July 30, 2004

Quote of the Day

"Where are the balloons? We need more balloons coming down. More balloons! More balloons! What's that fucking guy doing up there?!"

One of the Convention Directors picked up live on CNN.

Well I am Convinced

Gee, I wasn't sure if I was going to vote for this Kerry fellow, but after seeing that speech last night, I think I have finally made up my mind. But, seriously folks, I think that was a pretty damn fine speech last night and the pundits agree with me. I mean you're rooting for the guy to come up big and I've heard both stellar speeches and stinkers from Kerry so there was a bit a drama leading up to this speech. Does anybody know anybody who changed their mind? I am now feeling an overwhelming craving for a poll. Will Kerry's numbers go up? How much? I need to know to now, damn you!

In other news, I can safely say that the Kerry sisters are both hot and a tremendous political asset to their Dad. Their intro bits were great. Well done, funny, and totally good for Kerry. I think I'm in love.

July 29, 2004

Quote of the Day

"You have a stunningly developed political mind, and I fear you."

Chris Matthews talking to Ben Affleck on HardBall.

Seriously, I saw Ben on a couple of shows and he did not suck at all at being a pundit.
This Internet is here to Stay

So, I missed watching any of the convention last night. Saw the new Bourne movie instead. Quick review: Damn Good. I might right a long review if I get tired of political posting. However, so many people are watching, either on TV or at the convention and writing it up on the Internet, I can just feed off the commentary and never have to tune in the real stuff. So, to sum up: Mixed reviews for the next Vice-President's speech. The networks when into a tizzy because Al Sharpton went off script and went over time. It's not surprising considering Sharpton's whole campaign seems designed to get him this speaking spot. I heard Fox jerk, Sean Hannity, being an amazing ass with Jimmy Hoffa Jr. on the radio yesterday afternoon, Gladfly has pics. Yes, Hoffa is the son of that Jimmy Hoffa and is the current head of the Teamsters Union. I would not be surprised to see Hannity face down in a ditch somewhere.

One thing that is pointed out a lot is that the networks are only covering 3 hours total of the convention and same for the Republicans in New York. But so many other forms of media - radio, cable, and Craigorian Chant are talking about this that it's bound to reach a lot of people.

In other news, incomes fell two years in a row. Great economy you got there Bush.

July 28, 2004

Barack Obama is Cooler than You.

Everyone is all a-swoon over Barack Obama, the next Senator from the great State of Illinois. He gave a hell of a speech last night that even had the Fox news guys singing his praises. Pandagon had the best line:

You know how good this speech is? It will be on rap albums next year, during the tracks that are trying to be socially conscious.

By the way, a bunch of bloggers like Pandagon got to go to the big show. Even the GOP is getting in on the act. I guess I didn't get an invite because they are looking for people who can spell or something.

July 27, 2004

Seen Any Good Speeches Lately?

Gore good, Carter good, Clinton very good. One thing that people never realize when they talk about "stiff" Gore and "Got his ass handed to him by Reagan" Carter is, these guys are actually very good at what they do. Just think about how many bad speeches and speakers you have seen in your life. My college graduation speaker was terrible and my sister's was much, much worse. This is a hard thing to do. People like Gore suffer because they get compared to past Presidents like Reagan and Kennedy who were the greatest American speakers ever. Gore and Carter both got to the big dance and they both "won" it once.

Every speech I have ever seen Al Gore do included some very funny jokes. "But you know the old saying: you win some, you lose some. And then, there's that little-known third category," is only the latest. But every time some pundit comes on afterwards and acts surprised that Gore can be funny.

TPM has a good summary of the tone of the convention and some good thoughts on the balance between Bush bashing and Kerry boosting.

Among Democrats, the rejection of this president is so total, exists on so many different levels, and is so fused into their understanding of all the major issues facing the country, that it doesn't even need to be explicitly evoked. The headline of Susan Page's piece in USA Today reads: "Speakers offer few barbs, try to stay warm and fuzzy." But the primetime speeches were actually brimming with barbs, and rather jagged ones at that. They were just woven into the fabric of the speeches, fused into rough-sketched discussions of policy, or paeans to Kerry.

We have moved into a whole new realm of Bush bashing. It's zen bashing.

July 26, 2004

The Convention is Coming, the Convention is Coming!

