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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    Predictions, endorsements, and praise: 

    Another endorsement:
    Bucking the trend of many newspapers who endorsed Bush in the last race switching to Kerry in this one, the New York Daily News has come out for Bush, saying:
      The News is dismayed by Bush's domestic record. His presidency simply has not been about serving the interests of middle-class and working-class families, whose fortunes have declined.
      ...Bush led the country to invade Saddam Hussein's Iraq, enraging some allies and alienating half the American people. We supported the President and we continue to believe he made the right decision.

    The Daily News supported Clinton and Gore in the last three elections. But New Yorkers can't forget 9/11.

    ...and a Prediction:
    The Washington post says (registration required) if the Redskins win the Sunday before the election, the incumbent wins. Apparently it's been true since 1936. And, the winner is: The Packers!

    Knight Ridder's reporting on the Iraq situation continues to get high praise, such as this from blogger Matt Yglesias and comments by his readers, on this K-R story about how Osama bin Laden escaped U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

    posted by liz at 6:46 PM
    (1) comments

    Saturday, October 30, 2004


    Courtesy of The Herald, Presidential Guidester lets you choose qualities you'd like from a president and it will tell you which candidate most matches your criteria.

    posted by liz at 5:53 PM
    (0) comments

    More on voting 

    The question of whether some voters are going to be allowed to vote at the polls in some places, or whether their votes will be counted this year is not going away, in fact it seems to be on the mind of many as the election approaches. I've already linked to a couple sites tracking stories about possible vote fraud. Here's another: Video Vote Vigil. This one contains images of some flyers being distributed in a couple places that are pretty scary. Blogger Oliver Willis is pretty upset about one of them.

    (Added later, 5:30 pm:) The Daily Kos community is creating DKosopedia, an encyclopedia of political topics. It's under construction but has lots of information on important current topics. Here's their entry on the Al-Qaqaa weapons cachestory. Also included here: lots of links on vote fraud and voting problems.

    posted by liz at 10:02 AM
    (1) comments

    Friday, October 29, 2004


    ...will take particular interest in this column on Tech Central Station: We're all Floridians Now.

    posted by liz at 11:42 AM
    (0) comments

    Weapons video 

    Biggest buzz on blogs today (and for several days) is the questions about the weapons stash at al Qaqaa. ABC showed a video taken by a local station's crew soon after the invasion that supposedly showed the explosives still there.
    For a collection of all the latest news, and some good links, on this topic (or any other major topic in the news), I like to browse Yahoo! News' Full Coverage. You can get the news from various sources here.

    posted by liz at 11:26 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Keeping Track 

    As Campaign 2004 winds down, it's getting harder and harder to keep track of the candidates, the news, and when/where to vote. Here are a couple of useful resources:

    Travels: has a great resource for helping figure out where the candidates are, or have been in recent days. Candidate Tracker shows the routes of Bush, Kerry, Edwards and Cheney on a map.

    Voter Fraud: in this blog, Bill Hobbs in TN is linking to every story nationwide about possible vote fraud. It's shocking how big this story is getting.

    (Both of these via Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute, who has even more interesting links -- including links to help understand the Electoral College -- today).

    Sports influence?
    USA Today has done an analysis of Team owners' campaign contributions, covering owners of teams from NASCAR, the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Turns out several of them are huge contributors. Most of them contribute most to Republicans, but a few owners -- like the Yankees' George Steinbrenner and the Heat's Mickey Arison -- give pretty much equally to both parties.
    (via The Scoop.)

    And, most important:
    Don't let not knowing where or how to vote stop you. My Polling Place will tell you where you should vote, draw you a map, and explain the procedure. If you don't want to put your address in, there is an alternative but it doesn't work for everywhere: My Polling Site lets you click on maps to find a link to a county elections department. It will take a little longer, though, may not find the actual information you need quickly, and some counties aren't available.

    posted by liz at 2:30 PM
    (0) comments

    A touch of sanity 

    Are political blogs always filled with passionate partisanship, invective, attacks, snide remarks? Is that all there is? A New York Times story today says there's another side: catblogging. It links to a posting by Kevin Drum on his Calpundit blog (now replaced by Political Animal on the Washington Monthly site). In the midst of distress over the coming Iraq war, Drum turned around and found his cat calmly sleeping, and posted a photograph. Other bloggers took it up, posting cat photos on Fridays.
    Somehow I've missed this phenomenon, but I do know of another: Friday Birdblogging. South Knox Bubba seems to have started this one, and other Tennessee and North Carolina Bloggers have taken it up. Here's one. And another.

