRONG and CHECK cuz they already want to get out.

Now I have been a long time proponent of the Pottery Barn rule (we broke it we bought it, even though Al Franken has said that isn't Pottery Barn's policy). I do think that we have a moral obligation to fix what we broke. However, recent events and the sheer incompetence of the administration of this war, and the lack of onus taking going on leaves us with very few options.

Gen. Odom's argument is very persuasive. The damage has been done, and Iraq is FUBAR. It just is. We are about to turn the final "corner" with the December 15th elections over there. After that we haven't been spoonfed any more corners, or milestones. So if things don't get magically better with Bagdhad looking a bit like this:

Then all hope is lost and we have no further plan. I know that by being in Iraq we are emboldening terrorists, providing a training-ground for terrorists, and dying at the hands of terrorists. It seems like if this is the front on the war on terror, then we are simply loosing and have no way of winning. Putting more troops in harms way is a stupid thing to do after the history less on of Vietnam.

So simply, pulling out will be the best thing to do. We take the wind out of the terrorists "america is an occupier" argument. The civil war is already happening, I don't think we can do much to stop it either. Because no government under occupation by a foreign party can be considered legitimate by its citizens. Thus, leaving is the best option.

The other argument that fails is that the insurgents will just wait us out and lay low until we get out of there. After which an explosion of violent attacks will occur on the Iraqi people. If this is true than a lull in violence would allow for faster training of the Iraqi troops and by the time we leave they will be better prepared to deal with such violence.

Andrew Duck was on the Majority Report yesterday and made a striking comment. That the Iraqi's are driving around in nissan pick-up trucks. Granted I think it was a metaphor, however, the reason for the Iraqis having crappy equipment, was that the US didn't want them to use their old equipment. Why? Because their old equipment is Russian, and according to Duck, the Iraqis would have to buy some upgrades and parts and such from Russia. That's when the lightbulb in my head went off!

If we leave, why not leave them all our Bradley and Humvees? This seems like a decent idea. It would also garner support from the Military Industrial Complex cuz we will have to build more of them!

Plus the Iraqi troops would be that much more able to defend their homeland. We could then transfer a ton of money back into the United States Defense budget and create some massive military jobs. Plus we cut off Iraqi-Russian trade.

Seems like all sorts of missions accomplished.

Just one solution, but I haven't seen many of these from this administration.

As for leaving Iraq. We don't seem to be taking the heat very well, so perhaps its time to get out of that kitchen.

Seems like an easy plan!


Monday, November 21, 2005

History Revisionisming

As Josh notes, there is a ton of stories comming out today that should have came out two years ago.

First the hypocrisy from the White House. You have POTUS and VPOTUS both claiming Democrats and liberals are going batshit crazy and revising history because they have no right to because they were for the war, and now they are against it, and that they had all the same information he had and all that crapska...

This from a famous history revisionist. President Bush has been caught multiple times revising history here are links to just a few:

Vietnam War


Now we are finding that Mr. President is wanting to change what happened in more recent history. It seems like only weeks ago we find the President in South America claiming "We Do Not Torture." Then just Friday we read this story from ABC, saying that in essence, we not only torture, but we use the shitty info gained to promote the war.

Also in that recent speech about history revisionism, Bush claimed Congress had the same info he did. Luckily Bob Graham (chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) the has been able to call him out on his bullshit on the editorial page of Washington Post.

Also accompanying any talk of bashing any anti-war lunatical liberal, is the point that the Silberman-Robb committee has exonerated the White House from any political pressure on intelligence folks (as factcheck has been so apt at screwing up in their latest). Along with this, typically, is this talking point that every other intelligence agency and country in the world thought Saddam had WMDs. Luckily the LA Times calls bullshit on both. Curveball, for those no longer remembering small pre-war details, was one of the folks whose intelligence on WMD provided the alley oop pass for a certain "slam dunk."
Curveball was the chief source of inaccurate prewar U.S. accusations that Baghdad had biological weapons, a commission appointed by Bush reported this year. The commission did not interview Curveball, who still insists his story was true, or the German officials who handled his case.

The Commission is the Silbermann-Robb commision. Now if they didn't review the Curveball case, then perhaps they didn't review anything at all.

Literally, Curveball's stuff was debunkified by the Germans who called him an alcoholic among other things. Apparently, he is a teenager as well?
Jerry tracked down Curveball's Sunni Muslim parents in a middle-class Baghdad neighborhood.

"Our guy was very polite," Kay recalled. "He said, 'We understand your son doesn't like Americans.' His mother looked shocked. She said, 'No, no! He loves Americans.' And she took him into [her son's] bedroom and it was filled with posters of American rock stars. It was like any other teenage room. She said one of his goals was to go to America."

Now the attrocities listed in this LA Times piece, coupled with Senator Bob Graham's rebuke should end all this talk about pre-war intelligence and how wonderfully valid it was. NO. If anything, the LA Times piece debunks whatever silly findings of Silberman-Robb, and Graham demolishes the notion that congress saw everything the President saw. Now why the rest of Senate Democrats didn't vote along with their own chariman of the Senate Select Commitee on Intelligence, is beyond me. However, I hope this lays to rest any revisionisming spewing forth from 1600 Pensylvania Avenue.

Side note: John McCain was recently doing his book tour and spewed much of the pre-war bullshit I highlighted above. It is interesting to note that he was on Silberman-Robb. Unfortunately, the LA Times revelation about curveball was not available to the various interviewers then. However, I wonder if the next intrepid journalist that comes accross John McCain's willing to talk mouth, can't ask him why his commission didn't interview Curveball?


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lying Liars

Rumsfeld on This Week:
"I never advocated invasion"

Richard Clarke:
After the president returned to the White House on Sept. 11, he and his top advisers, including Clarke, began holding meetings about how to respond and retaliate. As Clarke writes in his book, he expected the administration to focus its military response on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He says he was surprised that the talk quickly turned to Iraq.

"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Washington Compost

There I said it. I took that headline from Ollie North. The bastard that armed our enemies in order to get Americans back from our Iranian enemies. Somehow, those Americans Ollie North worked so hard to get back have no parralell's to the Americans now dying in Iraq. I digress.

Luckily for us, someone leaked this neato discussion board that WaPo was having on the inside. From FishBowlDC we get to see what at least two reporters think about sources:
"Jeff Leen: Before we draw and quarter Woodward for making a mistake that he has apologized for, let's take a moment to remember what the man has meant to this institution. Bob would be the first to tell you that he is not bigger than this institution, and I do not think it is fair to claim that he operates off the reservation or by his own set of journalistic rules that do not comport with ours. This is no time to trot out the Judy Miller comparisons. I worked with him on the stories he wrote that won this paper the Pulitzer for national reporting after 9/11. I, for one, would not question his methods. Bob does the hard work and the digging and when he makes a promise to a source, he keeps it, as all of us should. He didn't produce a line of coverage that was flat-out wrong. He didn't mislead his editors, he simply didn't tell them something he should have. That is serious, I grant you. But understandable under the circumstances. He chose not to participate in a story that would have had the end result of unmasking his sources. Now, maybe you make your living with anonymous sources or maybe you don't, but if you do, you know one thing, and that is that you do not reveal your sources when the heat is on or under any other circumstance--when it is politically expedient or when it is economically expedient or when it is journalistically expedient or when it is legally expedient. If your source is the devil, you keep his confidence. Anonymous sources have to be used carefully. They have to be checked and triangulated and buttressed with documents and other sources. Bob Woodward is the most careful person I know in the use of unnamed sources. Over his more than 30-year career there is no Wen Ho Lee or WMD or anything else like that. The man made a mistake. But he has given this institution far more than he has taken from it.

