Name the comedian who'd do this routine:
Reporter: "What makes the district attorney so sure Winona Ryder's guilty?"
Defense attorney: "Well, he's got proof."
Answer: Nobody recognizes Don Adams' "Roving Reporter"? ...10:30 P.M.
We want the horse race and we want it now! CNN/USA Today/Gallup finds the same pro-GOP shift in its "generic" poll that the CBS/NYT poll found, although unlike the NYT's Nagourney and Elder, USAT's Richard Benedetto doesn't pussfyoot around and bury his lede. He actually tells us the news. ... Note to NYT editors: I know "horse race" coverage is beneath you. You're looking for the big picture with your polling --- large, ephemeral, amorphous trends, like "Americans Say Both Parties Lack Clear Vision." Nothing inherently wrong with that. But it's now the last few days before the election and we want to find out the score -- who's ahead, who's behind, who's coming on strong ... P.S.: There are obviously other reasons, besides deep-think snobbery and the dread Lib Bias, for the NYT's caution. One is a semi-laudable desire not to have the election results influenced by horse-race polls, one way or the other. Another is a self-protective desire not to look like a fool when your poll turns out to be wrong. (In contrast, who is going to challenge Nagourney's Sunday theme, and say "The parties did too turn out to have a clear vision!"). But those aren't excuses for a newspaper, which risks error (and assumes the burden of influencing events) all the time. ... 9:11 P.M.
Faster Journalism for Faster Politics: Why are the best free, 24/7 political websites down this pre-election stretch one-man or two-man shows, like RealClearPolitics and MyDD? What can they do that the big boys -- CNN, etc. -- can't do? Yes, they can have opinions, but these are opinions about a horse-race, not ideology; they shouldn't be that controversial. ... I'm honestly stumped here. My guess is that the technical problems involved in running and editing a big corporate site get in the way of fast reaction times. The kf solution: Get rid of the editors! ... It's not as if a corporate election site can't be good -- ABC's "The Note" is filled with quirky personality and opinions, plus up-to-the date info from all sorts of sources, ABC and non-ABC. Thanks to The Note, outsiders can now know about 85% of what the insiders know. Alas, The Note's only published once a day, which, for the next 72 (and possibly the next 1,072) hours isn't often enough. ...8:37 P.M.
Pick Your Florida: Everybody's assuming there is going to be some bizarre Florida-like complication to this election -- there are so many of them that the most bizarre outcome, at this point, would probably be if there wasn't a Florida-like complication. A smooth election with winners and losers -- there's your Man Bites Dog story! .. Possible Floridas include 1) the Minnesota Hand Count; 2) the Landrieu Lacuna, in which the decisive Senate seat goes unfilled while Louisiana holds a runoff; and 3) the Talent Temporary Turnover, in which James Talent beats Jean Carnahan to fill the Missouri Senate seat to which Carnahan was appointed, takes office immediately, and temporarily gives the GOP a Senate majority with consequences (for Bush's judges, in particular) that are somewhat unclear. .... But on This Week, Bill Carrick mentioned my own nominee for the next constituional nightmare -- the House High-Bidding War. Under this scenario, Democrats do better than expected and take back just enough seats to get within one or two votes of a House majority (or they get enough seats to actually get a tiny, one- or two- vote majority). Then the parties attempt to bribe whatever Jeffords-types emerge on either side of the aisle in a desperate, month-long, see-sawing struggle to gain control ... Someone should run a prediction pool, not for which party or candidates will win, but for which disaster scenario will come to pass. I volunteer. Rules: The person who sends in the most accurate disaster scenario wins a discount-bin copy of Jeffrey Toobin's unread Florida recount book. Scenarios involving litigation, high crimes, and misdemeanors accepted. Tie goes to the prediction with the most telling novelistic detail. 7:48 P.M.
