Saturday, September 18, 2004

I'm a believer

I'm a fairly religious person. I attended Rosh Hashana services on Thursday, and I'll be spending Yom Kippur with my family. I keep a quasi-form of Kosher (I don't eat pork or shellfish, but I do mix meat and milk). I believe in God.

And I think the Bible, while flawed, teaches us many valuable lessons about life.

This is why I can't vote for John Kerry. Apparently, if elected, democrats will ban the bible. I had no idea. All this time, I've vocally suported Kerry; I even voted for him in 2002. But now that I know he is part of a liberal conspiracy to outlaw the bible, I'll have to reconsider my options for November 2.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

It's about frickin' time

Finally, Kerry is hammering Bush on his handling of Iraq.

From a speech Kerry gave to the National Guard in Las Vegas today:
True leadership is about looking people in the eye and telling the truth--even when it's hard to hear. And two days ago, President Bush came before you and you received him well, as you should. But I believe he failed the fundamental test of leadership. He failed to tell you the truth. You deserve better. The Commander in Chief must level with the troops and the nation. And as president, I will always be straight with you--on the good days, and the bad days.

Two days ago, the President stood right where I'm standing and did not even acknowledge that more than 1,000 men and women have lost their lives in Iraq. He did not tell you that with each passing day, we're seeing more chaos, more violence, more indiscriminate killings. He did not tell you that with each passing week, our enemies are getting bolder--that Pentagon officials report that entire regions of Iraq are now in the hands of terrorists and extremists. He did not tell you that with each passing month, stability and security seem farther and farther away.

He did not tell you any of this, even though--as the country learned today in The New York Times--his own intelligence officials have warned him for weeks that the mission in Iraq is in serious trouble. But that is the truth--hard as it is to hear. You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security, who will not ignore his own intelligence, while living in a fantasy world of spin, and who will give the American people the truth about the challenge our brave men and women face on the front lines.
UPDATE: The beauty of this speech lies beyond the criticism of the war. Kerry isn't simply addressing Bush's incompetence; he is also attacking his perceived strength--leadership. It's a page right out of Bush's campaign playbook. Kerry's perceived strength was his Vietnam service, and that's why the Swift Boat Veterans were deployed.

Now Kerry is giving Bush a taste of his own medicine. I imagine this will be a theme through the remainder of the campaign. But the talking points will change. At some point, I wonder if Kerry will say something to the effect of: "True leadership is about seeing a war through to its proper conclusion. The president failed to do that in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al Qaeda remain a serious threat to America's well-being. A true leader will protect the American people. But as the situation in Iraq continues to spiral out of control, the likelihood of a terrorist attack increases."

Of course, playing the fear card would be another example of Kerry taking a page from Bush's playbook.

Say it ain't so

I was a big fan of this website, which provides the electoral vote count if the election were held today. A visit to the site informs us that Bush would win, 311-223. That's not too encouraging.

Now imagine my dismay when I saw that the site puts my beloved home state of New Jersey in the "Barely Bush" category. New Jersey? For Bush? The state that Al Gore won by 15 points? By hovering the mouse over New Jersey, I learned that a Survey USA poll was used as its source, giving Bush a 49-45 lead. Sounded pretty dubious to me.

So I visited the website of the highly-regarded Eagleton Institute of Poltics at my alma mater, Rutgers University. For years, the Eagleton Institute has been teaming with the Star-Ledger of Newark to conduct polls, which are usually quite reliable. I don't know for a fact that the Eagleton Institute and Star-Ledger are more credible than Survey USA, but it strikes me as a logical conclusion.

Anyway, the latest Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll, conducted immediately after the Republican National Convention, gives Kerry a slim 43-39 lead.

The Survey USA poll was conducted from September 12-14, meaning that the convention bounce would most likely have faded. And Bush still has a four-point lead? Again, seems dubious.

Adding to my incredulity is the fact that, according to ABC News, Bush leads Kerry by just one point in Pennsylvania. In case you didn't know, unlike New Jersey, the Keystone State is actually considered to be a battleground state.

The point of this whole exercise? Take polls with a serious grain of salt.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I still like Ike

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity."

--Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 10, 1946

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Baseball's mysterious origins

Bill Pennington, whom I had the fortune of meeting about nine years ago (he seemed like a nice guy), had a piece in today's New York Times--with the obligatory Doris Kearns Goodwin quote--about the origins of America's national past time.

In a nutshell, no one has a clue about where baseball was first played. The Abner Doubleday-Cooperstown connection was debunked years ago, leaving people to believe that the game was born in either Hoboken, NJ or lower Manhattan. But recently, a document was discovered in Pittsfield, MA to suggest that the game was first played there in 1791. However, there is evidence to indicate that the game goes as far back as 13th-century Spain, or maybe even ancient Egypt. It's all very fascinating.