    posted by liz at 11:26 AM
    (0) comments

    Late nights 

    Staying up to watch baseball. What a show this has been! Great summary by Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe, On Top of the World. Wow.
    And, did you see that wonderful Nike commercial showing generations of a family of fans sitting in the same seats at Fenway over the years?
    I did a quick Google search and found several bloggers commenting on the ad too. Guess it struck a chord. Apparently Baseball Blogs has an entry saying that the ad was made in 2003. Only fitting, I'd say. They were so close last year.
    I don't see the posting on this page, (it's in the Google cache), but all the comments from Red Sox fans are worth reading. This is history.

    posted by liz at 10:55 AM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Floridians at sea least that's the goal of famed political cartoonist Pat Oliphant:

    posted by liz at 5:19 PM
    (0) comments

    That curse 

    Fascinating story on about the history of the Boston Red Sox and the sale of Babe Ruth. The story, titled "A 'curse' born of hate", says anti-Semitism played a role.
    (Also via Metafilter.)

    posted by liz at 1:56 PM
    (1) comments

    A little levity, and dead seriousness 

    For a lighter side of the election madness going on, here's a site with George Bush and John Kerry pumpkin stencils. If you're getting ready to carve your pumpkin, you can express your politics at the same time.

    On the other hand, here's an article that looks like essential reading: The Road to Abu Ghraib, in the Washington Monthly. By a former military man, Phil Carter, who expresses what effect the events in Iraq may have on our soldiers in the future:
      Those tens of thousands of Iraqis who surrendered during the two Gulf Wars did so because they believed they would be treated better as prisoners by the United States than as soldiers by the Hussein government. But in the wake of Abu Ghraib, more future battles fought by America will have to be fought to the death. Similarly, civilians in the places where we fight can no longer be expected to greet us as liberators. For as long as the memories of Abu Ghraib linger, our soldiers will be greeted with suspicion wherever they go.
      ...There was a third path between living with the anachronistic laws of war and rejecting them in favor of expediency. The Bush administration rejected that path, and now, every day, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens are paying the ultimate price for its mistake.

    (Via Metafilter.)

    posted by liz at 1:31 PM
    (0) comments

    Like the foreign policy? 

    Political observers abroad are perturbed about reports that The G.W. Bush campaign website has stopped allowing foreign visitors. Apparently the site started blocking Web requests from abroad on Monday. Boing Boing has more.

    UM prof Michael Froomkin, in London, can't get into the site.

    posted by liz at 1:04 PM
    (0) comments

    Florida vote questions -- again 

    Greg Palast, for the BBC, questions whether a new Florida vote scandal is in the making. Palast charges that a list of voters in a predominately black, Democratic area of Jacksonville was distributed to Republican campaign directors. The list is posted on a section of the website called the 'Dead Letter Office' where emails are archived.
    Don't know how significant this voter list is, although there's a suggestion it could be part of a campaign to challenge voters. But there are some fascinating things on this page, including memos on a TV ad, a mailer, and a proposed rally aimed at the Miami market. Oh, and one email from one Republican state representative to another, with a photo of GWB's daughter Barbara Bush saying 'She and I would look good together'.....the answer: 'Stay away from Jenna or things could get ugly'.
    If you thought this was the official campaign Website, this would be puzzling. But, as This article in Salon explains, it is a parody site. And Salon questions whether Palast's story stands up. The emails, however, are apparently authentic, sent by accident to the wrong domain.

    posted by liz at 11:23 AM
    (0) comments

    Food for thought 

    An email from a reader suggested looking at this Letter from a mother of a 9/11 victim to George W. Bush, published on Truthout. Seems to me we don't get to hear much from the people who were affected most on that day. This woman's heart-felt message covers a lot, mostly about the daughter she lost, but also including fears about voting:
      Right now, Mr. Bush, there are wide-spread rumors of vote tampering all over this country. And let me be clear about this: the rumors are that Republicans are benefiting from this tampering. Instead of enumerating our safeties, perhaps you could show some leadership, Mr. Bush, and demand that it stop now. Demand, Mr. Bush, that in this country our right to vote is protected. Because without that, we are not safe. Wouldn't you agree?