Name That Source! On This Week, George Stephanopoulos speculated that Gary Hart might make a run for the 2004 presidential nomination. ... Hmmm. Could Stephanopoulos have been talking to Bill Bradley -- not the lugubrious New Jersey ex-senator but the California journalist/Hart adviser who recently broke the Arnold Schwarzenegger write-in story, which Stephanopoulos, just coincidentally, also used? ... If any womanizing politico got a raw deal in the past decade and a half, it's Hart, who was right about a lot of what was wrong with paleoliberalism (though not welfare policy!) before Bill Clinton, and who got basically zip from Clinton after the latter had gotten elected President by walking down the path that Hart had cleared for him. ... Unfortunately, Hart's problem was never his ideology or brainpower. It was his judgment, which was Gore-like in its susceptibility to intellectual fads, and his character, which was ever-so-slightly creepy. If he'd just been a blatant, leering cheater, like Clinton -- well, that's a type we know and can deal with. But he wasn't -- which is why the fact that he's still married to his wife Lee, rather than cleansing him of the taint of the Donna Rice scandal, somehow makes him seem creepier. Why couldn't he get divorced like a normal politician? ... Anyway, Hart's way too young to be a credible Democratic candidate these days. ... Election Night Correction: Just ran into Bradley, who convincingly says he's not Stephanopoulos' source. ...7:08 P.M.
More Texas Tie: The MSNBC/Zogby poll backs up kf's Texas source -- their latest survey has the Kirk/Cornyn Senate race more or less tied (at 49-48 in favor of the Republican Cornyn). The Dallas Morning News poll has Cornyn up 9, but they seem to have a less-than-inspiring track record. ... At the same time, everybody has Republican Rick Perry trouncing Democrat Tony Sanchez in the Texas governor's race, and you'd think this widely-advertised prospect would have a depressing effect on the Hispanic turnout, which would in turn hurt Kirk. The Dems Great Hispanic Salvation may have to be postponed for yet another election cycle. ... 12:42 P.M.
Saturday, November 2, 2002 I certainly don't approve of all the GOP tactics aimed at black voters that John Judis describes in his recent New Republic piece. But why is it any worse for Republicans to urge blacks to "send a message" to Arkansas Democrat David Pryor by "not voting" than it is to urge them to vote for Pryor's GOP opponent? Not voting is a legitimate choice in a democracy, and it's legitimate to urge voters to make that choice. ..6:09 P.M.
I certainly don't approve of all the GOP tactics aimed at black voters that John Judis describes in his recent New Republic piece. But why is it any worse for Republicans to urge blacks to "send a message" to Arkansas Democrat David Pryor by "not voting" than it is to urge them to vote for Pryor's GOP opponent? Not voting is a legitimate choice in a democracy, and it's legitimate to urge voters to make that choice. ..6:09 P.M.
NSL at the NYT: Didn't the NYT's Nagourney and Elder kind of bury the lede -- that the GOP has a 47-40 lead in the generic Congressional ballot question among likely voters -- in their sixth paragraph, under the dumb Neutral Story Line of "Both Parties Lack Clear Vision." ... It sure looks to me like this is a falloff for the Democrats from the Oct. 6 poll, when they were ahead 46-43, according to CBS. ... Wouldn't want to get the troops down, would we Howell! (Sorry, that was my inner Andrew Sullivan coming out.) ... If the Times' headline on Wednesday morning is "Election Results Reflect Growing Divide," you'll know the Dems have been shellacked. ... P.S.: Why is Zogby releasing his "final" generic poll now? The campaign's just begun! If the poll's worth doing, it's worth doing on Monday, no?...(Zogby shows a 51-49 Dem lead on the generic Congressional question.) ...P.P.S.: All the various generic GOP/Dem Congressional poll results seem to be gathered here. Kf reader J.H. suggests the NYT reporters and editors downplayed the results because they don't trust the results, since other polls such as Zogby have found a slight Dem edge. But if the Times thinks its own poll may be wrong, doesn't it have an obligation to say why it thinks its own poll may be wrong? Maybe the error in question infects the other Times poll results, the ones the Times trumpets. ... 5:35 P.M.
Friday, November 1, 2002
Trusted kf Texas source checks in:
republican four-day rolling tracking poll has perry up by 17 [points] in the governor's race but kirk and cornyn in a dead heat. accd'g to the note, prez will be campaiging here monday. he ain't coming for perry.
Note to other trusted kf sources: You send em', we'll append 'em! ... 4:11 P.M.
