Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Splitting Electoral Votes: A Historical Perspective

The RMN ran an update to an earlier story about the effects of electoral vote splitting on past elections.

In summary, the RMN concludes that the elections in 1948, 1968, 1992, and 2000 would have resulted in no candidate getting enough electoral votes and the election being sent to the House of Representatives to decide. It concludes:

Four postwar elections chosen by the House of Representatives rather than by the people! Surely Coloradans will see through this anti-democratic amendment and reject it.

I don't know the method they used (the article refers to the WSJ for the analysis), but as I posted here, other analysis shows that Bush would have won the 2000 election handily when applying the split vote system to all 50 states.

What would have happened had the split vote system been applied everywhere is not really the point. What is important is that outside interests are using Colorado to swing a close election to John Kerry.

Even if we assume that the interests that support 36 are not aligned with a particular candidate, the fact that they are trying to change the rules during the game should raise alarms in voters' minds.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Response to My Letter to the Editor

I spoke with my grandma last night and she complimented me on my letter to the editor. She also said that her friends mentioned that they hadn't heard much about Amendment 36, but that after reading my letter, they would vote against it.

I feel like such a political powerbroker.

Seriously though, this is why I started 86-36. There hasn't been a lot of coverage of this Amendment. I think there will be more press closer to the election, but in the days of early and absentee voting, we need to be sure that people are informed now.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Well, It's About Time!

This is nothing that those of us in blogosphere didn't already know. Bill Hobbs has been blogging about this for months.

It's nice to finally see it in USAToday, though.

Have Some Cheese With Your Whine

Kerry filed a complaint with the FEC and was told to shut up. So then he goes and whines to AG Ashcroft. I doubt this will get him very far, either.

Hat-tip: Truth Laid Bear and Drudge.

No attention means no representation

Check out my very first letter to the editor regarding Amendment 36. This is my hometown newspaper that I grew up reading. I wrote in response to a letter calling for support of Amendment 36. Since I doubt that this issue is getting much attention in the Upper Arkansas Valley, I felt a duty to bring the facts to the people of Canon City.

Salazar and MoveOn.org

A day after the anti-Salazar ad aired, MoveOn.org has an anti-Coors ad up on its website. Well, it's actually an anti-Republican ad. Of course, Salazar has used the lightest possible language to condemn the new anti-Coors ad in this morning's DP:

Salazar has said that he is not opposed to independent, out- of-state groups inserting themselves into the election. His objection has been to those organizations running negative ads.

"If some group came in here and was running something false and negative against Coors, we would ask them to take it off," said Salazar campaign manager Jim Carpenter.

That's what happened with the Web video, Wertz said: "We have left them a message and asked them to take it off."

Apparently, MoveOn.org didn't get the message because the video is still on the website. Check it out. It is actually so over-the-top that its comical.

Should Salazar take more extreme measures to get the ad removed? I don't think so, but at the same time, he should not expect Coors to take these same measures to remove the anti-Salazar ad.

Make sure to visit Salazar v. Coors for the complete rundown on the Colorado Senate Race.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thomas Sowell: Vets vs. Kerry on Vietnam: Part II

The hits just keep on coming from Sowell.

Part 1 linked here

DP Stands for Democrat Post

Reading this morning's DP was like reading the DNC talking points memo. There was the story about the new anti-Salazar ad.

My Democrat-registered wife and I actually saw this ad last night and the first thing she said was, "Coors didn't approve that ad." Of course not, but apparently it's his duty to police all ads by groups outside his campaign. I await Salazar's response to the inevitable anti-Coors ad that will be emerging soon. I predict that it will be the usual, "Well, Coors didn't denounce the ads against me, so I won't denounce the ads against him."

Then there was the editorial that denounced all Republican-linked attack ads. Of course, Jim Spencer had to pile on and denounce the Swifties AGAIN, but this is to be expected.

What seems to be missing in the call for Kerry to denounce the anti-Bush ads by MoveOn.org, The Media Fund, and America Coming Together. There is no call for Kerry to denounce all of the singers and bands going around the country on the Anti-Bush tour. There is no call for Kerry to denounce the questioning of Bush's National Guard service. Outrage is reserved for times when it meets the DP's needs.