Peter Baker: Re: Jeff Leen's comment, hear hear. Everyone makes mistakes and pays the price. But Bob has been an exceptionally generous colleague and model of integrity for longer than any of us posting today have been at the paper. He's partly responsible for the fact that we have such a special place to practice our craft in the first place. Let the nattering nabobs on the outside have their pound of flesh. But Bob has more than earned our understanding, forgiveness, support and loyalty."

Emphasis mine.

First of all, Bob Woodward is a man, if you cut him he bleeds, he eats sleeps and shits. I don't give a shit who he helped take down, even still attytood makes the Deep Throat climax of Woodward's life look less lusterous.

Trotting out Judy Miller comparisons? Well let's see. Judy knew things her editors didn't. SO did Woodward. If you got one thing that is congruent, I think a comparison is fair game. Just like all democrats are liberal wahckjob Michael Moore lovers. Woodward can be labeled Mr. Run Amok.

Mr. Woodward chose not to participate in a story? No, he chose not to participate in an investigation! He was too chickenshit to get suppoenaed thinking his ass would wind up in jail or worse. He was a smart guy though. He could have at any time (perhaps during one of his televised pundit pageants) that his ass would not wind up in jail and that his source whom had potentially broken a law could have. Even then his source would just be part of the investigation, and as such, he would have just been able to tell his story. In short, wether or not the crime was committed was up to Fitzgerald to figure out, and Woodward should have been smart enough to know that.

Maybe I am smarter than Woody?!

Finally Mr. Jeff Leen and Mr. Peter Baker (who agrees wholeheartedly apparently), satan would be kept safe? Really?

WOW! What if Satan gave you a scoop under double super secret background that he was going to kill the President of the United States?

Would you then be sworn to secrecy until you met up with Satan in hell one day? I doubt it. I think you would print that story and then you would realize that it is a crime to conspire to kill the President (or perhaps you would realize the crime ahead of time if you had written books such as those penned by Woody).

What then? Would your allegiance stil be with the devil? Or would it rest at the feet of the American people or the readers of the rag you write for? You know the folks who increase or decrease the circulation, thus ad revenue, thus PAY YOUR SALARY!



Why are we in Iraq?

There is lots of groundhog day type of stuff happening around the blogpsphere ever since Bush has said Democrats are trying to revise history. The left is just constantly regurgitating the truths about the Robb-Silberman Report (whose scope did not include use of intelligence by administration officials), and all other things that would be put in Michael Moore land by anyone worshipping the president. Josh Marshall has an excellent capitulation of just how twisted these bastards had to be to do what they did.

All this revisionism talk by POTUS and Vice POTUS and their surrogates though has forced this debate upon the blogosphere, and luckily the media has picked up on it as well. NPR was able to at least call them out on at least one of their recent lies. How long has it been since any major media outlet put the facts so bluntly? I dunno.

So it would be nice and interesting to see if the media catches this train and runs with it. Perhaps we will finally have an airing out of all these revisionist statements that have been primarily made by the jingoistic chicken hawks on the right. If that is the case, then this move could well backfire on the administration causing deeper downturns in various poll numbers.

For in the concerto they were waving their batons to in 2002-2003 the drumbeats for war, along with the trumpeting of patriotism sort of placed the media citizens into a daze. The daze allowed the Pied Pipers' concert to continue while the ushers would drag the dissenting hecklers out of the auditorium.

Well, now that the tune has gone sour, and the pied pipers have lost their magical flutes, the crowd has risen. The hecklers are once again welcomed back into the hall, and they seem to be taking the baton over from the maestro.

Essentially, we now have volumes of data that is finally taken seriously, what used to pass for leftist propaganda now commands its proper level of factual respect. The intelligence is having a Frog Prince moment, and I am not sure the political supermen in the White House realized this when they started heckling the hecklers once more.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Nice Polite Republicans call Bush on a Lie

In this almost excellent segment, Jackie Northam discusses the current shit that has been shoveled by the President and Veep.

Basically, they had the soundbite of Bushie telling us that "they saw the same intelligence I did... and came to the same conclusion..."

Michelle Norris then asked Jackie if Congress had seen the same intelligence as the president.

Jackie said rather simply: "No!"

The segment was short of excellence due the next analysis regarding the Robb-Silberman report and the others. First they didn't name the reports and cited two Senate commission reports, and then they said that both showed that the administration had not pressured the Intelligence agencies for faulty intelligence.

They did mention that one of the reports' scope did not cover the whole "use of intelligence." However, that is the crux of the matter. The use of the intelligence.

They almost vindicated themselves, but fell far short.

Listen to the whole thing...


Murtha on Newshour

US. Rep. John Murtha made some serious waves today when he became one of the first Iraq hawk Democrat to call for an immediate withdrawal of troops. The Newshour's Margaret Warner interviewed him on the Newshour (video should be available shortly).

We saw an unusually beligerent Warner openly frustrated when she couldn't get a word in edgewise against Murtha's comments. Warner was downright upset when she couldn't get her Republican talking points aired out over Murtha's comments.

When she tried to interupt with "cut and run, send in more troops, and the president says blah blah" kinda crap, Murtha put her right in her place with talk about how badly bruised our military is, how the President has been wrong, and how we are doing a disservice to the soldiers by staying there.

Every single presidential talking point was shot down rather excellently by our new hero Rep. John Murtha.

Watch the whole thing...


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

WHAAAA! Hogwash!

Sylvester The Cat (as I like to call her) was rather upset with the loss. Somehow, this editorial wasn't chewed up, and spit out by any of us here on Fellow Blue Jays (thats the official/unofficial name for members of by the way) please accept my appologies and engorge in the following snarky deconstruction of Sheryl "Sore Looser" Sylvester's Asbury Park Press Editorial.

Amazing what you can get away with on the weakest blog day of the week. Anyway, Sheryl is obviously pissed that she probably wont ever get to run another campaign again. (At least not in this state).

Where to begin?

Only 45 percent of registered voters bothered to go to the polls.


Turnout was low Tuesday because a significant chunk of the Democratic majority in this state could not bring itself to vote for Jon S. Corzine. New Jersey is one of the bluest states in the nation, as socially liberal and anti-George Bush a place as you are likely to find anywhere outside France.