Gloomus Interruptus: Despite the struggling "jobless recovery," welfare caseloads have continued to fall, according to the very latest HHS data released either today or Monday... Wasn't the caseload decline (according to opponents of the 1996 welfare reform) a fortuity caused by the '90s economic boom? So why haven't the caseloads gone back up? (And if the answer is that needy recipients have been heartlessly turned away from aid, why did black child poverty reach a record low last year,even in a weak economy, while overall child poverty remained stable?) ... Gentlemen of the Left, start your rationalizations! ... P.S.: It's pretty clear to me that if the Democrats take back the House and retain the Senate, the 1996 reform will be undermined at least to some degree (with work requirements loosened and vague "training" substituted for real work). If I were someone who thought the 1996 reform was the single most important and successful domestic policy initiative since Medicare, this might cause me to actually root for the Republicans to retain the House.. ... 3:10 P.M.
The new face of the Democrats! If, by focusing on the Wellstone succession, the Republicans can turn Tuesday's election into a national Bush vs. Mondale contest, that might not be a bad thing for them, even if they lose in Minnesota ... 2:46 A.M.
Good for Barney Frank ... 2:05 A.M.
So It Was a Rally? Why am I not as exercised about the classlessness of Paul Wellstone's memorial service as Will Saletan, Howie Kurtz, and many conservatives who've written about it (see, e.g. Will and Noonan and Reynolds)? Noonan's clearly right that we shouldn't let politics push out our humanity -- especially when Democrats and Republicans are converging in the center and when we all face a terrorist threat several orders of magnitude graver than the threat to full Social Security benefits. But you can't expect that a candidate's funeral at the end of a bitterly-fought political race will be the occasion for recognizing this truth. People react to death with something less than rationality, often by plunging headlong into some action -- any action -- they can take that might restore some sense of control or efficacy. They found Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They file lawsuits, demand compensation, lobby for new procedures to make sure the plane never crashes/building never collapses/blood gets screened/airbag deploys. They campaign for Megan's Law or the Amber Alert system. Or they try to win the Senate campaign the deceased was in the middle of fighting. Wellstone friend Rick Kahn's controversial speech at the rally, in which he implored several Republican Senators to "win this election for Paul Wellstone," was so wacky it's a good example of the irrationality I'm talking about.
I think if (to use Noonan's hypothetical) Senator Lott were killed at the end of a close, emotional campaign, and Tom Daschle had attended the funeral in a big auditorium, Daschle (or Hillary!) might well draw some boos from grieving Lott loyalists. There might be a few partisan speeches. Daschle would probably complain publicly (the way Minnesota governer Jesse Ventura did) and the press would echo those complaints, and there would be talk about mean-spirited right-wingers (I agree that those on the left these days seem to feel they have a greater license to say their opponents are bad human beings, though there is plenty of that on the right). But all this fuss would be wrong. The proper response on Daschle's part would be to suck it up, stick it out, pay his respects and quietly leave when it gets to be too much -- to have a reaction like that of former Minnesota Senator Rod Grams, a Republican who was booed at the Wellstone memorial, and who told the press,"This was their event. They can do what they want. We're here tonight to say goodbye to a friend."
(To make it a completely parallel hypothetical, actually, you have to imagine a memorial service for a Republican whose campaign style was as emotional as Wellstone's -- Bob Dornan, maybe, or Jesse Helms. Not Lott.) ...
Many of Wellstone's political foes, including many very conservative Republicans, reacted to his death with what I thought was genuine, non-political humanity. (See Helms' statement, for example.) It must be deeply annoying to have the response come back on a different, lower, partisan and political level. But that was a human response too.
The Wellstone event wasn't classy, and it wasn't a great day for our democracy, but it was human. There will be time to transcend politcs later. ...2:02 A.M.
Thursday, October 31, 2002 Please, I beg you, don't make us read about the need to "build cross-racial coalitions" again! Kfwas under intense pressure to maintain its reputation as the go-to site for American Prospect gossip by commenting on this week's editorial reshuffle -- but Boston Phoenix's Dan Kennedy beat me to it. ... Meanwhile, Harold Meyerson, who's out as TAP Executive Editor (as predicted with non-eerie prescience in this space when he took the job) has written what must be his 100th articledeclaring that "The Rising Latino Tide .. is creating a Democratic future." They should have a little ceremony to mark such occasions, like the one they held recently when the 10 millionth Volkswagen rolled off the assembly line. ... 11:19 P.M.