Finally, we get the story that a lawyer for the Bush campaign also advised the Swift Boat group. I work with a lawyer that is the general counsel for the Salazar campaign, but that doesn't make me a Democrat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

It's Not Whether You Win Or Lose...

It's the fact that no one is waiting at home to cut off your feet if you lose. Liberate a country and this is the thanks that you get:

In remarks to reporters over the past week, Hamad criticized the U.S. occupation of Iraq and blamed the devastation in his country on President Bush -- who is taking credit for Iraq's return to the Olympics in his re-election advertising.

The fact that he gets to criticize anyone without the fear of having his tongue removed justifies the war for me.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Thomas Sowell: Two versions of Vietnam

I have not seen a more well-written, clear thinking analysis of the Kerry-in-Vietnam-527-ad controversy than this. I saw this in the RMN on Satruday and couldn't find an electornic copy until today, but it is worth the wait

Letters to the Editor on 36

For some reason I have been paying more attention to letters to the editor lately. Here's one from this morning's DP:

David Harsanyi argues that the movement to determine Colorado's electoral votes on a proportional basis rather than on a winner-take-all basis is a 'radical change' that would 'dilute Colorado's already faint voice' in the election. Electing our public officials on the basis of who gets the most votes is the basis of democracy, isn't it?

Harsanyi argues that 'if New York, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania or a host of other states had employed such a (proportional) system, Bush would have won, easily.' That's nonsense. By selecting which states are included in proportional voting and which are not, you could produce any result you want. In all fairness, all states should go to a proportional system.
Bob Kropfli, Golden

Nonsense indeed, Bob! Let's see what would happen if every state used the system proposed under Amendment 36. Jeff Sagarin (yes, the guy that does the football polls) has already done the analysis. It turns out that if the entire country had used this electoral system in 2000, President Bush would have still won. However, instead of winning by 4 electoral votes, he would have won by 36 electoral votes.

Thinking Right - The Man Behind The Blog

Be sure to check out this morning's DP and David Harsanyi's story about Jim Cannon, the man behind Thinking Right.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

That's My Alma Mater

The Princeton Review is out and it looks like Texas A&M is #1 in an important category.

George Will on 36

More national attention on Amendment 36. This time from George Will:

Suppose Kerry wins Colorado (in 2000 Bush won with 50.8 percent; Kerry's campaign says their man is leading today). And suppose winner-take-all is ended. Kerry will harvest five instead of nine electoral votes. He could lose the presidency by seven electoral votes (Gore lost by five), less than the eight-vote swing that Colorado's new system would produce. That would be poetic justice, the best kind.

As stated before, I think that however this presidential election turns out, this Amendment is a bad idea.

Hat-tip: Best Destiny

Government for Grown-ups

I usually don't read letters to the editor because they are mostly emotional outbursts that are subject to the bias of the editorial staff. Case in point, the following is a To The Point entry from this morning's DP.

With both Bush and Kerry pursuing the whiny, spoon-banging, 2-year-old vote, I'll be voting for Michael Badnarik, Libertarian, for president.

Government for grownups, what a concept!

David Aitken, Denver

Actually David, I can't think of a less grown-up thing to do. You should just vote for John Kerry. While your idealism is to be applauded, this is a world in which grown-ups need to make real decisions. Your wish for government is the equivalent of a second-grader wishing to live at Disney Land. It's only a fantasy.

Check out Hugh Hewitt's new book, Chapter 12, p.71:

There are only two real choices in America - Republican or Democrat. To demand more is to be disappointed before you begin, and to hand victory to the set of choices most repellent to you.

P.S. - I know it is late for a book plug, but it was particularly relevant, and I'm trying to sustain the momentum of the book sales.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Maine Vote Splitting

I don't usually pay much attention to Slate.com, but I found this article by Julia Turner on Maine's system of splitting electoral votes. This is the type of system that Amendment 36 backers propose. However, Turner doesn't think this is such a good idea:

In any event, some political reformers think we should be taking more of our cues from Maine. Proponents of revamping the Electoral College have suggested that every state adopt Maine's peculiar electoral vote-splitting scheme. At first, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Although vote-splitting sounds bizarre, it actually makes a lot of senseā€”it's a thoughtful way to ensure that the electoral votes Maine casts more closely reflect the wishes of its people. But then I found this Web site, on which sports statistics guru Jeff Sagarin figured out how the 2000 presidential election would have been decided if all states used the Maine method. Turns out Gore would have been whupped. Ah well. Perhaps there's a better way.