Oui mon Shery, nous Jersians sont comme les Frances, havez vous un Galloisses? I actually accept what the professional non-partisan pollers like David Rebovich have to say on the turnout issue:

As such, it seems reasonable to conclude that the 2.1 million people who cast their ballot for them were voting for property tax relief and ethics reform. Likewise, given the finding of several polls, it is fair to assume that many of the folks who decided to sit out this election are nonetheless hoping that the state's next governor can do something about these issues. Thus, public opinion, if not votes, does provide Corzine with a mandate, and a strong one, to take action on property taxes and government ethics.

If anything his analysis is more level headed and a bit more distant than both campaigns. Unlike yours Sheryl, but hey, I would miss seeing my name in the papers everyday just as much. I feel your pain.

At this point in the state's history — a low point by most counts — it does not appear possible that any Republican could win a statewide election. Democrats are loyal voters and they are angry at the president for everything from the war to global warming. But even in their frenzy to make Bush look bad, many voters simply did not want Corzine to be their governor.

Well enough to make him Governor. What else ails you Sheryl, mon cheri?

Our tracking polls going into Election Day showed Corzine with the highest unfavorable ratings of any U.S. senator in the country. Even his supporters believe he bought his Senate seat in 2000. New Jersey's liberal newspapers — The Star-Ledger and The Record — ultimately gagged at the thought of having Corzine at the helm of the state. In a stunning stand for principle over politics, they joined the Asbury Park Press in endorsing Doug Forrester.

WOW! A double whammy, first some hooey about Corzine's approval rating, then some more hooey that the Star Ledger and APP were somehow principled in backing Forrester? Sylvester, you may make a good columnist after all is said and done. Perhaps one of them principled papers will give you a job. According to Survey USA's October 25th poll Corzine had 49%/44% aproval/disapproval, this may not be top notch but I am sure the negative campaign dragged down both NJ senators. Either way, the point is mute, Jon Corzine was elected governor, and Democrats had a lot to do with it.

Any more hogwash?
Of course, pundits are saying it was Forrester's decision to run an ad with comments from Corzine's ex-wife that dragged the race into the gutter.

More hogwash.

Not according to the like the Star Ledger (which endorsed Forrester by the way). They make a pretty clear case that JoCo's late race talk and Forrester's use of it actually turned some folks off.
The Corzine campaign ran 17 negative ads against Forrester including one featuring a paraplegic teenager in a wheelchair erroneously proclaiming "Doug Forrester doesn't support embryonic stem-cell research, therefore I don't think he supports people like me."

Corzine's ads — mostly ugly blue video footage that appeared to come from security cameras — repeated distorted and false allegations. Forrester's statements were taken out of context or completely fabricated. Corzine outspent Forrester two to one on television ads, almost all of which were negative.

By contrast, Forrester's ad quoting Joanne Corzine was elegantly simple with no sound, just music. This text was presented on a black screen: "When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, "Doug never let his family down and he won't let New Jersey down,' all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too."

Now as a voter, I lost count of how many ads there were, negative or positive, it all seems like a blur to me, the barrage was too much for my senses to handle. As for picking on Corzine's choice of producer and director, well I find that highly irrelevant. The Carl ad was controversial, but it did force your man to flip flop on stem cells. So wether it is perceived as negative or not, it worked to some extent.

By contrast, Forrester's ad quoting Joanne Corzine was elegantly simple with no sound, just music. This text was presented on a black screen: "When I saw the campaign ad where Andrea Forrester said, "Doug never let his family down and he won't let New Jersey down,' all I could think was that Jon did let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too."

The quote was taken from The New York Times, arguably the most respected Democratic-leaning newspaper in the country. It was not embellished in any way or taken out of context. Mrs. Corzine did not contact the Forrester campaign to ask that the ad be taken off the air.

In fact, in a subsequent interview with The Star-Ledger, Mrs. Corzine expanded her assertions that her husband had sold his soul to the state's party bosses. She stressed her belief that New Jersey should know that her former husband, who she had campaigned for and helped get elected to the Senate, had cast aside his principles in order to garner political support.

Rather than backfiring, as many Monday-morning quarterbacks have suggested, our final tracking showed the ad was effective in driving home questions the Forrester campaign had raised for months about Corzine's character and integrity.

Again, you should use outside pollsters to do post mortems (if you can still afford them). As for whatever it was Joanne Corzine was getting off her chest, she sure waited a long time to do it, and also seemingly came at an opportune time for the Forrester camp. Again JoCo's statements stink of suspicion.

Finally this gem:
On election night, Corzine blamed the negative campaign on his opponent and portrayed himself as the victim of "painful" political attacks. His victory speech did not include the traditional conciliatory statements that lay the groundwork for compromise and healing. Instead he continued to attack Forrester and his campaign. Mrs. Corzine appears to have been right. Her ex-husband is already letting New Jersey down.

Personally I am surprised she didn't use the fact that Jon Corzine is in Mexico this week to make the case she was trying to make in the last sentence.

The best is that she is crying for conciliatory messages from Jon Corzine himself. I remeber a speech full of togetherness, and the warm and fuzziness Sheryl seems to longing for these days.

Also, what does it say when the PR person from the other side writes a scathing post-election loss editorial? Coming from someone who should (by representing the other side) be "laying the groundwork for compromise and healing," these comments fall a wee bit short of "conciliatory."

Hypocritic, yes. Conciliatory, no.

If the Forrester camp will keep pumping this type of stuff out, I prefer the "blame Bush" meme. It comes accross as less emotional, more reactionary, and more in line with Forrester's character.


Hagel gets tough, but Tyson is tougher

Lots a chatta about what flew out of Chuck Hagel's mouth yesterday! Good for him. He is a true maverick in the Republican party if he is starting to talk sense. Perhaps it was all those years in Vietnam.

However, I won't regurgitate what you can already find on 19 other blogs (according to the nifty technorati box). Nay. I will point out the last few paragraphs that perhaps nobody got far enough into since they probably read Hagel's stuff and went directly to their blogs.

This is a good few graphs to point to whenever a rightwing nutjob brings up that whole "but Clinton said Iraq had WMD's too.":
Rumsfeld described an evolution of U.S. policy toward Iraq embraced by Democrats and Republicans. He read several quotes from 1998 from then-President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger. They predicted that Hussein, if unchecked, would again use weapons of mass destruction.

However, many of the comments cited by Rumsfeld were used to justify continued sanctions on Iraq, not to invade it. Moreover, the Clinton administration officials did not cite the problematic intelligence that formed the core of the Bush administration's case for an invasion, such as allegations that Iraq sought uranium in Africa and tried to obtain aluminum tubes as part of a resurgent nuclear program.

Rumsfeld also pointed to congressional actions in 1998 and 2002 calling for Hussein's removal. But the 1998 law, signed by Clinton, said "nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to use of United States Armed Forces" to implement it.

Thanks Ann Tyson, for pointing out the obvious. Yes, perhaps Clinton was concerned, but not concerned enough to kill 2060+ Americans and 100,000+ Iraqis, and waste $300 billion in the process.



Funny how this type of thing didn't happen after 9/11. Instead most of the folks in equivalent positions were awarded medals and given promotions. If anything this only demonstrates that sometimes in a monarchy, you have more, accountability then say in the "oldest democracy in the world."