Please, I beg you, don't make us read about the need to "build cross-racial coalitions" again! Kfwas under intense pressure to maintain its reputation as the go-to site for American Prospect gossip by commenting on this week's editorial reshuffle -- but Boston Phoenix's Dan Kennedy beat me to it. ... Meanwhile, Harold Meyerson, who's out as TAP Executive Editor (as predicted with non-eerie prescience in this space when he took the job) has written what must be his 100th articledeclaring that "The Rising Latino Tide .. is creating a Democratic future." They should have a little ceremony to mark such occasions, like the one they held recently when the 10 millionth Volkswagen rolled off the assembly line. ... 11:19 P.M.
Former Carter/Hart/Biden pollster Pat Caddell was behind the abortive Richard Riordan write-in boomlet in the California governor's race, according to L.A. Weekly (which presumably means according to Pat Caddell) ... I think we may have dodged a bullet there -- to paraphrase a former TNR colleague, the rehabilitation of Caddell would have been a heavy price to pay for rescuing the world's fifth largest economy from four years of corrupt and self-serving leadership. .. P.S.: Caddell's also advising Winona. ... Reader Advisory: Caddell is a fellow Dem who likes trashing Dems -- we're competing for the same ecological niche! But he has the really, really angry section of the niche, which is the most fertile part, under his complete control. ... Memo to Pat: Need a new target for your anti-Dem rage? One word -- Mondale. You had his number once, remember ... 10:34 P.M.
Which way would Walter Mondale have voted on the Iraq war resolution? TNR'sblog makes the excellent point that he'll be asked, and the answer probably won't help him (whatever that answer is). ... Is it time for the New Mondale yet? ...Update: An alert kf reader says Mondale has already been asked, and says he'd have voted against the Bush war resolution the way Wellstone did. As TNR notes, Wellstone didn't pay a price for his vote in large part because it enhanced his preexisting reputation for principled fearlesslessness. It's not clear that Mondale has the same protection. (Mondale could certainly cultivate an "I'm so old, I don't care about the political consequences" attitude. That really would be a new Mondale.) ...More: Iatribe points to this Minneapolis Star Tribune piece on Mondale's positions. The main difference from Wellstone, according to Iatribe, is on free trade. But what about missile defense? Mondale "favors continuing research and testing, but criticized Bush for seeking deployment too early ...," according to the Star Tribune. Somehow, I think, Wellstone would have made the point more forcefully. ... 3:28 P.M.
A new Scripps-Howard "Texas Poll" shows Republican John Cornyn up by 9 in the Texas Senate race. I have no dog in this fight, but do note that the Texas Poll's numbers have been greeted with skepticism at RealClearPolitics as well as by a knowledgeable kf emailer who warns:
they are a joke because they are in the field so long and they do not pre-screen for race, ethnicity, partisan preference, gender, age or region. other than that, the[y] are fine.
Upshot: Don't write Democrat Ron Kirk off yet. ...N.B.:. You can apparently get Texas Poll results, however flawed, a day early at the Quorum Report. I don't subscribe, so you are getting this when everyone else does. ...1:40 P.M.
Harmonic convergence of tedious kausfiles themes: Alert reader O.M. notes a possibly "synergy" between two recent themes of this column, the Feiler Faster Thesis -- the idea that voters now process information much more quickly -- and the Fifty-Fifty Forever thesis (not my original idea either, it turns out) -- which holds that the parties have become so good at adjusting to voter desires that they've reached a competitive equilibrium in which they are effectively tied. O.M. suggests, inevitably:
The current 50-50 deadlock is itself a result of the Faster thesis. The analysis that leads people to expect deadlock (the basic competition-for-the-middle point made in the Danny Hillis graph you link to) does not apply any more now than it always does in a two party system. So why is deadlock happening now? One obvious explanation following from the Faster effect is that with more responsiveness in the parties and less momentum in the system the two sides are able to fit themselves into the deadlocked centrist position ever more precisely. In slower times the incentive towards this end state still applied, but momentum mattered - it was harder to steer things, easier to overshoot - and so come election day things would not be settled into the stable deadlocked state. In the Faster world all movements out of line are increasingly quickly corrected for, and so deadlock becomes semi-perfectible. ... [Emphasis and link added.]