The Jeff Sagarin website she refers to is linked here.

So, we have a blatantly liberal columnist saying that this isn't such a good idea, if it is applied to all states and everyone used the same system, because the 2000 election wouldn't have been close. But if applied to certain purported battleground states, like Colorado (I don't think it will even be close), it might make some sense.

Just provides more evidence that the liberals only want voting reform if it benefits them.

Maybe It Won't Be Much of a Fight

In Bob Ewegen's column in the RMN this morning, he tackles TABOR and Amendment 36.

My interest is in Amendment 36. However, Ewegen doesn't think this will be much of a fight:

Finally, Amendment 36 specifies that, if passed, it will apply retroactively to this election. Such an ex post facto change in our electoral law is probably unconstitutional, so if Colorado voters do approve the measure, it is certain to be challenged in court by whatever party actually carried our electoral vote. Thus, if the 2004 election is close, we might have another long count in the presidential arena, with Colorado courtrooms replacing Florida venues in yet another bitter legal battle that would ultimately have to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Weighing their odds with Scalia and Co., Colorado Democrats are deciding they'd rather be president than irrelevant - and are joining Republicans in opposing Amendment 36.

I've received similar comments from other bloggers who have seen the "86-36" blog.

While I don't believe that this Amendment will pass, it's still important to make sure that voters don't get complacent and let the vocal majority (supported by billionaires from California) slide this one past us.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Kerry's New Hampshire Troubles

Kerry's lying again but this time its about health insurance rather than Cambodia.

More on 36

David Harsanyi makes a great case for defeating Amendment 36 in this morning's DP:

The activists who want to radically change the way we elect the president make it sound like a matter of common sense.

They'll tell you that changing the current electoral process will simply "make every vote count." That it's a much "fairer" way to count the votes than the current "winner take all" system.

Don't fall for it.

The conniving rhetoric of Amendment 36 and its proponents masks a simple, irrefutable point: It would dilute Colorado's already faint voice in the presidential contest and make us the lone state to allocate electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote.

He continues:

And were Amendment 36 advocates calling and moving for a direct popular vote nationwide, a legitimate debate about the pros and cons of direct democracy could ensue.

But it's not about that, either.

Klor de Alva and his group only typify the shortsighted, win-at-all-costs character of this year's presidential race. The question now is, will the Democratic Party in Colorado follow his lead?

Shortsighted indeed. Check out this post by Joshua at View From a Height:

When I asked him (Democratic State Senator Ron Tupa (D-Boulder))specifically about what happens after the next reapportionment, if we get 10 electoral votes, he said he didn't know what the formula required, that he "didn't think that anyone there had thought this thing through that far, and that it would be at least 10 years before that happened." (Hint: 2012 - 2004 = 8.) That's thinking ahead.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


I've started a new blog called 86-36 dedicated to defeating Amendment 36 here in Colorado. I welcome any contributions to this discussion.

Who Says Campaign Ads Are Always Misleading?

The folks over at FactCheck.org have done some analysis on the latest Bush ad that attacks Kerry's attendence at the Senate Intelligence Committee meetings. You know what they found, the ad is accurate and actually conservative when stating the number of meetings that Kerry missed:

A Bush-Cheney '04 ad released Aug. 13 accuses Kerry of being absent for 76% of the Senate Intelligence Committee's public hearings during the time he served there. The Kerry campaign calls the ad "misleading," so we checked, and Bush is right.

Official records show Kerry not present for at least 76% of public hearings held during his eight years on the panel, and possibly 78% (the record of one hearing is ambiguous).

Kerry points out that most meetings of the Intelligence Committee are closed and attendance records of those meetings aren't public, hinting that his attendance might have been better at the non-public proceedings. But Kerry could ask that his attendance records be made public, and hasn't.

This little gem is also included:

Aides also claimed repeatedly that Kerry had been vice chairman of the intelligence committee, but that was Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, not John Kerry.

Kerry doesn't even know his own resume, so why should his campaign staff.