I realize that George Tenet and a few others quit after a while, but it took them about a year or two. These attacks happened a couple of weeks ago and already they had the decency to look in the mirror and say... You fucked up... Maybe this isn't the right job for you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Calling Newshour Editors...

In the News summary on yesterday's Newshour, the graphic hovering above Gwen Ifill's shoulder during her summary of the Plan B news was a bit misleading.

In fact it was completely misleading. The graphic had the words Plan B in the upper left corner, and had the words "RU-486" in the lower right corner. (I am hoping someone can produce the video).

RU-486 as many will know is the "abortion pill." Which has been demonized in conventional wisdom byt he pro-life right. From the Plan B website:
Plan B® is not RU-486 (the abortion pill); it will not work if you are already pregnant.

Look Newshour folks, the FDA has already determined the fate of a drug that, if approved for over the counter use, can reduce the amount of unborn baby murders by 1.5 million per year. Plan B doesn't needs any help from the Newshour in turning public opinion against it. Leave that to the pro-lifers.


Monday, November 14, 2005


Last weeks Senate Hearings focused some new attention on the Big Oil companies. Somehow I wound up watching Exxon Mobile's cheif Raymond, interviewed on the Wall Street Journal Report. Not much was gained or learned from the hearings or from the interview except that regulatory loopholes tend to bog down the Poor Big Oil company's refining capacity. On the surface, this arguement is laughable. For an industry whose Subsidy steak has recently been drizzled with a succulent Subsidy sauce is complaining about regulatory hurdles? An industry who has achieved almost every single regulatory thing it has ever wanted and whose greatest loss recently involves iffiness of ANWR? They haven't even lost this one yet, its been tabled.

They sure do spend tons of money lobbying. If not for the results achieved I would almost feel sorry for them. Maybe its time they fired their lobbyists. It is obvious that their money is going towards things they don't really need, like easing restrictions in regulations governing refinery building. Right? Time to change focus from ANWR to Refinery. Why don't we let them do what the Credit Card Companies did and write their own bill.

It could be called something misleading too, like say, The American Refinery Bill or TAR. It even fits in with the industry!

Again the surface argument that somehow they can't find a way to make congress do their bidding tends to blow up in one's face when one reports the largest quarterly profits known to man. Taking the Republican arguement to this would deflate it in an instant. If the regulations are strangling you, how did you break the quarterly record? Or alternatively, if the regulations are choking you now, what would happen to your profits if we eased those regulations?

Luckily there is one news program that somehow gets swept under the blogospheric rug for no reason whatsoever. NOW. Perhaps like other PBS shows it gets scant attention because liberals just trust PBS so they don't scrutinize it. With the lack attention NOW gets on the positive side, I wonder if liberals are even watching it period.

For this week, as is usually the case, NOW revealed the findings of its investigative report, and blew the lid off of all the arguments I stated above. Though while I did it on a philosophical level, NOW uses the more orthodox, "internal documents" approach. The report highlights (among other things) ways the Oil Industry has been gaming the system. They have been shutting down their own refineries on one hand and bitching to congress about how hard it is to cut through the red tape to build more. They will export gas at the same time boo-hooing that Katrina pissed their supply away. Though of course, without a swearing in ceremony, perhaps lying to congress wont come back and bite the Big Oil Execs in the ass.

At least, NOW calls them on all their bullshit.

Watch it. Weekly.


Plan B - The Subvergence of Science

So it turns out that the GAO performed a wee investigation as to why the hell the FDA didn't let Plan B be sold OTC.
Federal health officials didn't follow normal procedures in rejecting over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill - and some documents suggest the decision was made even before scientists finished reviewing the evidence, congressional investigators reported Monday.

Politics trumped science, immediately charged long-suspicious members of Congress who had requested the independent audit.


In December 2003, FDA's scientific advisers overwhelmingly backed over-the-counter sales for all ages, citing assessments that easier access could halve the nation's 3 million annual unintended pregnancies.


But the following May, FDA leaders rejected that recommendation, citing concern about young teens' use of the pills without a doctor's guidance.

BOO. So why would the FDA curb its scientific advisors, and not want to save 1.5 million unborn baby lives each year? They must hate America or babies, or perhaps both.
The independent Government Accountability Office reviewed FDA's first rejection, uncovering what they called "unusual" decision-making. Among the findings:

_Conflicting accounts of whether the decision was made months before scientific reviews were completed.

_Unusual involvement from high-ranking agency officials.

_Three FDA directors who normally would have been responsible for signing off on the decision did not do so because they disagreed with it.

WHOOPS. Looks like the typical pattern these days. Some sort of conflicting account about when and where the decision was made, followed by unusual involvement from high-ranking officials. Followed by dissent among folsk who would normally have been signing off on these types of decisions.

Can we get the GAO to investigate the Iraq War, you know just to quelch all that talk about Democrats "rewriting history." For more history revisionism see here then here.


"the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion"

Great for the Right...Bad for the Left.

Either way, given this revelation, I wonder if Arlen Specter and the other pro-choicers on the Judiciary Committee will be voting on Sam Alito. Or will they let him slip by discussing how his position has somehow "evolved" or "morphed" since 1985.

This is what I don't get, Republicans are fast to bring up the history of Judges who have gotten an up or down vote, yet they are nto willing to use articles of one's personal history to extract opinions about a Judicial Appointee's philosophy:
A leading Republican involved in the nomination process insisted that this does not prove Judge Alito, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, will overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion a constitutional right.
"No, it proves no such thing," said the Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "In fact, if you look at some of the quotes of his former law clerks, they don't believe that he'll overturn Roe v. Wade."


"The issue is not Judge Alito's political views during the Reagan administration 20 years ago," the Republican official said. "It's his 15 years of jurisprudence, which can be evaluated in hundreds of opinions. And in none of those opinions is it evident what his political philosophy is.

Fantastic. As if these folks put on the robe and all their emotions and personal opinions are washed away.

BULLSHIT, here it is straight from the horses mouth:

"I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values," he wrote.
"In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation by the judiciary of decision-making authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate," he added.


When I first became interested in government and politics during the 1960s, the greatest influences on my views were the writings of William F. Buckley Jr., the National Review, and Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign," he said. "In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause, and reapportionment.

Personally, I am getting off the "let's wait for the hearings" train and calling for a fillibuster right now. This guy is obviously a wankerific choice suitable for remaining on the 3rd circuit but certainly unsuited for a seat on the most prestigious Supreme Court.


Forrester blames Bush

Sunday talkers tried to spin last week's election results into some sort of ominous sign for George Bush and House Republicans come 2006. Some of the Sunday talkers went so far as to say that the Corzine campaign focused on linking Doug Forrester to George Bush (citing this ad). On the surface, and in the beltway, there may very well be some sort of "Bush effect" to the Republican losses in VA, NJ, and CA. While I can't speak for the other states, I can speak for NJ. The NJ campaign despite Doug Forrester's fiercest attempts to the contrary, focused on issues relevant to New Jerseyans. After all, where in the Bush agenda lie property taxes, corruption, and affordable cost of living? Ignoring the obvious joke that can come of this question, the beltway talkers missed the fact that Forrester had never achieved the magical 50% barrier in the polls. As a candidate, he waffled on issue after issue, his tax plan was pie-in-the-sky, promises without substance abounded, in short... Doug Forrester didn't loose because of George Bush, Doug Forrester lost because of Doug Forrester.