    A new study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University shows that Federal spending increased by 15% under President Bush last year. The analysis shows an increase each year since 2001, after several years of slight decreases. The report also covers expenditures by district. (Full information from the report may require subscription to TRACfed.) Hmm. "Tax-and-spend liberals"....?

    posted by liz at 9:55 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    An Omen? 

    From London, The Times reports that John Kerry's Idaho retreat has ghosts. It was a Suffolk barn imported from England by Teresa Kerry's late husband, Sen. John Heinz, and had been the scene of a double suicide.
    (via Boing Boing.)

    posted by liz at 3:23 PM
    (0) comments


    The American Conservative magazine comes out for John Kerry? This is a surprise after founder Pat Buchanan reluctantly and barely endorsed Bush. The Kerry piece is not a strong endorsement:
      "If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration Day forward. But the most important battles will take place within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. A Bush defeat will ignite a huge soul-searching within the rank-and-file of Republicandom: a quest to find out how and where the Bush presidency went wrong."

    Actually the Kerry story is not the ultimate endorsement from this magazine, as they have posted several pieces with various editor's opinions. Some of the editors have chosen other candidates, from Ralph Nader to Michael Anthony Peroutka. As the magazine states: "Unfortunately, this election does not offer traditional conservatives an easy or natural choice and has left our editors as split as our readership."

    posted by liz at 3:10 PM
    (1) comments

    Florida Politics 

    The blog by that name -- Florida Politics -- is back after it somehow got hijacked. For about 6 weeks there was a blog at the flapolitics address that wasn't the one everyone knew. Here's the first post of the new (old) blog from yesterday. Unfortunately all the archives were lost.
    (Gee, I just removed every last link to this blog. Will have to restore them.)
    (Via Florida Blog.)

    posted by liz at 2:20 PM
    (0) comments


    Based on This 1998 article on Bill Clinton by Michael Kelly of the National Journal, The Gadflyer writes on why he believes in George W. Bush. Seems to me the irony is a little more obvious in the Clinton one. (via Metafilter.)

    Oh, and something amusing found via The Corner, below: Football Fans for Truth is a funny attack on John Kerry's attempts to look sportsmanlike. Can't blame the man for trying but why did he have to shoot that innocent goose?

    posted by liz at 1:40 PM
    (0) comments

    Best political blogs 

    The Washington Post had a contest, and today publishes the result. Very interesting. Most of the winning blogs are conservative. Not sure what that means, but the contest was 'readers' choice'. An organized campaign? Or is it just that these blogs have more interesting things to say? (Registration may be required to see the list. For those who don't want to register, the overall winner in several categories seems to be National Review's The Corner. I will have to add this one to my reading list, just to see.)

    posted by liz at 1:08 PM
    (0) comments

    Iraqi complaints 

    Here's a story I haven't seen anywhere else yet: The Dayton Daily News obtained a database of lawsuits filed by Iraqi civilians against the U.S. military. This is fascinating stuff, leading with the story of a taxi driver shot to death by soldiers as he was out trying to support his family. The family asked for $2500, and were turned down.
    The reaction of a relative of a victim of a similar incident:
      "Our point of view toward the Americans has changed. You can feel the fury inside you," said Amir Shleman, Chaman's brother. "If they treated people like human beings, no one would take up weapons against them."

    (Via The Scoop.)

    posted by liz at 11:47 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    The draft, again 

    Rock The Vote is paying attention to the question of a possible draft. There are lots of links here, and an online petition. They're also linking to a blog called This is rumor control from 'an international team of foreign and military policy analysts'.
    I posted Several links on the draft to this blog just a couple weeks ago, and once on the old WeBlog a few months ago. All along it's looked like the draft rumors were just that -- rumors. But the talks is snowballing. Is there more behind it?

    Also on this topic: Washington Monthly proposes a new kind of draft. And here.

    posted by liz at 1:37 PM
    (0) comments

    Sunday, October 24, 2004


    Have you seen the latest Bush campaign commercial, 'Wolves'? It's reminiscent of the Reagan commercial showing a marauding bear, representing the Soviet Union. The Bush commercial likens the threat to the U.S. from terrorism to a pack of wolves. A new site, claims to be from the owner of the wolves used in the commercial, who says the filming of the ad was a trick. disputes some of the ad's statements about Kerry's votes on intelligence.
    (via Michael Froomkin.)