Oooo, parties. While I have never been to a national covention, I have been to the California Dem Convention and, trust me, it's all about scoring good parties with the cool people and best food.

Michael Kinsley does defense of Liberalism so fricken well.

George McGovern, children, was a senator from South Dakota (a region of the upper west side of Manhattan in the geographical mythology of Democratic Party critics) and the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972. He was, and is, a left-liberal. The Republican offering that year was Richard Nixon (with Spiro Agnew for dessert), but it is the Democrats who have been apologizing for their choice ever since...
Sure, it might have made the crucial difference if Gore had been just a bit more moderate in this or that, or if voters watching the Democratic convention had heard yet another heartfelt assurance that the party had learned its lesson and had written "I will not be McGovernite" on the board a thousand more times. But the party that gets the most votes is not "out of the mainstream," whether getting the most votes is enough to win the election or not.

Every time you hear a Hardball pundit say "moderate" take a drink.

Ooooo Bono sighting!

Bono, who has worked almost exclusively with Republicans in the last few years to increase the amount of money spent on fighting AIDS, will be making the rounds over the next few days to schmooze Democrats.

If the man can get AIDS funding and Debt relief out of Jesse Helms and W, John Kerry will be absolutely helpless in the face of his magic powers.

July 25, 2004

Did Clinton Make it Easier for Iraq to Be Sold?

Laws of Unintended Consequences. I have previously written on the humanitarian interventions of the Clinton years, citing Kosovo as a clear success with no U.S. combat deaths and Milosovich on trial. What didn't occur to me until now is that this kind of success could make it easier to sell Iraq. This from Matt Yglesias:

a person of a certain age (say, my age) would have had no examples of military failures that resulted in serious US casualties, and a number of instances where failure to intervene (either at all, or more forcefully, or more swiftly) had contributed to bad outcomes. So even though the Iraq War wasn't really like any of the intervention debates of the 1990s, all that built-in a predisposition to think that an invasion had only a small downside and possibly had a large upside.

So people (young and old) could have been thinking of "wars" like Kosovo and Gulf War I where we got ours with very few casualties. I think that lots of people were thinking that the costs of Gulf War II would be similarly low and thus supported the war and turned against it when the costs have proven to be much higher and growing.
DNC Convention Analysis

We now bring you a fresh angle for looking at the Democratic Convention which will be leading the news all this week. A top Democratic source has leaked to Craigorian Chant the delegation seating chart for the convention. (No, not really you can get it here) It is important to note that the cheering mass of people you will see on TV do not just sit anywhere, they are seated by State delegation. Everything gets stage managed by the Kerry campaign so this is a key indicator as to what states are important and which are not. To no one's surprise, Massachusetts gets the best seats in the Fleet Center, with North Carolina just to their left. Swing states such as Florida and Ohio and Missouri get all the good seats on the floor level. Big, secure, Blue States like California and New York are farther back in the stands but are right in front of the stage. Big Red States like Texas are off to the side in the back. Kentucky and Kansas, both reliable Red States are stuck way up in the rafters of the Fleet Center. The very worst seats in the place go to the delegates from States like Idaho and Mississippi. If your State hasn't gone for a Democrat in century don't expect to get yourself a good seat for the speeches.

July 23, 2004

Ok, no one is going to see my "comment" to Craig's "girlie man" post. So I'm posting this to let people know that they'll see the comment if they click on the link under Craig's post. It's not a great comment, but it's something.

Yeah, we definitely need some sort of indicator that people have left comments, like Chris said.......

I, being a a rather lazy person, am always looking for shortcuts, even when it comes to feeding my political addiction. Knowing that I am serving a similarly lazy bunch of people, (after all, why are you reading this Blog when you should be working!) I now present you a pair of shortcuts to understanding current events. If these helpfully summaries by guys smarter than I am prove too lengthy I have provided one sentence summaries of the summaries.

Rather than pore over polling results to determine who is doing in the election race read this summary by Ruy Teixeira. Short version: Kerry doing well but needs to come up with an Iraq plan and tell us about it.

Instead of reading all 516 pages of the 9/11 commission report read this summary by Kevin Drum. Short version: Lots of people to blame, but it is time to get off our asses and put some reforms in place.

