Sunday, June 27, 2004
The opening of Farenheit 9-11 on Friday was an amazing scene. If you haven't caught it yet, do: it is a very well put together, deeply wrenching and emotionally draining (if not entirely flawless) piece of anti-propaganda. The synopsis of House of Bush, House of Saud (a book illustrating the deep and long standing ties that the Bush family has to Saudi Arabian royalty, including the bin Laden family) that you get from seeing it alone is worth the price of admission. I love opening nights or any time that the audience really gets into it, and I've never seen a movie provoke a crowd like this one. The show we caught was completely sold out with hardly an empty seat, which added even more voltage.

The Democratic Service Club and SB Progressive Coalition put on our voter registration & information table at the theater for three of the four shows. We had three shifts of five volunteers each scheduled to handle the throngs, but the people scheduled brought friends and others just showed up, so we had ended up with a small army behind the table helping people with voter registration, getting Kerry bumper stickers into folks' hands and so on. A million thanks to everyone who helped.

The News-Press provided some weirdly anti-Democrat coverage of the scene (paid registration required) in Saturday's paper. The table is described as "Democrats only." While this is true, it's something of a naive (not to mention loaded) way to put it. Was the News-Press expecting the Democratic Service Club to hand out literature for the Republicans, maybe? I spoke to Karen, the operations manager of the theater who's job on Friday looked a lot like running air traffic control for LAX. She told us at one point that Republicans had shown up outside and she invited them in as well, although that was the last we heard of them. For the record, while we do hand out partisan information, we register voters of any party of their choosing.

The story also took us to task for misspelling the web address of this blog on one of the pieces of literature that we were handing out. Neither the incorrect or correct addresses were provided in the article.

We apologize for the mistake, but there's something really wrong with this picture. As far as I know the reporter who covered this never spoke with anyone working the table, but if he had, perhaps he would've realized that the real story wasn't a misspelling that he could've corrected himself with a 10 second google search. The real story might've been around the platoon of volunteers who were willing to take hours out of their schedule and work the table. Or perhaps it would've been the stack of forms we got for people signing up to help, or the stack of voter registration forms we collected.

Lack of media interest aside, the Service Club is slowly starting to ramp up for November. Click the "get involved" link on the right to sign up...and try to figure out some way to get your conservative relatives to go see Farenheit 911!

Friday, June 25, 2004
Even more karmic retribution? Something is definitely up in the Bush/Cheney camp. The wheels may not be falling off the wagon yet, but the lugnuts are definitely starting to loosen up a bit. First, multiple sources have confirmed that "Vice" President Cheney told Sen. Leahy to "f&#@ off" at a photo shoot yesterday. Then they started running what may be the single most viciously negative and misleading ad of the season up on their campaign site. It's a two minute clinic on terrible framing. This is exactly how not to do it.

To add to all the fun, Farenheit 9-11 opens today! Here in Santa Barbara, it's playing at the 1000+ seat Arlington theater (by far the biggest theater in town) and the Democratic Service Club and SB Progressive Coaliton will be tabling there. I'm planning on taking a few pics which I'll try to run here, too. Stop by, say hi and sign up!

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Doh! Stupid karmic retribution. The lurid story of the week was run away with by Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois. His divorce records have been unsealed to reveal incredibly damaging allegations of visits to sex clubs and coercion into the sort of acts typically performed in such establishments by his ex-wife, who is also a TV star (she played borg hottie 7-of-9 on Star Trek Voyager). Which sounds pretty bad on its own, but of course he also covered all of this up and lied outright about it during the primary. Ouch. And, for some insane reason they released all this information on Monday instead of late Friday afternoon, so it's been an ongoing sideshow in the media all week.

Here's George Will's take on Ryan from last November, before this all happened. If you can wade through the imperiousness, the self satisfied moral righteousness and the condescension (no one lays this on like George Will, and he is full moral peacock mode here), it's actually something of a sad story. Ryan sounds like a mostly stand-up guy who, if he were a Democrat or if we lived in some alternate universe where the Republicans hadn't spent the last 20 years travelling the ethical low road peddling "family values" faux-moralistic hogwash, would be able to shrug off these allegations and keep campaigning.

But, we don't, so this guy is out of luck. He probably would've been anyway, since the Democrat running against him, Barack Obama is a rising superstar and was most likely going to beat Ryan like a borrowed mule. It's a little sad, but that's more than outweighed by the starkly poetic justice of it all as all this has occurred against the backdrop of the publishing of Clinton's biography.

How many Jack Ryans is it going to take for the phrase "family values" to ring so hollow that the right has no choice but to drop it from their lexicon? The wingnuts are going to be paying back the karmic debt they owe for what they did to Clinton for a loooong time. Jack Ryan is just the first casualty.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
From this morning's Progress Report: Republican pollster & language crafter Frank Luntz's memo on how to sell Iraq war (.pdf) to people. This is amazing stuff. Unsuprsingly, the first bullet point is this: It may be 20 pounds of bull#*$& in a 10 pound bag, but you have to admit: the man writes a good memo. Worth studying.

Friday, June 18, 2004
Zogby is running this highly quantitative and erudite article (pdf) on some of the historical precedents for this election and how they're reflected in the polling they've been doing. Interesting stuff - especially the historical outline at the beginning and the conclusions.

Thursday, June 17, 2004
I watched Faux News for the first time since around January last night, and it was the usual combination of unintentionally funny bits and stuff that was just truly horrifying. I had a diatribe against Bill O'Reilly all ready to go; he sounds like a terrorist himself when he talks about torture methods that we should be using on prisoners. I didn't get to finish it, but luckily our pals over at the Center for American Progress are continuing to do my job for me. Go read The Document Sean Hannity Doesn't Want You To Read.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
McClintock immigrant-bashing update. Last Friday, as I noted in that day's post, I called Sen. McClintock's capital office to ask if he was going to retract his story since the LA Times piece that described how it was based on faulty information. The staff person that I spoke with said that he'd written a response to that and had contacted the Times to get it published, and she'd be happy to email it to me. According to a search of the Times site they haven't published such a response, nor has the Senator's staff posted it on his website.

I'm keeping the heat on. I called them today and left my email address and phone number, again. Based on the total invisibility of this response so far, my current assumption has to be that it doesn't exist, and that his staff fibbed (again!) when I called on Friday. I'll be pleased to retract this when I get a copy of the thing, which I'll publish at least the highlights of here when (if?) I get it.

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