Colorado Dreamin'

Bill Whalen at the Weekly Standard has a great article on Colorado's Amendment 36. Although he is behind on the RMA on this issue (BestDestiny and View From a Height have been all over it), it is great to see some national attention focused on this really stupid idea.

Whalen gives a good breakdown of how the passage of this Amendment could backfire on Kerry:

Start by assuming that Kerry wins the same 20 states that Gore carried four years ago. That leaves him with 260 votes in the realigned Electoral College, to Bush's 278. Now, let's assume that Kerry adds New Hampshire to his column, which is another 4 electoral votes. The count then would be 274-264, Bush. Give Kerry Colorado and its 9 electoral votes and he wins the presidency, 273-265. But not if the reform initiative passes.

Instead of the winner-take-all 9 votes, Kerry would receive only 5 electoral votes, to Bush's 4 (this is assuming Ralph Nader doesn't have enough of a presence to pick up 1 electoral vote) . That would evenly divide the Electoral College at 269-apiece, leaving the U.S. House of Representatives to break the tie. As the House is likely to remain in GOP hands, Bush likely gets a second term and Democrats get to mutter "we wuz robbed" for another four years.

Not that any Democrats would ever allow this to happen. Chances are the initiative would face a legal challenge--not from Republicans who currently oppose it, but from national Democrats who'd sue their Colorado brethren in hopes of overturning the measure and giving Kerry the extra 4 electoral votes.

A quick Google search yields no results for a website for Coloradans Against a Really Stupid Idea. I think it is time to get a web presence around the opposition to this idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Charter Schools v. Conventional Schools

The RMN runs an analysis of the CSAP scores for both charter schools and conventional schools. From the lead, you would think that charter schools weren't working:

A popular cure for ailing schools could be, at best, a placebo.

In the article, the difference between charters and conventional schools seems negligible:

Proficiency rates at charters and noncharters differed by less than 4 percentage points on eight of the 15 tests examined.

On the seven remaining tests, charters did better in seventh-grade reading, writing and math and sixth-grade writing. Conventional schools did better on eighth-grade writing and fifth- and eighth-grade math.

What this says is that in 8 areas of the CSAPs, it's a draw. In 3 areas, the conventional schools win. In 4 areas, the charters win.

I suspect that the small sampling size of the charters lends itself to statistical skews.

But the most telling fact is this one:

Wyatt Edison (a charter school) is just two blocks from Cole and serves a similar population.

Wyatt Edison outscored Cole by an average of 26 percentage points on each of 10 CSAP tests taken this year by middle school students. Scores improved this year at Wyatt Edison on six of those 10 tests.

Apples to apples - Wyatt Edison serves the same population and outscored Cole by an average of 26 points! But you wouldn't know it from the headline.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

You Call This Voting Reform?

It looks like Initiative 99 has made it onto the November Ballot as Amendment 36. You remember, the amendment that will split Colorado's electoral votes based on a percentage of the state's popular vote. You can read more about it over at BestDestiny.

A quick summary: This amendment would split up the electoral votes (Colorado has 9 and all of the votes - there were 8 at the time - went to Bush in 2000) and would be retroactive to the 2004 election.

The proponents claim that his will provide a more repsentative system of voting. However, the proponents are also from California (where they are NOT proposing a similar initiative), are Democrats, and need these electoral votes to deliver a close election victory for John Kerry.

The oppposition is a group called Coloradans Against a Really Stupid Idea. Unlike the initiative's Democratic proponents, they have no money yet.

If the whole country split up the electoral votes like this (Maine and Nebraska are the only 2 states that do this), then I would be less opposed, but this is simply an attempt to change the rules to suit the Demorcratic nominee. Even if John Kerry pulls ahead in Colorado, this is still a really stupid idea.

Christmas in Cambodia - The Emerging Story

Joshua over at View From a Height posted earlier this morning about the lack of attention that Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia story is getting from the top tier media.

In this morning's RMN, Dave Kopel goes after the Denver Dailies and specific columnists (Littwin and Spencer) for criticizing Bush and the Swifties, while giving Kerry a pass:

The News ignored the story of Kerry retracting three decades of Christmas-in-Cambodia tales. The Post also ignored the story, and instead ran the attack on John Corsi which had appeared the day before in the News.