Then of course, one reads an article like this one. Where in his first post-loss interview, Doug Forrester uses the dimming spotlight to jump on the bandwagon with the rest of the Beltway Bunch and blames George W. Bush for his loss.

You know, for the party that totes personal responsibility as one of their mantras, it seems that factor is leaking out of Republicans faster than the money in the Federal Reserve. You have Karl Rove involved in leaking but not enough to invoke a resignation, you have the war in Iraq going horribly yet not horribly enough to get a resignation from the Secretary of Defense, and now you have Republican's loosing elections but not accepting any of the blame.

Doug Forrester, sorry, you lost because you were a weak candidate, without any real plans, without any real vision, slinging slogans and insults, while being a participant in almost every corrupt behavior you seemed to denounce on the other side. Doug Forrester lost every demographic and age group from women to men and from rich white's to poor minorities. Yes, the ad the Beltway Bunch toted did have an effect. However, if you want to analyze ads, the negative ads Forrester ran including the one that backfired had quite an effect as well.

But let's not sell our Democrats short here. As a Bush anti-sypatico myself, I welcome any talk that Bush had an effect around the country. If anything, it generates "Republican BAD, Democrat GOOD" talk. However, the sum of the parts of the Corzine campaign were larger than any Bush effect in the New Jersey race. Jon Corzine won by toting Democratic ideals and ideas. He won toting expansion of health care coverage, better education, homeland security, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, and many many more. His liberal voting record in the Senate was welcomed by this state, a record which included a vote against the Iraq war. So perhaps the Bush effect was present on November 8th, but the Democrat effect was perhaps even more present. People are waking up to the Democratic agenda and they like snuggling up right next to it.

The time for the party of personal responsibility to start taking on some of that very ideal is long overdue. The losers in this election should look within. Doug Forrester lost this election, handily, all on his own. He would have lost it with or without the help of George Bush. Doug Forrester would have lost this election if Dwight D. Eisenhower himself came back from the dead and endorsed him.

Doug Forrester, and the national Republicans should stop blaming others for their short comings, and start blaming themselves. Besides, the "Blame Bush" line belongs to the Democrats.


Friday, November 11, 2005


deedy Patty Patty Buch Buch...


9 Senators don't believe in Congressional Oversight

On the Amendment to require reports on clandestine facilities for the detention of individuals captured in the global war on terrorism.

Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
DeMint (R-SC)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Martinez (R-FL)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)
Vitter (R-LA)

The aye's have it.

Perhaps these folks don't want their job any more.


A tale of two judges - IOKIYAR

Let's get this straight.
In a case against a famous Republican, the initial presiding judge had to be replaced because he gave money to Democrats. This was due to a perceived conflict of interest in a case based on money exchanging hands by Republicans. Fair enough right? Right.

Now, a AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truthsoon to be famous Republican Judge, decides its OK to rule in three cases involving Investment firms (that happen to be managing said judge's money), as well as said judge's sister's law firm. As if this wasn't bad enough, he documented his agreement of recusal in a questionnaire that the Senate based its confirmation Pageant on. Still not convinced of the shittiness of all of this?

This judge submitted this questionnaire and backed it up Under Oath. Despite his lame excuses, shouldn't this be a cause for DEBARMENT? As in, you can no longer be a judge, let alone sit on the highest most powerful court in the land?

Senators please, if these three reasons are not enough to convince you that this man cannot not be trusted at his word, even under your quaint oath, perhaps this is a good enough reason to not give him the privilege Bush seeks to bestow upon him.


Judy gets testy with NPR's Montagne

There are various timepoints in this interview when Judy Miller gets all "I'm beyond reproach" on Renee Montagne. Judy blames editors for her shitty reporting. The best part though is when Renee asks Judy about Libby (about 2 mins 09 secs):

Rough Transcript:
MONTAGNE: In your reporting of it, you agreed to identify Lewis Libby as a former hill staffer.

MILLER: NO I DIDN'T. I agreed to listen to that information in that way.

MONTAGNE (cutting her off): How do you mean, for the average person, what does it mean to listen to the information that way.

MILLER: ... It is very common in Washington, to hear information on the basis of one attribution, then go back to that source IF your going to use that information, and say you know, this attribution really won't fly, let's come up with an attribution that more accurately reflects your job and what you do.

MONTAGNE (again cutting off): But does that work? Are you saying you do that frequently, make an agreement to hear information under one...

MILLER: ... I say it is often done... Renee I am not going to argue with you...
(listen to the whole thing, and of course the emphasis is mine)
If Judy is right, then the Kocktail Klub Kids in DC are indeed taking their positions as watchdogs rather loosely.

As Atrios would say, nothing a blogger ethics conference couldn't sift out for sure.

UPDATE! Bienvenue Crapheads Y'all come back now ya hear!


Thursday, November 10, 2005


If story is correct: then why isn't Joe Biden's name on the Nay section of this list of votes.



Read the whole thing


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Though some colleagues disagreed with my decision to testify, for me to have stayed in jail after achieving my conditions would have seemed self-aggrandizing martyrdom or worse, a deliberate effort to obstruct the prosecutor's inquiry into serious crimes

Man its a good thing Judy didn't stay in jail after acheiving her conditions. It really would have seemed like self-aggrandizing martyrdom or worse, a deliberate effort to obstruct the prosecutor's inquiry into serious crimes.
She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, sources said.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Why I Felt Good Voting for Jon Corzine

In the words of Steven Colbert:

"The man has Balls"

It took balls to pull Goldman Sachs out of a problem he was sort of involved in creating, and still make his company money in the process.

This demonstrates enormous problem solving talents,and the humility to fix one's own mistakes. We all know that Jersey has its share of problems that need solving. We also know that accountability seems to be missing in today's political landscape.

It took balls to vote against the Iraq war. He was one of 23 Senators who didn't trust what the President and Ahmed Chalabi was telling him. If anything this demonstrates that he knows a lie when he sees it.

It also took balls to help out Loretta Weinberg in Bergen county. This demonstrated the greatest use of his testicular fortitude. For this demonstrates that he is willing to change the political structure and culture of New Jersey. A willingness to stand up to Democrat bosses that have corrupted our great state's political process.

Perhaps his greatest move should he be elected would be to stand up to yet another party boss that has lost all credibility (and seemingly accountability) in the district he represents in the United States Congress. Hopefully, the balls Senator Corzine has shown throughout his political life, will once more be utilized in making the gutsy decision to NOT appoint Bob Menendez to his Senate seat. As a constituent of Congressman Menendez, I have seen many reasons to oppose him, and very few to support him occupying the seat the Senator Corzine used to do so much good over the past five years.