July 22, 2004

Bush Wants to Raise Your Taxes

It's true. Read all about it here. Bush killed a tax cut measure because Democrats would vote for it and to move a vote closer to the November elections. I say this man does not deserve your vote. Read Pandagon for more.

In other news Bush is getting crushed among Latino Voters. One thing I've always noticed about polls like this is that Latinos always aprove of the Iraq war at a much greater rate than the general population. This is true now and was true back when a majority supported the war. Could it be that the Iraq war is screwing up Karl Rove's carefully laid plan to bring in more Latinos for Bush (Viva Bush!)

July 21, 2004

Slow News Day

Point for Bush Twin in hotness race: cute tongue.

Iraq: Still a mess. Six more abductions, U.S. deaths now over 900, Iraq has a 70% unemployment rate!

Democrats now have more money than God. Good Grief, people really hate Bush.

July 20, 2004

California Politics

So Governator gets into trouble over calling Democratic legislators "girly men." This comes from a dispute over the budget. Political Animal speculates that the Governor Bench Press may be trying to pick a fight to score some seats in November.

And all followed up with his juvenile "girlie men" comments and threats to campaign against any Democrat who doesn't toe the governor's line. It's hard to draw any conclusion except that he wants budget talks to fail and is hoping to use that for partisan gains in November.
Which might very well be the answer. Arnold might be playing a longer and riskier game than anyone thinks, mostly designed to make his future easier - especially since next year's budget is going to make this year's look like a stroll in the park. And by waving a red flag in front of the Democratic bulls, he might be hoping to get them to lose their tempers and seal their own doom.

I think that he may be right about the tactics, but this strategy is sure to fail. The reason: gerrymandering. CA legislator districts are gerrymandering within an inch of their life. This means that almost all incumbents, both D and R are secure. There is not one competitive Federal House race in CA this year. This also means that the Dem majority in the State Assembly and Senate are secure. Governor Biceps can pick all the fights he wants, he is not going to win a thing.

July 19, 2004

Funny, Not Funny


Not Funny.


Not Funny.

We like you give you some sugar with your medicine here at Craigorian Chant.

July 18, 2004

Bush Verses Reality

Fred Kaplan in Slate outlines the difference between Bush's speech and well, the real world.

It's a very effective speech (the Oak Ridge scientists greeted each repetition with stormy applause), unless you take a closer look at the examples it cites—in which case questions of comparative safety (are you safer now than you were three years ago?) seem at best ambiguous and in some cases downright depressing.

The more time spent looking at the world, the worst the case for Bush is.

Notable Groups of Voters that Bush is Losing

Gay Republicans
American Muslims

Now, these are all groups who voted for Bush the last time around and who have a very good chance to not vote for him this time around. Keep in mind that Bush lost the popular vote by half a million votes the last time around. The three groups I list here account for a few million each. Bush has to make up these numbers from somewhere or he is doomed.

July 16, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson and the Mis-Use of Historic Metaphor

One of the things I'm always looking for when I'm wasting time surfing for politics is conservative writers who piss me off in intellectually stimulating ways. It's no fun to get pissed off with nothing to say, you need stuff that makes you say "you are wrong for this reason." Which is why I am grateful for Victor Davis Hanson. He is professor of history/military science at Fresno State and writes for National Review Online. I really liked his book Ripples of Battle which talked about social and cultural effects of battles. That said, his column today is all wrong. Basically, he is saying that the screw-ups and casualties of the Iraq war are not so bad if you compare them to the screw-ups and casualties of WW2. I love historic metaphor as much as the next guy but Iraq is totally different from WW2! If we took casualties at the rate we did in Germany in 1944 then every U.S. soldier in Iraq would be dead or wounded by now. World War Two was the largest, deadliest, most terrible conflict in the history of the world, any modern conflict and casualty count would look miniscule by comparison. Also I have a real problem with this part:

In other words, Kerry and Edwards sense that Iraq has had some strange - but as yet not fully understood - positive effects that are just beginning to ripple out.

First of all, he is putting thoughts in the heads of guys, my guys in fact, that he has no basis for. I don't go saying "Bush senses that his tax policy is evil." Second, POSITIVE EFFECTS holy crap - torture, looting, car bombs, black-outs, holy shrines being damaged and did I mention the torture! There are effects radiating out, just nothing that I would call positive.