It is as if the media had covered the Bush National Guard story only by impugning Bush's critics, while barely acknowledging the substance of the charges.

The blogosphere and the second tier newspapers have kept this story going. Let's hope it has reached enough ears to make a difference.

Professional Journalists, Take Note

What interested me in this article posted by Jonathon and Joseph Garcia in the RMN this morning was not so much the content, but the way in which they actually provided sources for their facts:

Less than half of all eligible 18-to-24-year-olds voted in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, a far cry from the 70 percent of older voters who went to the polls. According to the Web site www.stateofthevote.org/why.html, less than one-fifth of those in our age group voted in the 1998 congressional elections. In 1996, less than one-third went to the polls (www.cnn.com/ 2000/fyi/sb/06/21/youth. vote/). These numbers suggest a shocking underrepresentation of our age group in the political process, a demographic that is also systematically overlooked by politicians.

Note the references to websites. It seems like Metro State is teaching its students that it is important to actually have sources to back up your facts.

Hey, Littwin, Spencer, and Carman were they not teaching this stuff when you were in school?

Friday, August 13, 2004

They Still Don't Get It

I saw the headline on Julia Martinez's column in the DP today and thought, finally, some coverage on the blogosphere.

While this is not the first election of the new millennium, it is the first in which savvy politicians have permeated the frontiers of cyberspace, going boldly where few had gone before to boost their campaign coffers.

That slice of the Web helping candidates raise money quickly and cheaply is called a political Web log, or "blog."

So who does she list as the pioneers of cyberspace:
Stan Matsunaka
Ken Salazar
Howard Dean

No mention of Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit, Powerline, and to top it all off, there is no mention of the Rocky Mountain Alliance or their superb new blog on the Salazar vs. Coors race.

What sort of mention do the Republicans get?:

As Republicans prepare for their national convention later this month, they have become avid bloggers, setting up special convention "Blogs for Bush" plus a string of related blogs for convention shoppers and others.

Apparently, Republicans only blog about shopping. Also, after the mention of blogs getting "mean and nasty," she follows with this statement:

On the Republican National Committee website during the Democratic National Convention last month was a game, "Kerryopoly," in which players could land on various expensive items Kerry owns, such as a $700,000 boat, and invariably end up in debt.

The media doesn't get it. They'll never get it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Salazar v. Coors

The second season is only a few hours old and I can already hear the collective swinging off the cannons toward the Salazar camp.

The Rocky Mountain Alliance has started a new blog called Salazar v. Coors. This blog will highlight the campaigns up to November 2nd. I've changed my blogroll to include this new link.

Be sure to head over to the Pete Coors website and make a donation to the campaign.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More Traffic, For All The Wrong Reasons

Over the weeked, I blogged on a story about a girl I once knew in high school who went on to become a porn star. In the post, I used the girl's real name, simply because that is the name by which I have always referred to her.

I was looking at the referrals on my site meter today and noticed that my blog was coming up in a lot of Google searches looking for info on "Stephany Schwarz."

It's a good thing I didn't use her porn name. Think of all the traffic I would have then. On second thought...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Does It Have Legs?

The blogosphere has been running with stories about the Swiftboat veterans anti-Kerry book and Kerry's own misstatements about his Christmas in Cambodia. To start, check out Hugh's roundup and hit all the links.

Hugh wonders if this story will move out of the blogosphere and into the mainstream. Hopefully, Robert Novak's column on the book will drive the call for Kerry to answer some of these questions:

"I have read the book and found it is neither the political propaganda nor the urban legend that its detractors claim. It is a passionate but meticulously researched account of how Kerry went to war, what he did in the war and how he conducted himself after the war. The very serious charges by former comrades deserve answers but so far have produced only ad hominem counterattacks.

Why should details of what Kerry did more than 30 years ago be part of this election campaign? Only because the senator has made them integral to his strategy. Kerry as war hero received more attention at the Democratic National Convention than plans for the future. Thus, what he did in his shortened four months of combat becomes a valid campaign issue."

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Day One = Never

In my job as a project manager, we implement new products and processes in phases. Recently, we have been joking that whenever someone asks when a certain new product or process will be available, we say, "It's in Phase 2." When someone asks what Phase 2 is, we say, "It means never."