Governor Elect Jon Corzine, I for one am looking forward to your 4 years in office, may the testicular fortitude you have shown throughout your life, guide you through the tough challenge ahead.


BREAKING: Bond V. Durbin On Newshour

In a debate regarding torture. Durbin kept taking the high road, Bond kept denying we engage in torture. The talking points were spewing from his mouth as if he had just downloaded the podcast into his brain...

When he started loosing the battle, as was inevitable...

Bond attacked with the usual, out of context "you compared us to nazi's....WHHAAAA!" character assassination. Dick Durbin who was shown side by side to Bond, just shook his head and looked at Bond with a dissapointed look. Like the kind your mom used to give you when she knew you were lying to her...

Durbin: "I can't believe you are doing this"

Bond: "You You ... Ya You ...Said it on Blah WHAA WHAA WHAA.



Denver Legalizes Marijuana

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

(ps. I know I am a wee bit late on this one, but well... I have been celebrating Denver's brave public! hehe!)


Let's Review

Good Political Theater:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid dramatically wrenched the political agenda from the Republican majority Monday by forcing the Senate into secret session.

Bad Poilitical Theater:
Republican House and Senate leaders today sought a Congressional probe into who leaked information on the existence of CIA-run secret prisons abroad to the Washington Post.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) circulated a letter asking the intelligence committees to "immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media," about the existence of the prisons.

The reason?
Too funny! Hastert and Frist make a big show of calling for an investigation into a leak allegedly affecting national security -- the locations of secret "black site" torture prisons. And then -- BOOM!!! Lott just said, Tuesday afternoon, that he thinks it was a GOP Senator who leaked the info to the Washington Post last week. He says the details had been discussed at a GOP Senators-only meeting last week, and that many of those details made it into the WaPo story.

Money quote from Lott; "We can not remain silent. We have met the enemy, and it is us."

All just reported on CNN. We are, folks, witnessing the full-on implosion of the national Republican Party. And not a second too soon.


Friday, November 04, 2005

A Small Victory

For the left and for PBS. I love PBS I really really love PBS.

And I am glad that they have rid themselves of scum sucking pigs like Ken Tomlinson.

The great unravelling seems to be occuring... Grab ya' popcorn kids.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Business Climate in NJ - Sunny

For the masochists who are not content with 5 word headlines. Enjoy reading the thousands of words I amassed to describe why Doug Forrester's dismal view of New Jersey's affinity for business is in a word...


As promised I have delved a bit into both the Entrepreneur piece and the Beacon Hill study cited by Doug Forrester in his poopy descriptions of the current NJ business climate.

Let's compare Entrepreur's apples to Forrester's apples and see if one of them is an orange.

First off, who did the research:

The Entrepreneur piece is based on research done by the National Policy Research Council whose mission statement claims:
is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to serving state and local policymakers. We were founded on the principle that governments, and those who run them, face unique challenges and constraints that require equally unique solutions. We understand that while state and local officials can perform many functions on their own, in today's increasingly complex society they need access to highly specialized resources, both to perform those functions for which they lack the capabilities and to enhance their existing capacities and processes.

Our mission is to develop, enhance and sustain our clients' capacity to carry out their public policy functions more efficiently and effectively. Relying on our core values and expert professionals, we provide Frontier Solutions to today's most challenging policy issues.

Best of the Brightest
We are committed to hiring only the best of the brightest people from premier institutions across the globe. Our entry-level professionals are recruited from a small group of top tier universities. Our mid-career professionals come from leading consulting companies, think tanks, and law firms.

Timely, Accurate & Objective
We maintain a steadfast dedication to delivering timely, accurate, objective offerings based on the most current available data and exhaustive research. It is doubtful that any company commits as much resources to safeguarding these essential values as we do.

Their mission statement alone is lengthier and more comprehensive than that belonging to the Beacon Hill Institute:
Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, the Beacon Hill Institute engages in rigorous economic research and conducts educational programs for the purpose of producing and disseminating readable analyses of current public policy issues to voters, taxpayers, opinion leaders and policy makers.

Statement of Vision
The Beacon Hill Institute is a world-renowned learning and research center that develops and performs innovative economic and statistical analyses of current and emerging public policy issues. It aims to strengthen that function by: providing local, state, national and international research entities with state-of-the-art tools and economic analyses, partnering with a PhD granting department of economics, and expanding its reputation for providing objective analysis to examine and influence public policy.

So in terms of partisanship of the think tank, we have a non-partisan vs. an openly conservative think tank. Statements like "world renowned" always inspire skepticism in my mind. In any case, a research center that provides the Federal Government with research on a regular basis, tends to hold more water, than a think tank that I have never heard about. However, name recognition does not equate quality... So I will give this little weight in determining which study is the most credible.

Methodology is much more important in making a judgement of credibility between 2 studies. One obvious difference is the age of the studies. The NPRC study is current as of this year, whereas the Beacon Hill study is from 2004. Typically, a more recent study is given points for credibility.

Also worth noting, the NPRC study costs $60 dollars, which is a pittance for Doug Forrester, but too much for me to dole out for a simple blogpost. So I will have to glean from the Entrepreneur article regarding their methodology.

To the credit of Beacon Hill, their study is free. In summary, their methods involve the following indices which they claim measure competitiveness:
Government and fiscal Properties (tax rates and bond ratings)
Security (crime and corruption in government)
Infrastructure (commuting, broadband availability, housing prices, and energy costs)
Human Resources (price, skill, and availability of labor force)Technology (research funding, patents issued, proportion of scientists and engineers in the work force, and high tech companies)
Business Innovation (rate of business births)
Openness (exports, and # of immigrants)
Environmental Policy (degree of environmental regulation)

Now for NPRC's Methods:
To measure business formation, researchers identify the percentage of businesses started four to 14 years ago and that employ five or more workers today. (Researchers ignore newer firms because it takes several years for new businesses to appear in national databases.) Areas then receive a rank based on that information, and this rank appears in the Young Company column. This rank represents the best places to start a new business.

To determine growth, researchers then measure the percentage of those young businesses that have experienced rapid growth over the last four years. That rank appears in the Rapid Growth column. This rank represents the best places to grow a business.

By combining the Young Company rank and the Rapid Growth rank, researchers calculate an overall Entrepreneurial Rank--the best places to start and grow a business. An area must have a large number of young businesses and be able to support their growth to achieve a high overall score. The full listing includes 276 small, midsize and large consolidated metropolitan statistical areas, 50 states and 784 counties.

So basically, we have an apples and oranges comparison to some degree here. The NPRC study is based on outcomes, whereas Beacon Hill is based on incomes (in the data sense). This is a major distinction and is probably responsible for the disparity of the results for New Jersey (and perhaps other states). I am a realist and if you want to rank a state as good to business, I like the NPRC's approach better. I realize that their approach is simpler, but it takes a larger scope in terms of time (10 years) in order to perhaps compensate for the simplicity. Either way, the fact is that Jersey businesses grew faster than almost any other state's businesses (save for Arizona) despite Beacon Hill's attempt to predict the opposite.

Any business wants to grow, and they want to grow fast. The whole point of owning a business is to make more money, and th emore money you make, the more success you have. Prospect of growth is a huge factor when looking for a location.