July 15, 2004

Bush Panic Watch

The paper of record has a story on the rumors that Cheney is going to be dumped.

TNR has some nice comments on the fact that Bush is appealing to conservatives and how that can not be good for him.

Mike Ditka rules out Senate run. While this is good for Dems, I sense that a Ditka campaign would provide a lot of material.

To sum up: inevitable Kerry win now approaching, Dems to gain control of Senate for good measure.

July 14, 2004

The Hotness Debate

Via Wonkette I see that there is debate under way on who is hotter: The Bush twins or the Kerry sisters? Now my own view on the subject is well known. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the posting of comments. We have a few readers now and I wish to hear from you. Click on the # at the bottom of this post, then click on Post a Comment (The Craigorian Chant technical staff is working on a better way to do this). Tell me who you think is hotter and why. Follow the links at the top of this post for some pictures. Craigorian Chant currently lacks picture posting capability, but the staff is working on it.

Update: I got a hot tip. USAToday has a profile of the Kerry sisters. Notable parts:

Alexandra, the tall brunette with model looks

If USAToday says she's hot, she's hot.

Then there was the tabloid rumor in May that linked Vanessa to actor Ben Affleck after they made campaign appearances together, a rumor she laughs off.

"I can only assume (the rumor) was put out there by a Republican, as both women, in fact, clearly have better taste than that," Affleck jokes by e-mail. Vanessa and Alexandra "are remarkably grounded, well-rounded, down-to-earth people."

Ben Affleck has seen some major tail in his day and if he signs off on these women it's good enough for me.

The Kerry sisters won't say who, if anyone, they are dating.

July 13, 2004

Quote of the Day

While we are on the topic of needing to save people we never heard of before, I bring you the quote of the day:

War is God's way of teaching Americans Geography. - Ambrose Bierce
Why Bush's Screw-ups Could Set Back Human Rights

In a post on Sunday I went into the Bush administration backing ass-backwards into a human rights justification for the war in Iraq. This justification is of course bunk. The reason this argument should be beaten down with all deliberate speed is that the current Iraq war should not be used to tarnish the good name of humanitarian intervention. Right now 54% of Americans think Iraq was a mistake. When the next awfulness strikes and only American power can stop the killing, it is important that Iraq not be cited as a bad human rights intervention. Somalia is an example of a bad humanitarian intervention, what with "Black Hawk Down" and all. Kosovo is example of a success (no U.S. combat deaths, ethnic cleansing ended, Milosevic on trial) Iraq should not be made to tip the balance. Iraq is a massive screw-up, but it is not a screwed-up humanitarian intervention.

July 12, 2004

Quote of the Day

Bush has faced two opponents: Kerry and reality. And reality has been the tougher foe.

Joel Kline in this weeks Time. The rest of column is a pretty good summary of where things stand. The more this campaign revolves about what is really happening in the world the worst it is for Bush.

It appears that paying too close attention to the Bush administration can lead to outrage fatigue. I'm not there yet, but you never know. There is a lot of outrage to go around.

July 11, 2004

Special Announcement

Ladies and Gentlemen I am pleased to announce the public unveiling of Craigorian Chant a (mostly) Daily Web Log written, edited and published by Craig Baracco. Providing the most cutting edge political commentary on the web is the stated goal of Craigorian Chant. It is a goal we will never even come close to, but attempt should be funny.

Political junky? Come to Craigorian Chant to get your fix! Don't follow politics? I'll watch Meet the Press so you don't have to! Want to follow the election but turned off by all the crap? We provide a protective layer of snark to help you digest the news easier! Hate politics? Um, then I really don't have anything for you. We might add movie reviews or some other stuff.

Craigorian Chant is a fully interactive experience. If you like or hate something I post you can leave a comment saying so. We are also hiring reporters here at Craigorian Chant. You can join United Kingdom Bureau Chief Chris-Callison Burch and Senior Mid-West Corespondent Tyler Allen and send in stories, cool links and spelling corrections.

So in conclusion, please come to the blog. I'm literally spending minutes a day working on it and you would just hate to see that time wasted wouldn't you? If you could forward this e-mail to anyone you might be entertained or outraged by what I write, it would be much appreciated.

What was that web address again?

It is Craigorian Chant.