The DP chronicles Kerry's visit to Southern Colorado where he talked about health care: "Kerry promised to lower annual health insurance costs by $1,000 a person and guaranteed that every child would have health insurance 'as of Day One.'"

Now what does he mean by "Day One?" Is this as of inauguration day? Probably not. Is it in the first 100 days? Maybe, but that would be very difficult to do. Unless there is a major political collapse and the Republicans lose both the House and the Senate, I doubt that a victorious Kerry would ever be able to deliver on this promise. So basically, Day One, like Phase 2, means never.

As a sidebar, I have decided to start doing a little research of my own on health insurance. I keep hearing that 44 million Americans don't have health insurance. I decided to check it out. Using U.S. Census reports, I looked at the number of uninsured as real numbers of people who are uninsured. I also looked at numbers of people who are uninsured as a percentage of the U.S. population. I have to assume that since all the data is from the same source that the numbers are consistent. I also figure that percentages give a better apples to apples comparison due to population changes.

Here's what I found out:

Column 1 = Year
Column 2 = Number of uninsured in millions
Column 3 = Uninsured as a percentage of population

1993 |39.7 |15.3
1994 |39.7 |15.2
1995 |40.6 |15.4
1996 |41.7 |15.6
1997 |43.4 |16.1
1998 |44.3 |16.3
1999 |42.6 |15.5
2000 |38.7 |14
2001 |41.2 |14.6
2002 |43.6 |15.2

As you can see, this shows the Clinton years and 2 years under Bush (2003 isn't out yet). 2 years into Clinton's first term (1994), the rate was 15.2%. 2 years into Bush's first term (2002), 15.2%. To be fair, 2 years into a term is a short time to get this rate down (unless you are Kerry, see above). Where was Clinton 2 years into his second term (1998)? 16.3% I think I remember that health care was one of Bill and Hillary's big ticket items.

Another interesting trend I noted. Usually in these reports, it explains that decreases in the uninsured rates are due to lower unemployment rates and more people having employer-sponsored insurance. You can see that from 1998 to 2000, the uninsured percentage went down quite a bit as the tech boom took off. Then the rates came back up from 2000 to 2002 as the tech bust, 9/11, and corporate scandals took their toll. However, when I lay on the annual unemployment rates (from the U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics), the figures look like this:

Column 1 = Year
Column 2 = Number of uninsured in millions
Column 3 = Uninsured as a percentage of population
Column 4 = Unemployment Rate

1993 |39.7 |15.3 |6.9
1994 |39.7 |15.2 |6.1
1995 |40.6 |15.4 |5.6
1996 |41.7 |15.6 |5.4
1997 |43.4 |16.1 |4.9
1998 |44.3 |16.3 |4.5
1999 |42.6 |15.5 |4.2
2000 |38.7 |14 |4
2001 |41.2 |14.6 |4.7
2002 |43.6 |15.2 |5.8

Between 1993 and 1998, the unemployment rate went down (more people had jobs), but the percentage of uninsured went up (less people had insurance). This is a trend contrary to conventional wisdom. Were the new jobs not the right kind of jobs? Were the new jobs not high paying jobs? Did the government stop providing health care insurance to more people under the Clinton administration? Anyone who has an explanation, I'd like to hear it.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Balancing Littwin

Here's my open letter to Mike Littwin

Just come out and start every column with the statement that you dislike Bush and hope he loses. In a show of good faith, I'm posting this statement on my blog: "I dislike John Kerry and hope Bush wins." Now we, and all others who read this, will know where we both stand.

In this morning's column, you make a lot of statements that are based partly in fact, but you fail to show both sides. I understand that your job is to have an opinion. My job, and the job of every other blogger out there, is to hold you accountable for these opinions and show the other side. So here I go:

"I condemn the ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong. I hope that the president will also condemn it." - Sen. John McCain, on ABC-TV

Guess what? And you don't need to be on the Kerry train to get this one right.

The president hasn't condemned the ad - which, along with a new book, accuses John Kerry of having lied in Vietnam in order to win his medals.

Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, did say he would never question Kerry's service in Vietnam. And then he got to the real culprit, which he said he "deplored" - yes, those so-called "527" commercials, paid for by a third party with soft money. You can see where he'd get angry, and not just because Democrats use them.

But, of course, George W. Bush can't get to everything. There are other issues.

The other side: John Kerry has not condemned Howard Dean for his statement that raising the terror threat level was politically motivated. In a NYT article last week, Dean stated:

"His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,' and then out comes Tom Ridge," Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor, added, referring to the homeland security secretary. "It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it."

The response from the campaigns was:

White House officials denied that suggestion, and other Democrats and Mr. Kerry's advisers would not embrace it. "I certainly hope not," Steve Elmendorf, Mr. Kerry's deputy campaign manager, said. "You have to take them at their word."

That is far from the type of condemnation that you, Mr. Littwin, would like from President Bush.

Then you turn to the economy:

There's the corner-turning economy. The news today - oh boy: Job growth has all but stopped, with just 32,000 positions added in July, which, according to my math, is slightly lower than the 250,000 being predicted. Meanwhile, job numbers from June, already low, were revised downward. You don't need a graph to see where this is headed.

It looks as if Bush will actually be the first president since Herbert Hoover - a name you won't hear at the Republican convention - to have fewer Americans employed at the end of a term than at the beginning. And for those of you wondering how the old 401(k) is doing, here's your retirement watch: The market hit a low for the year Friday.

Yes, the number of new jobs is lower than expected and the numbers have been revised downward from previous months, but you never go into the intracies of job numbers, with which I doubt you are even familiar. But don't despair, you can get a complete explanation over at Bill Hobbes' blog where the numbers are dissected and, what do you know, they look better than what you are reporting:

First, the 32,000 figure has a statistical quirk in it: July is one of two months, the other being January, that the government statisticians simply assume that a certain percentages of businesses fail, and they reduce the jobs-growth estimate by tens of thousands of jobs to account for it. According to the New York Post's John Crudele, a year ago that lead to the job-growth number being slashed by 83,000 jobs in July.

Second, the 32,000 figure reflects only "nonfarm payroll jobs," which means, roughly, jobs created by employers. This data come from the government's monthly "Payroll Survey," which generally misses small businesses, especially newer small businesses, and always misses self-employed people.

The real number you should focus on is this one: Total employment in America rose by 629,000 to 139.66 million people in July, based on the government's Household Survey, which is also the data on which the official unemployment rate is based. Unemployment dropped a tenth of a percent in July.

As far as the market low for the year, so what, the market has a low and a high every year, and anyone saving for retirement should be looking at 10-20 year trends as opposed to 1 year timeframes.

Then you move on to the terror alert to which I will simply pose a hypothetical situation: If the President had NOT said anything about the new information and then either the info was leaked to the press or an attack actually happened, you would have criticized the President for not telling us. It's the old damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I guess it's easy to sling coulda, shoulda, wouldas when you are a columnist and not the leader of the free world. Fortunately, Bush is making these decisions and not columnists.

Then you proceed to talk about the ad and how there is a dispute about it and other heresay. I looked in the archives of your columns and couldn't find one that condemned the MoveOn.org add that compared Bush to Hitler (it may be in a column, but I couldn't find it). I know the group said they took it down and all, but it was still on the website six months after they said they took it down. Where was your condemnation then?

Finally, we get to Kerry's Vietnam history:

As you move on to the buzz around the new book, "Unfit For Command," you correctly state that there was a retraction and then a retraction of the retraction. However,
we can only take the word of those who were there and there are people on both sides who give conflicting accounts. However, Kerry himself has been shown to be mistaken in the recounting of his own experiences. These mistakes, which would seem to indicate Kerry lied as a US Senator, are completely chronicled over at Hugh Hewitt's blog.

Look, I don't think a president needs to have gone to war. But since Vietnam, Republicans have branded anyone who opposes a war as unpatriotic. Kerry was nominated, in large part, because he could make the counterargument.

I wish he'd make it less. My dad, a World War II vet, always told me real heroes don't talk about their heroism.

My first comment on this is that if President doesn't need to go to war, then why has everyone been making such a big deal about Bush's National Guard Service. I believe that the job Bush did during Vietnam was dangerous and was important to the prosecution of that war. I have never flown in a fighter plane, and I doubt my wife would ever let me for the simple reason that it is dangerous and even in training, pilots die.