Beacon Hill's use of government corruption, and diversity of the workforce are questionable when it comes to rating a state's business attractiveness. While Corruption may reduce the bond rating of a state, (as has occured in NJ) it only affects state sponsored businesses, in terms of perhaps fewer federal dollars trickling in to the state. So government contract based businesses may not like states like that, however, I think most businesses depend on the free market and not the government (though I am starting to see why Forrester likes this study so much).

Also diversity. What bearing does that have in attracting businesses? If anything the more immigrants a state has, the more it can attract a business willing to exploit the immigrant workforce of said state. Is that the kind of business Doug Forrester wants to attract to New Jersey?

What about flaws?

Not having the complete methods and data set for both studies, as well as not being an expert on economical studies, limits me in determining flaws (if any) exhist in either study. However, I did find some (perhaps significant) flaws in the Beacon Hill study. This is largely due to the quantity of variables in the Beacon Hill study. As with anything, the more moving parts, the more likely they wont work in concert.

Now the Beacon Hill study methods go on to mention how their formula for calculating Competitiveness is largely dependent on per capita income. The per capita income is also a part of their human resource calculation and if the price of the workforce (in salry terms) is high, presumeably, the human resource score is low. New Jersey is well known to have the highest average per capita income. The Beacon Hill Study ranks NJ 20 in terms of Human resource scale. However, this is all besides the point.

The main indices that bring NJ down in the Beacon Hill study are Government and fiscal Policy (rank 49), Infrastructure (49), and environmental policy (50). If NJ's environmental policy is so "tough" why are we ranked numero uno in terms of toxic waste dumps Superfund sites? Despite its shortcommings, government and fiscal policy did not have an effect on the growth of business as described in the NPRC study.

As for Infrastructure, commuting times, rent costs, and energy costs are what drove that index down for NJ. Somehow, high-speed (communications) lines are placed in this category (where NJ's ranking is #2) instead of the technology category (where NJ ranks 26th).

So yes, I believe the Beacon Hill study is flawed, perhaps not in its indices per say, but the fact that it is not outcomes based makes it less credible.

For a man with "an accountant's penchant for detail" and "a passion for minutiae" (as the NYTimes put it), it seems rather odd that Doug Forrester would pick this study with its various flaws over other more credible studies.

To me, the NPRC study featured in Entrepreneur magazine, is simply more credible due to its outcomes based analysis, its simplicity, and its large temporal scope. Entrepreneur expanded on the numbers as well, and elaborates on why NJ is so great for business:
"New Jersey is the state with the highest population density and the highest [household] income," says Hopper. "That means we have a lot of people here who spend a lot of money." The state boasts world-class colleges, including Princeton University, and its profoundly developed land, sea and air facilities make it a magnet for transportation service firms. New York City and Philadelphia also offer opportunities for small firms to provide back-office operations to those cities' sizable financial service industries, Hopper says.

New Jersey remains congested--Newark's 31.5-minute average commute time ranks behind only Chicago and New York City--but as long as it retains its strategic position between East Coast population centers, the state is likely to continue to be one of the best places for entrepreneurs to tap into the country's richest markets.

Ms. Hopper from the Newark Small Business Development Center sums it up with the most basic of phrases. She reminds Beacon Hill, NPRC, Doug Forrester, and even myself that despite data dredging, and think tank analysis, consumption drives economies. With its "rich", and numerous population, New Jersey can safely claim a high place in entrepreneurial hearts for a long time to come.


Drilling for Caribou

ANWAR!!! Back in the news thanks to a recent slipping into some other bill that according to Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, is a wasteland barren and suitable only for drilling oil.

So Gwen Ifill had Fenton Rexford, and Eleanor Huffines on to discuss the matter. Gwen opens the discussion by asking the Parka sporting Mr. Rexford (you know so he looks like a real Alaskan), what the place looks like. The ensueing descriptions took quite some time. Now I know that PBS is strapped for cash, but they manage to get TV cameras all over the globe, it struck me that they can't outfit their Alaska correspondent with a TV camera and buy him a helicopter ride over the area so that we could have some visual aid to go along with Rexford and Huffines descriptions.

I digress... The following is how both viewpoint analyses of ANWR ended up
GWEN IFILL: You heard what Senator Stevens just said; he said it's not beautiful at all, that there's not much there.

FENTON REXFORD: Yes. Well, in the wintertime it's -- it is a wasteland. I mean, it is, you know, barren. There's no animals -- hardly any animals there in wintertime. So --

GWEN IFILL: So you think it would be a good idea to drill there?


ELEANOR HUFFINES: I have spent quite a bit of time there, Gwen. I'm not as fortunate as Fenton to live there but over the past 15 years I've traveled there numerous times and every time the arctic refuge surprises me: Wolves hunting caribou, nesting swans, the light on the Arctic Ocean. It's quite an incredible natural ecosystem in motion.

And then one of the more incredible things is that people often misrepresent drilling. It does not occur just in the winter. So during those critical summer months -- it happens all year round -- exploration, development, and production occurs.

GWEN IFILL: So you think it would be a bad idea to extend the exploration into that area?

We live in a time when journalists (including Gwen Ifill) walk on eggshells about making assumptions based on things their interviewees say. If there is one thing that the media is cautious about (since Rathergate), its to refrain from reduceing blather soup into an opinion glaze. How the hell does describing ANWR as either a barren wasteland or a beautiful garden of Eden add up to a stance on oil drilling there?

The conversation then turns to Caribou, and wether or not their habitat will be affected by say plopping on some gravel roads, oil pumps, rigs, trucks to and fro, pipelines, etc... in essense turning this:

Into looking more like this:

Righto Gwen, a good journalist would ask about the livelihood of Caribou with the guy who doles out licenses to shoot Caribou.

Yes the guy in the authentic Alaskan Parka is the Chairman of the North Slope Borough Fish and Game Committee.

Then gems keep comming form Gwen's illustrious mouth:
GWEN IFILL: It's your wildlife and your culture, Mr. Rexford. What is to be lost or gained if this were to happen?

You see Gwen, this is the problem, it may be Mr. Rexford belongs to a culture, and he may even co-exist with the wildlife you speak of, BUT HE DOESN'T OWN ANY OF IT. There is no deed signed off to Mr. Parka wearer that grants him ownership of his culture or the Caribou. Caribou may be good farm animals, they may even be able to milk Caribou and make cheese out of it. Mr. Parka wearer, however, isn't engaged in any of these activities that come with Caribou ownership. He isn't a Caribou farmer, he is the Chairman of the club for Caribou hunters and presumeably a Caribou hunter himself. Gwen didn't ask so the public won't ever know.

Then Gwen does the trendy thing and rams some Republican talking points down our eyes and ears:
GWEN IFILL: But economically this would be a boom to the region?

FENTON REXFORD: Yes, economically, jobs, schools, good clinics, good, you know, modern communications. We didn't have that just in the 1970s era.