    Froomkin also links to Vote 2004 from, which is keeping track of reports of vote fraud, voting problems, fake ads, etc. There's an entire page tracking Florida elections problems.

    posted by liz at 3:27 PM
    (0) comments

    Friday, October 22, 2004


    PIPA, the Program on International Policy Attitudes, has taken a poll on what Americans believe about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Here's what they find, a year and a half after we invaded Iraq:
    " Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points."

    At least I guess there's something to be said for a group that steadfastly holds on to a belief that will support their side, no matter what the truth may be. The entire questionnaire can be read on the report site.

    posted by liz at 11:26 AM
    (0) comments


    Probably the most-linked politics Website these days is I'm seeing links to it everywhere, and clicking on the links results in slow loading, which may mean's servers are being overwhelmed by all the usage.
    But if you can get in, the site is worth it. The Vote Predictor studies all the current polls and estimates probable voting results by states. Right now the Vote Predictor has Bush and Kerry neck-and-neck, with 264 electoral votes for each. You can also see results of polls in each state.
    This is a fascinating site which weighs in on various electoral topics (today there's basic information on the Supreme Court), has a link to political humor, and also has predictions on the Senate makeup, as well as discussions of the Bush and Kerry track records. Among the topics in the latter, questions whether Bush is really a conservative or Kerry really a liberal.

    posted by liz at 10:24 AM
    (0) comments

    Fear and Loathing 

    Hunter Thompson, in Rolling Stone, expresses his opinion on the presidential race this year. As usual, Thompson minces no words. Excerpt:
    Of course I will vote for John Kerry. I have known him for thirty years as a good man with a brave heart -- which is more than even the president's friends will tell you about George W. Bush, who is also an old acquaintance from the white-knuckle days of yesteryear. He is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him.
    Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.
    I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, but I will not make that mistake again. The joke is over for Nader. He was funny once, but now he belongs to the dead. There is nothing funny about helping George Bush win Florida again.

    ...We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.
    That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.

    posted by liz at 10:05 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    Hostility and rudeness 

    Seems to be the national pasttime these days. Now the Lone Star Iconoclast says it got tons of rude letters and emails after endorsing John Kerry for president (the Crawford, TX newspaper is GW Bush's hometown paper).
      "We have been told by several avid Bush supporters that the days when newspapers publish editorials without personal repercussions are over. As publishers, we have printed editorials for decades, and have endorsed candidates, both Republican and Democrat. When Bush was endorsed four years ago, the Gore supporters did not respond with threats, nor did Democrats when we endorsed Reagan twice. Republicans did not threaten us personally or our business when we endorsed Carter and Clinton for their first terms.
      ...Unfortunately, for the Iconoclast and its publishers there have been threats - big ones including physical harm."

    They have put some of the letters to the editor on the Web. Some are supportive.

    posted by liz at 11:42 AM
    (1) comments

    Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    For conservatives only: 

    Via Michael Froomkin at, a new site called Yes Bush Can. Very convincing. At least, maybe til you try to Take the Patriot Pledge....

    posted by liz at 6:26 PM
    (0) comments

    Strong stuff 

    Vietnam Veterans for Bush? A little different from some of the other vets we've been hearing from...
    (via Metafilter.)

    posted by liz at 11:49 AM
    (0) comments

    And, from Iran... 

    Bush receives endorsement from Iran, from the Associated Press. According to this, the head of Iran's security council says he doesn't see any support from Democrats.

    posted by liz at 11:32 AM
    (0) comments

    In Iraq 

    Google gets a hostage released. No, really.
    (via BuzzMachine.)

    posted by liz at 11:25 AM
    (0) comments

    A link and bad/good news from Dave: 

    Found by way of Dave Barry's blog,
    Pithy political commentary from John Cleese (who's starring in a movie based on Dave Barry's book on Guys):
    How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. There's nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn't work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.

    (By the way, have you heard that Dave is taking a leave of absence, right? Dave says the blog will continue. It'll give Judi something to do.)

    posted by liz at 9:53 AM
    (2) comments

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    On Iran 

    The question of Iran and its nuclear capacity is one of those topics that just sits there close to the surface, not quite in the public opinion radar. But it's a topic that deserves attention. Here's an example of someone who's looked around to see what's out there: Alan Messmer, a news researcher at the Christian Science Monitor, has posted lots of links about this topic, and also discusses other nuclear programs in the Middle East, including a new book about the Israeli attack on Iraq's reactor in 1981, on the Monitor library's Weblog, called Liblog.

    posted by liz at 1:19 PM
    (0) comments

    Another 'endorsement'? 