If, according to your dad, real heroes don't talk about their heroism, then John Kerry can't be considered a hero.

A Blast From the Past

It is not often that something from my past has particular relevance to a news story in the RMN. However, this morning's story about Larry Schwarz and his porn star, adopted daughter was an interesting read.

To give the background, I grew up and went to high school in Canon City, CO. There is one high school in Canon City. When I was a junior in high school, Stephany Schwarz was a 15 year-old freshman. As stated in the article, yes, Stephany was a rowdy high-schooler. She lived in Wetmore which is a small town south of Canon City. I don't know why she didn't go to school in Florence, which is another small town south of Canon City and has the nearest high school.

I am not particularly proud that the most famous person I knew in high school is a porn star, but it has provided for some amusing conversation when telling people about where I grew up.

What was interesting in today's article was this:
People in Wetmore remember Stephany as a rowdy high school student, but Schwarz says he never detected signs that she was heading toward life as a porn star.

Really! That's funny! Here's a little story about Stephany that the RMN didn't include. In the fall of 1991, Stephany, who was 15 at the time, had sex with an 18 year-old senior. The reason I know all this is that he videotaped the entire thing. The 18 year-old's step brother watched the video and told his mom about it. The 18 year-old was arrested for having sex with a minor.

I'm not defending the guy because he made a lot of other mistakes and he did break the law. However, the general consensus was that Stephany admitted to friends that she knew the camera was there and said, "I'm going to be a star." This is all heresay and cannot be verified (that I know of, it may be part of the court transcript, but I'm not sure).

After all of this happened, Stephany started to go to school in Pueblo because the guy was more popular than she was, and she received threats about what she did to him (again, I know he did it to himself and I am not defending him).

Coupled with this event and the fact that Schwarz was investigated for child porn and molestation, is it any wonder that his daughter became a porn star?

Friday, August 06, 2004

It's Gonna Be Close

The DP has a new poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters. It shows Coors leading Schaffer 45 to 41 among likely voters, but Schaffer leading 46 to 45 among definite voters.

This will be all about turnout and who can get more people to the polls.

Regardless of whoever wins, I'm calling for a concession speech by the apparent losing candidate by 11:59 PM on August 10th. Since this race is going to be so close, there will no doubt be calls for recounts and other manuevers to secure the spot in the general election. This can only jeopardize the seat.

On August 11th, the so-called "second" season begins. Whoever the candidate is, we as Colorado Republicans need to rally behind them and start battling toward November 2nd. A strong Republican turnout in November will not only ensure that we save the seat, but that we deliver Colorado to W and defeat Initiative 99.

None of us can afford to take our balls and go home.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Real Story on John Kerry's Military Service

Swiftvets.com Is a site run by the men who served with Kerry in Vietnam. They have recently released this ad describing their version of Kerry's service.

This is also the same group that has published the book, "Unfit For Command," which I blogged about here.

Watch the ad, buy the book, and send it to all of your friends who are still undecided about who to vote for in November.

It is very difficult to wade through all of the political noise that accompanies presidential elections, but I find that a couple of sites serve as anchors in the sea of political chaos.

The first is Factcheck.org. I like this because they seem to take a fairly balanced view of some of the more common claims by the candidates.

The next is Fundrace.org. I like this one because you can find out who is giving money to which candidate. I especially like to look up the donors for failed candidates (like Howard Dean). One of the interesting things to look at is who gave money to all the candidates to hedge their bets. These are usually lawyers who just want to have a stake in the game no matter who wins.

Finally, I just started perusing Opensecrets.org. This is another candidate contribution website but this one gives more information on PACs and 527s. It is especially interesting to see which industries and groups give to which candidates. Again, the lawyers seem to play both sides.

The most important thing is to pursue all the facts before making a decision.

Monday, August 02, 2004

This Week

My wife is having surgery on Tuesday and we just moved offices at work so blogging will be light for the next few days.

Make sure you continue to check out the Rocky Mountain Alliance (linked in BlogRoll at the left).

Seen on the road, homemade bumber stickers reading "JFKerry is just plain SKerry," and "Don't Be a Moore-On."