GWEN IFILL: Ms. Huffines, you heard Senator Talent say it should be a no-brainer -- that we should be allowed to look for oil within our borders considering the fact that there are so many shortages and prices are going up. What's your response to that?

Nice... yes I had already heard Mr. Talent in the beginning of the segment Gwen, I don't need you to remind me of what he said.

Then she sprinkles some naivety into another question
GWEN IFILL: But if this is supposed to be only drilling in the winter and ice roads, which melt away come spring, what kind of footprint will it leave?

Oh, yes the footprint, I think I already addressed this with those pictures. But I will revisi. Somehow, Gwen's mind didn't come accross the notion that corporations willing to lobby and spur a national debate over drilling, will also play by the rules and always act in good faith. The Big Oil Corporations eager only to expand their profits will always stay within whatever imaginary boundaries they are given. They never "do whatever it takes" to get to the oil or anything like that...

Well she goes on to discussing quality of life for Mr. Parkawearer and he tells us that only in the year 2000 have they had plumbing and flusheable toilets.

The debate ends pretty soon after that. Somehow I felt like something was missing...

Somehow, in a discussion about drilling for oil, the topic of how much oil there actually is got lost. Also lost in the debate over Caribou was wether or not alternative energy sources could fuel the same economic booms to Mr. Parkawearer's community.


All raods lead to Cheney?

This won't come as a surprise to any who like me obsess over politics. I woke up to Steve Inskeep talking to Larry Wilkerson, in my shifty slumber I was listening to Larry talking about how people were steamrolled by the cabal that was Dick Cheney. It infuriated me on various fronts. First because I already knew Dick Cheney was running the country. Second because he was blaming Cheney for all things that I (and the left) had placed at the doormat of President Bush, from the war, to the torture going on at various prisons known and unknown.

So besides infuriating me by bursting my "Bush-is-the-evilest-man-on-the-planet bubble, Larry was doing something else. Speaking out... Today...


Where were you Larry, 3 years ago when you coulda quelshed the drumbeats for war? It isn't like you couldn't be anonymous. Shit Judy Miller was doling out anonimity and false titles to folks back then, and I am sure Dana Priest could have given you the same treatment.

Larry "Buck-short-dollar-late Wilkerson you and Steve Inskeep shoulda been pumpin through my clock radio 3 years ago if you wanted to make a difference.

It seems that it takes a Fitzgerald to get any Accountability done in Washington these days.

Wilkerson, thanks to your 3 years of silence 2000+ Americans have died, countless innocent brown people have died, hundreds have been tortured, our nation's treasure has been pilfered, and our standing in the world has been shot.

If you sleep better tonight for spilling your guts on Morning Edition, fine. I know many many many many more won't cuz they will have to deal with the memory of the one they lost. The one you could've saved had you done what you did today, 3 years ago.



Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wanker of the day

Doug Forrester for promising to pay people $20 for feigning support, giving people a ride to the venue of support, then backing out on the $20 and the ride back home,,,

Leaving some stranded on the streets of Newark sans the $20 they were promised.

Mr. End Pay to Play, I tip my hat to thee OH WANKTANKEROUS ONE!!!



Enlighten NJ (whom I will not link to) has promised some sort of damaging tape to the Corzine Camp. He posted on October 27th at 6:51 PM that within 48 hours he would produce this tape or it would appear in the media. So I have place a countdown clock here displaying how long its been since Enlighten NJ has promised this tape.

Sorry folks... If Enlighten doesn't come up with his proported tape, what made you think I would...

Try Door #2


Blogger Power!!

I cross posted this post on, and Corzine Connection yesterday and Matt was kind enough to front page me...

Today Brian Lehrer (podcast) had Doug Forrester on (I live blogged it at and a caller (Lindsay) asked precisely the question about Entrepreneur Magazine rating NJ as the #2 place to start a business...

Lindsay asked Forrester to square his position (of NJ being number 45th) with Entrepreneur Magazine's #2 rating... Forrester cited (presumeably) this Beacon Hill study (pdf).

For the Record, Beacon Hill Institute resides in Suffolk University and is a conservative think tank (in Flaming liberalville Boston?!?) whose mission is... ahem:
Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets

I will delve into the Beacon Hill study to see if it is flawed in any way. If so... I will report back to you my fellow readers.


What did the 5 fingers say to the face?



So, seems the saavy parliamentarian named Harry Reid, busted out the "turn his mic off" rule in the Senate. This severly pissed off Bill Frist who had settled into his cozey, mosey-through-business pace he had gotten used to. Bill "I am outraged" Frist was mad because he wasn't consulted on this maneuver. Poor Poor Frist. WAAH!

Now this wasn't just a wee power grab by the Dems. This was a wee power grab by the Dems that actually resulted in ... ACTION.

Yes, whatever Reid said behind closed doors, resulted in getting Sen. Pat Roberts off his lazy ass foot dragging on the second phase of the investigation into the intelligence boondoggle that has led to 2000 American deaths and over 100,000 Iraqi deaths.
In the end, lawmakers agreed to name three members from each party to assess the state of the Intelligence Committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence and report back by Nov. 14.

Now for the liberal media challenge of the day...

Find this story on the front page of the NYTimes:


Forrester on the Brian Lehrer Show

Today at 10 AM.

You can listen to the show at

You can email Brian Lehrer with any questions you might have.

Here is a good question:

Mr. Forrester, your positions tend to waver with the polls. Can you please clarify, once and for all, your position on public funding for embryonic stem cell research, as well as who you think should pay for cleaning up Ringwood?

Judging by your public statements, you seem to have been against embryonic stem cell research, before you were for it, with the contention that you wouldn't fund it with state funds.

Your public record also says that you were first FOR having tax payer funds pay for cleaning up Ringwood, but as of last night's debate, you seem to now want to put the financial responsibility into polluter's hands.

As a follow-up question, wouldn't many consider this flip-flopping, waffling, and at the very least misleading?


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Forrester Fact Check

The Bergen Record recently interviewed Doug Forrester during which he said this:
I'm saying at least for four years that we're not going to increase taxes in New Jersey because we can't. And the reason we can't is because the state has to send that signal to the business community and the people who are leaving New Jersey.

There is a very serious problem with regard to the business climate. You know we're ranked 44th in terms of business competitiveness. New businesses, most of those started by women, fail at twice the national average. We've got a distinctly inhospitable environment for small businesses, 45th in the nation.

Hmmff... Not according to Entrepreneur magazine they recently ranked NJ as the #2 hotspots for starting a small business (also graphic here).

So Doug, where are you getting your numbers?

I wonder how the Bergen Record feels about endorsing a liar.

UPDATE: BLOGGER POWER... I cross posted this post on, and Corzine Connection yesterday and Matt was kind enough to front page me...

Today Brian Lehrer had Doug Forrester on and a caller (Lindsay) asked precisely this question... Asked Forrester to square his position with Entrepreneur Magazine's #2 rating... Forrester cited this Beacon Hill study. For the Record, Beacon Hill is a conservative think tank whose mission is... ahem:
Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets

I will delve into the Beacon Hill study to see if it is in anyway flawed. If so... I will report back to you my fellow readers.