    Arch conservative Pat Buchanan has surprised many by stating, several times, that the war in Iraq is a huge mistake. Now, in an editorial for American Conservative magazine, he expresses his views about the presidential campaign. Buchanan says:
      "Everything we predicted has come to pass. Iraq is the worst strategic blunder in our lifetime. And for it, George W. Bush, his War Cabinet, and the neoconservatives who plotted and planned this war for a decade bear full responsibility.
      ...If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing."

    posted by liz at 1:10 PM
    (0) comments

    Florida papers decide 

    Of all the presidential endorsement editorials so far, one of the biggest surprises was The Tampa Tribune's decision not to endorse President Bush. The St. Petersburg Times writes about that and what other Florida papers decided.
    Want to keep up with the endorsements? Besides the links listed earlier, there's also a list on the Kerry Website.

    posted by liz at 1:04 PM
    (0) comments


    Blogs and Politics is a timeline about what effect blogs have had in the political arena, starting with Matt Drudge (The Drudge Report) and that blue dress. The page is a Wiki, so anyone can add to it/edit it. It was started by Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati.

    posted by liz at 1:02 PM
    (0) comments

    Swift Boats 

    Freelance journalist and blogger Kevin Sites is covering a different kind of patrol in Iraq: river patrol boats, with Marines. Sites says:
      "When I see them in the river -- the 40-foot, olive-green boats -- all I can think of is Apocalypse Now. When, I wondered, would Captain Willard climb aboard and motor up the Mekong Delta on his way to terminate Colonel Kurtz's command with "extreme prejudice."

    posted by liz at 1:00 PM
    (0) comments

    Media bias? 

    Because of the common perception, at least in some circles, that journalists have political opinions that make their way into their reporting, newspapers and other media often set ethical guidelines to make sure that doesn't happen. Many of these organizations make their guidelines public, like these, listed on the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Website.
    Some papers have gone even further, instructing their reporters not to attend a series of "Vote for Change" concerts featuring Bruce Springsteen and others, which was held to gather funds for an affiliate of The Miami Herald was one of these newspapers. This week The St. Paul Pioneer Press, a Knight-Ridder newspaper, suspended two investigative reporters who attended the concert there. A tough call.

    posted by liz at 11:54 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, October 18, 2004

    Comedy or journalism? 

    Everybody's talking about it, so here's That Jon Stewart appearance on Crossfire, in case you missed it.
    In it, Stewart accuses Crossfire's journalists of not doing their job in finding out the facts about the issues and the campaign. Tucker Carlson gets testy, especially when Stewart makes a crack about his bow tie. It goes downhill from there.

    posted by liz at 5:53 PM
    (0) comments

    Better in America? 

    I was struck by a statement of President Bush's in the last debate, about America's health care system. From the transcript: "And just look at other countries that have tried to have federally controlled health care. They have poor-quality health care. Our health-care system is the envy of the world because we believe in making sure that the decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by officials in the nation's capital."
    Is that really true? Not according to Money and Medicine, a report in The Newark Star-Ledger last weekend (and some other newspapers over this past weekend). It's based on a book by two award-winning journalists: Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business--and Bad Medicine, a book by Donald Bartett and James Steele. A report based on the book is also on Time Magazine's Website but you must subscribe to read it here ($4.95 for a short subscription).
    According to Bartlett and Steele,
      "Politicians love to say that America has the best health care system in the world. It doesn't. Half the population is underinsured or has no insurance. Other countries take better care of their people with fewer dollars -- and they live longer. The United States spends more per person on health care than any other developed nation, this even though all other countries provide universal coverage, so no one has to think twice about seeking care or risk financial ruin if hospitalized."

    (Item changed to add the link to the Star-Ledger report online.)
    (Spelling of Donald Barlett corrected 10/22. Thanks to alert reader.)