Thank you for you time and remember if you don't visit Craigorian Chant the terrorist will have already won.

Oh and don't forget to vote. They win if you don't vote.
Human Rights and Iraq

Now that the Senate intelligence committee has destroyed the WMD argument and the 9/11 commission has destroyed the al-Qaeda link the only way now left to justify the Iraq war is a human rights argument. That Saddam killed and oppressed his people and that we are right to go to war to stop that. This causes me much more problems than bogus 9/11 links. I support the idea of humanitarian and human rights based intervention. I supported the US intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo and fully expect to support it the next time the US has to bomb some asshole dictator to stop killing a people we never heard of before. This brings me to some quotes I stole from other, better blogs. First via Iraq'D Pat Robert's (Republican chair of Senate intelligence committee) answer when asked if he would support the war in light of the committee's findings:

As far as my vote, in regards to authorize of war, I think the war would have been different. I think it would have been based more on something like Kosovo or Bosnia. President Clinton indicated we should have certainly intervened in regard to Rwanda. You can make the same case, if you go back several decades, to Cambodia. You can make the same case in World War II in regards to the Holocaust...

Now I am very open to this kind of argument. However this is not the case that was made was it? I now steal Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy secretary of Defense and chief architect of the Iraq war via Political Animal.

....there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people....The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it.

So they never made the human right argument and they never believed it to be enough. They are merely grasping for anything they can come up with, now that the reasons they actually used to justify war have been blown all to hell.

I will have a post later on why I fear Bush and company may have screwed up the case for real human rights based intervention for years.

July 9, 2004


Total Coalition casualties in Iraq now 1,000.

Tough break: Records that could shed light on Bush's military service were destroyed.

Bush's CIA gave false information on Iraq.

Bush administration putting pressure on Pakistan to produce Osama by date of Democratic Convention.

Friday is traditionally a PR "dump day" You put out bad news on Friday and no one reads about it Saturday. Lucky for us the Bush admin produces enough bad info on Friday to last all week.

July 8, 2004

Iraq Handover a great Success!

Turns out that whole handover thing was a brilliant stratigery. The U.S. Coalition was taking on average 1.89 deaths per day in Iraq in the time period from the flight deck stunt to the handover. After the handover coalition deaths have dropped to 2.6 deaths per day. What's that you say? 2.6 is higher than 1.89? Not with Enron accounting it's not.

Bush's Biggest Donor Does the Perp Walk.

Not that Bush has ever heard of the guy. Enron is responsible for the greatest corporate scandal in history, the California energy crisis and the jet that Bush used to fly around in 2000. I'm no Bob Woodward but really, if we use the standard of proof the Bushes used to get us to war, I think we can say that Bush and Lay had a "longstanding collaborative relationship." Bush and Bush people are massively linked to Enron! Read about some of it here or here. I mean really people, Teresa Kerry has less links to the Heinz Corporation than Bush does to Eron.

July 7, 2004

An Unexplored Issue

So today we get the classic Kerry/Edwards family photo op. Everybody holding hands, family, country, apple pie and so on. A though occurs to me that there is an issue that we have yet to explore here at Craigorian Chant: The fact that the Kerry daughters are pretty hot. Alex(Blond) and Vanessa(brunette) have been a part of the campaign and Alex seems to be the talker of the pair, doing more speeches and MTV sound clips and so on. Now I must say that the Kerry daughters do not reach the epic level of hotness reached by the Gore daughters. That said the Kerry daughters are lookers. The effects that this might have on the outcome in November will continue to get the attention that it deserves here at Craigorian Chant.

July 6, 2004

John Loves John 4 Ever

We now know who the next Vice-President of United States is. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

July 2, 2004


Here we are Paul Krugman in the NYTimes:

There has been much tut-tutting by pundits who complain that the movie, though it has yet to be caught in any major factual errors, uses association and innuendo to create false impressions. Many of these same pundits consider it bad form to make a big fuss about the Bush administration's use of association and innuendo to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Why hold a self-proclaimed polemicist to a higher standard than you hold the president of the United States?

Let's be clear here. Reporters are only on the side of angels, doing their part for democracy, and all that when then speak truth to Power. When they ask hard questions of Power. Moore is not Power. Bush is Power. Ask hard questions of him, why don't you.