November 2nd, 2004

self portrait

From the horse's mouth

So Al-Jazeera released the full transcript of Osama bin Laden's recent video on ther web site today. I picked up the story on CNN:

In the full transcript bin Laden states that part of his strategy is to bleed America into bankruptcy. He cites the guerilla fighters in Afghanistan and how their resistance foiled the Russian army. He says of the attacks of September 11, 2001, "Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs...." He goes on to say,
"It is true that this shows that al Qaeda has gained, but on the other hand it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something that anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced."
He talks about how easy it has been to bait the Bush administration and how the desire for oil led Bush into the quagmire that is Iraq.

I remember what I wrote, soon after September 11, 2001: That the best response to the attacks would have been no response. Mourn and rebuild and get on with our lives. Others have echoed the idea that the only thing that changed that day was our perception of the amount of danger we were in.

Now, if this is the full story of al Qaeda's strategy, they're in for a bit of a surprise. A big reason that the Soviets failed in Afghanistan was that the U.S. was upping the arms race during the cold war to the point that they couldn't keep up. So, in that case, we were providing economic alliance to the Afghan rebels/freedom-fighters. So if they think that a similar strategy will work against the U.S. today, they are sorely wrong.

Still, if you look at all the Bush administration has done, it turns out that Osama bin Laden said it well: "And it all shows that the real loser is you," he said. "It is the American people and their economy."
  • Current Mood
    determined determined
self portrait

The legal wrangling begins

In Ohio, the legality of partisan representatives challenging the legitimacy of voters at the polls was, itself, challenged in two different lawsuits. Late Monday night, federal court judges in the two suits barred these challengers from the poll sites. In suits brought by the Democratic party of one county and by two black Cincinnati voters it was alleged in different ways that the GOP use of these individuals was being unfairly targeted at black voters.

Early Tuesday, a 3-judge panel of the Appeals Court ruled 2-1 to overturn the decisions (lumping them together). I, of course, like the wording of the dissenting judge's decision (quotes from
The dissent by Judge R. Guy Cole said the citizens of Ohio have the right to vote without the "threat of suppression, intimidation or chaos sown by partisan political operatives."

Cole said that partisan challengers are seeking to target precincts that have a majority black population, and that when "the fundamental right to vote without intimidation or undue burden is pitted against the rights of those seeking to prevent voter fraud ..." the court must err on the side of voters.
This, I think, is a better analysis than that of the majority opinion which states:
The federal appeals court said that while it's in the public interest that registered voters cast ballots freely, there is also "strong public interest in permitting legitimate statutory processes to operate to preclude voting by those who are not entitled to vote."
Given the history that this country has in preventing people from voting who have legitimate right to do so, I think providing additional road blocks to voting (Ohio's poll workers would already be challenging someone whose signature didn't match the poll book or that was recognized as not being from the precinct) is counter-productive to the free running of our republic.
  • Current Mood
    energetic energetic
self portrait

Interesting/Good news

Down the page a ways at, we find this tidbit:
As I have discussed repeatedly, normally people with a cell phone but no landline are not polled. Most of these are in the 18-29 year old group. Up until now, no one has known how their absence from the polling data might affect the results. Zogby has now conducted a very large (N = 6039) poll exclusively on cell phones using SMS messaging to get a feeling of how they will vote. The results are that they go strongly for Kerry, 55% to 40%, with a margin of error of only 1.2%. If they all vote tomorrow, the pollsters are going to spend the rest of the week wiping egg from their faces. But historically, younger voters have a miserable turnout record, so the pollsters need not yet stock up on paper towels.
Given the efforts that I've seen to get out the vote among young voters (from vans taking people for early voting from the U of MN to the voting guide on specifically targeting young voters) I would guess that turnout for these 18-29 year olds is going to be better than the powers-that-be suspect. I say, buy stock in paper towels....
  • Current Mood
    excited excited