    Also, an interesting report from the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis: Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans? This says that Americans work 50 percent more time than workers in Germany, France, and Italy.

    posted by liz at 10:22 AM
    (0) comments


    Editor and Publisher magazine has this weekend's list of newspaper endorsements for president.

    posted by liz at 9:53 AM
    (0) comments

    Haiti and the election: 

    The BBC reports that the UN commander in Haiti blames John Kerry for recent unrest there. Michelle Malkin has several links on this story, criticising Kerry's support of deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
    Meanwhile, the Herald reported on a Kerry speech on giving temporary residence to undocumented Haitian immigrants the other day.

    posted by liz at 9:28 AM
    (0) comments


    Don't miss Knight Ridder's important series on the future of Iraq:
      After nearly 19 months of combat, more than 1,000 American soldiers dead and $119 billion spent, the central question about Iraq isn't whether it will become a beacon of democracy in the Middle East but whether the United States can prevent it from becoming a black hole of instability.
      The answer may depend on whether Americans are willing to stomach what many military analysts believe will be a guerrilla war for years to come.

    posted by liz at 9:21 AM
    (0) comments


    Britain's Guardian newspaper started a campaign last week to have UK residents write letters to citizens of Clark County, Ohio, to express their opinion on how the results of the U.S. election will affect people abroad. Today The Guardian's Website publishes letters from Americans to the Guardian reacting to the project. It's not pretty. Too many of these letters are insulting. Here's part of a mild one:
      Keep your noses out of our business. As I recall we kicked your asses out of our country back in 1776. We do not require input from losers and idiots on who we vote for in our own country.

    Note, if you're offended by profanity, don't read more. Some of these letters are really crude.
    And Americans wonder why people don't like us abroad. How sad.
    Operation Clark County.

    posted by liz at 9:05 AM
    (0) comments

    Friday, October 15, 2004

    And, from Baghdad... 

    Salam Pax, the 'Baghdad Blogger' has given an interview to the BBC and has made several short films about life in Baghdad now which are showing on BBC's "Newsnight" program. He says,
      "Basically, we're not safe in our own city. This is where I live, this is where I want to go out with friends and family and we can't do that anymore because it's not safe. It's full of explosions and bombs and tanks on the street.
      ...That's scary, but that's our daily life. But that's just not what normal should look like."

    The films are available for viewing online.

    posted by liz at 8:16 PM
    (0) comments

    About Mary... 

    Lots of people are covering the Kerry/Mary Cheney flap, but seems that one person has the question nailed: never thought I'd be linking to Andrew Sullivan three times in the space of a couple weeks.

    posted by liz at 8:07 PM
    (0) comments

    Who are they endorsing? 

    If you're interested in which newspapers are going for Kerry, and which for Bush, here's a site that just lists Presidential Endorsements. An easy way to keep track.
    (via BeSpacific.)

    posted by liz at 8:01 PM
    (0) comments

    The Bulge overtakes the world! 

    UM's Michael Froomkin of DiscourseNet seems to be taken over by aliens......(with links on the presidential bulge from his brother Dan's column in the Washington Post).

    posted by liz at 1:17 PM
    (0) comments

    Following the Swift Boat story 

    ABC News' Nightline went to the Vietnamese hamlet where the disputed firefight involving John Kerry's swift boat took place. The story the villagers tell seems to contradict the Swift Boat Veterans' claims:
      "I didn't see anything because I was hiding from the bullets and the bombs," he said. "It was very fierce and there was shooting everywhere and the leaves were being shredded to pieces. I was afraid to stay up there. I had to hide. And then, when it was over, I saw Ba Thanh was dead. He may have been shot in the chest when he stood up."

    posted by liz at 1:04 PM
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    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    On the debate 

    Online on

    The referee:
    Nice feature at The Washington Post: Debate Referee puts a little referee icon next to places in the debate transcript where there's a questionable statement, and links to discussion of the question. (Registration may be required.)

    Instant poll results:
    Daily Kos has a rundown, and so does Kevin Drum.

    Who cares about Osama?
    At one point, Bush took issue with Kerry's statement that Bush had once said he didn't care where Osama bin Laden is now. Bush denied ever saying anything like that, which I thought strange because I've seen the quote in print. Michael Froomkin has the exact quote and another one, via Kevin Drum.

    Why not?
    Some interesting discussion going on about whether it would be a good idea to have Oprah Winfrey host a presidential debate. This Philadelphia Inquirer story says Paula Zahn likes the idea.

    One opinion:
    From a reader: "Kerry was strong, intelligent and honest. Bush was confused, condescending and ultimately not believeable." Concise.

    posted by liz at 9:54 AM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Random Gatherings: 

    More factchecking Fahrenheit:
    Here's another site which puts a critical eye on the Michael Moore movie: War, Lies, and Videotape: A Viewer's Guide to Fahrenheit 9/11. Another guide, this one from the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The claim: "This assessment reveals that Moore's film is profoundly dishonest and misleading on a scale that even the very skeptical viewer cannot begin to appreciate without a careful analysis of each of the individual pieces that make up the narrative."

    NASA's photo of the day shows this one, Contrail clutter, which shows jet contrails over Georgia. Along with the satellite photo there are several links here on whether contrails add to sky pollution and warming.

    Honky Tonkers for Truth have put out a new song called 'Taking my Country Back'. Lyrics.

    posted by liz at 11:15 AM
    (0) comments

    Factchecking the Factcheckers 

    I got an email from a friend asking how reliable might be, considering it is funded by money that came originally from the Annenberg family (Ambassador Walter Annenberg was a Richard Nixon appointee).
    My answer: read them all. Don't trust just one. There are several sites that can help you decipher the meaning behind political claims, and I'm reposting a list I posted on WeBlog back in August. I think as the election nears it's a good idea to see what several supposedly non-partisan critics say about the issues and questions. Check these out:

  • Spinsanity analyses political ads and researches the story. Spinsanity's authors also have a new book out on how G.W. Bush is a master of spin.
  • Disinfopedia is a 'Wiki', a collaborative Website where many people contribute information, and was started by the people who run PRWatch, a site devoted to exposing advertising mistruths. Disinfopedia has added political claims to the things they investigate; one of their most popular articles back in August when I first posted this was their discussion of the 'Swift boat' charges against John Kerry.
  •, from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, is devoted to studying political claims and finding the truth. They're also analysing the anti-Kerry ads, but all these sites debunk false statements from both sides.
  •, the Urban Legends Reference Pages, studies all kinds of rumors, exaggerations, and other tales, and finds out the truth. They've got a whole section on Politics these days.
  • Campaign Desk, from the Columbia Journalism Review, analyses the press coverage of the campaign. So you won't necessarily find direct criticism of the candidates' claims, but you can see if the stories you're reading or seeing are accurate.

    It's worth noting, though, back to the Annenberg/Factcheck question, that among their programs funded are many public interest programs including work with public broadcasting, a couple of journalism schools, and the Norman Lear Center.

    posted by liz at 10:39 AM
  • (0) comments

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Search the debates 

    Database software company AskSam has now put the presidential and vice-presidential debates online in searchable database formats. You just have to download the debate texts and the free AskSam reader software from their Web site. This is a great service from this Florida company (they are in Perry). You can also download and search the convention speeches, the campaign platforms, and the Patriot Act.

    posted by liz at 7:01 PM
    (0) comments

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    At least someone can still laugh about it: 

    (0) comments

    Get out on the highways 

    Well, maybe not such great advice, but nevertheless, Wednesday has been declared Freeway Free Speech Day by the Freeway Blogger. If you haven't seen the Freeway Blogger's work, it's worth a look. Talk about a unique way of spreading your'll be interesting to see what people come up with on Wednesday. All sign posters are being asked to email photos of their messages to the Website. (Via Daily Kos.)

    posted by liz at 1:15 PM
    (0) comments

    Factchecking Fahrenheit 

    Since the Michael Moore film is still having an influence on politics (it may be running on a cable and satellite Pay-per-view just before the election), this site may come in handy: Footnote Fahrenheit 9/11 is a site by a Chicago attorney and former journalist who has backgrounded the entire film. The site is part of a larger site, Footnote TV which looks into issues brought up on influential TV programs such as West Wing or The Daily Show.
    (via Sree Sreenivasan at

    posted by liz at 10:40 AM
    (0) comments

    Today they're talking about.... 

    Questions on the economy?
    Bush and Kerry discussed it some in the last debate, although probably not so much as it deserves. Some bloggers, like Kevin Drum, are pointing out Bush's claim that "Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent..."

    Want the facts on the economy and the deficit? The Congressional Budget Office has lots and lots of charts showing where the economy is headed. Like this one, Titled 'Spending Growing out of Control'

    CNN reports that the Bush campaign will be focusing on a line in a NY Times Magazine story on John Kerry, in which he says he hopes one day terrorism will return to the 'nuisance' level it was before 9/11.
    (In the article, Kerry discusses his immediate reaction to the 9/11 attacks: "You know, my instinct was, Where's my gun?'' Kerry told me. ''How do you fight back? I wanted to do something.")

    Human rights:
    An award from Libya to....wait for it....Hugo Chavez! ...." for resisting "imperialism" and being a champion of the poor."
    Always interesting to see how things are viewed in other parts of the world....

    The U.S. Civil Rights Commission has issued a report on The Bush administration's performance on Civil Rights. A 181-page PDF report, which says: Not good.

    posted by liz at 10:12 AM
    (0) comments

    Saturday, October 09, 2004

    Factchecking the debate, again 

    Trees or oil?
    Were you puzzled, as I was, about the discussion of taxes on small businesses? John Kerry said George Bush would be considered a small business because of his timber company involvement and Bush acted as if he'd never heard of it...'What timber company?' looked into it and says,
      "President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise."

    But then, Factcheck corrects itself and says the company was really "an "oil and gas production" concern, the Lone Star Trust. We were confused because The Lone Star Trust currently owns 50% of another company, "LSTF, LLC", described on Bush’s 2003 financial disclosure forms as a limited-liability company organized "for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales." So, Bush does own part interest in a tree-growing company, but the $84 came from an oil and gas company and we should have reported it as such"

    So far the polls seem to be showing the President and Sen. Kerry about even on this debate, with a slight lead to Kerry. But I'm seeing another reaction, on the President's demeanor: Kevin Drum, at Political Animal, says Bush came off angry and shrill: "It's one thing to be passionate, but it's quite another to look like you're off your meds and need to be restrained.". There are lots and lots of comments on this posting. Also, Michaal Tomasky in the American Prospect thinks Bush turned off women voters with his swaggering. (One blogger, Digby, call's Bush America's ex-husband.) In contrast, the instant voter surveys held by the networks last night showed several women who said they'd decided on Bush after the debate. However, the Gallup Poll does show a huge gap between men and women on this debate, with the women much stronger for Kerry.
    (Added later:) Miami blogger Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof also remarks on Bush's behavior, saying " times it seemed that if the red light hadn't come on, he would have ended his statement with "neener neener."" And even Andrew Sullivan calls Bush's demeanor "not presidential". (Via South of the Suwannee.)

    posted by liz at 1:40 PM
    (26) comments

    Friday, October 08, 2004

    Today's political talk 

    Need to know:
    The discussion about whether or not there's a plan to reinstall the military draft is not going away. I got a seriously worried email yesterday, similar to those that have been going around for months, predicting that a draft law will be passed soon. There have been stories and reports, such as this, on (just updated), trying to allay the concern. Leonard Pitts wrote about it today.
    But the concern seems to be growing. Emailers cite this report from the Selective Service System, saying it shows increased staffing planning, and also cite this: The Home School Legal Defense Association's Background on the draft bill.
    More background on the draft:
    What Happens in a draft, from the Selective Service System: (last updated April 2002) and How the draft has changed since Vietnam.
    History of the draft.
    Is a draft coming? from Operation Truth.

    Alliance for Security investigates the issue, and also has this feature: Send a Draft Card to a friend (it tells them to vote on Nov. 2.)
    From the Alliance's Web site:
    The Alliance for Security is a program of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, an international humanitarian organization that has been addressing the causes, conduct and consequences of war through programs of advocacy and service for victims of conflict around the world for over twenty years.

    (Some links from Librarians' Index to the Internet.)

    Necessary facts:
    One blogger did some extensive research and found out that 64% of people named George Bush are voting for Kerry. Now you know. (via

    That little voice...:
    Lots of talk on blogs about whether George Bush is getting prompted during speeches and during the last debate. Looks like he has a battery pack on his back in some debate photos, and there seems to be a voice saying phrases just before he says them in some speeches. Now there's a blog totally devoted to this subject: Several columns mention this too, recently, but they are all linked from this page.

    posted by liz at 4:19 PM
    (0) comments

    New Blog 

    Welcome to the Infomaniac blog. For over a year I've been doing a blog, called WeBlog, on the Miami Herald site, WeBlog continues here.
    There are advantages to this new site. For one, you won't have to be registered on to read it. The archived postings will have permanent links so you won't get dead links on an old posting link. At some point, comments may be activated. And, best of all, there will be a Webfeed (click on the XML link to get the feed address for your feed reader).

    posted by liz at 1:29 PM
    (0) comments

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

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