I'll try to work in welfare reform for a trifecta. ... P.S.: Meanwhile, Feiler himself has surfaced, suggesting the following scenario for the Minnesota U.S. Senate race:
Mondale, now up, will be down by the weekend, then returning as the "new" Mondale by election day.
But will Norm Coleman pay for Gary Hart to fly to Minnesota and remind voters what the 1984 Democratic presidential primary was all about? ... Update: If Coleman won't remind them, Simon and Brownstein will try ... 2:21 A.M.
Sullivan Hobgoblin Hunt: The returns are in, such as they are, in the hunt for evidence that Andrew Sullivan hasn't consistently argued that, as he recently declared, "any kind of racial profiling is always wrong." Kf readers came up with 1) a Sullivan clip accusing Al Gore of having "demagogued" by calling for a federal mandate to end profiling and 2) a clip calling on Bush to move to end profiling. No smoking gun, and some evidence of consistency. But even if the "always wrong" position is Sullivan's previous position, and not a new position, it's still a crazy position -- and, I'd argue, a bit of a pose, since I very much doubt Sullivan would really be as flamboyantly principled in practice. (Note that in his recent blog item on this subject Sullivan retreats to the much-less-sweeping, question-begging position that "the government should be as color-blind as it possibly can." Well, yes.) ...
I think Sullivan's onto something, though, when he accuses the NYT of avoiding reporting about an obvious question in the sniper case -- whether, on the several occasions when John Allen Muhammad was stopped by the police and let go, he was let go in part because police were on the alert for a white man, not a black man. I don't know if that's the case. Sullivan doesn't either. But the NYT is in a position to find out and tell us, and they seem to be dancing around the issue. The Times explains with great clarity that the cops weren't suspicious of Muhammad's dark Caprice because it was the wrong shape and color -- they were looking for a white van. But was Muhammad himself the wrong color? (And, if police were looking for a white man, was that because of a) an erroneous eyewitness report; b) the erroneous theorizing of "profilers," or c) racial profiling based on statistics. Only b) and c), it seems to me, would be objectionable.) ... P.S.: Of course, the police could let Muhammad go so often because they stopped him so often. And isn't it likely, as a Slate colleague pointed out, that one reason they stopped him no less than four times (and ran his license plate through their databases 11 times) in the 18 days before his arrest was plain old-style non-reverse profiling (i.e. suspicion) of black men? ... I know whenever I sleep in my car, the cops leave me alone! ... 1:39 A.M.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002 Quote of the Day:
Wednesday, October 30, 2002 Quote of the Day:
Quote of the Day:
"The Democrats will soon run out of 70-year-old issues and 70-year-old senators."
Excellent pull-quote from ...yes, Robert Kuttner. ... The whole column is good -- and you know I wouldn't say that if it weren't true! ... Kuttner doesn't offer any particularly compelling new Dem issues, except "true universal health insurance." Hmm. Isn't that issue 70-years old, dating from at least Harry Truman's day? ... But it's still a good quote..[Link via RealClearPolitics] 5:40 P.M.
OK, he's not coasting: With the election a long six days away, Bush is at least trying to make some fresh, trajectory-changing news. His proposal on judicial confirmations seems like a good start -- if it's a start, as opposed to a final shot. ... Bush has time for about four more similar initiatives, no?... How about endorsing the emerging bipartisan three-year welfare reauthorization compromise -- in the process emphasizing that it's an acceptable deal because (last time I checked) it prevents Democrats from undermining work requirements the way they'd surely do if, say, they took back the House? ... Just an idea! ... P.S.: The judicial-confirmation issue still seems more of a base-rallying point than a swing-voter-convincing point, even if today's pitch was disguised as a fresh, goo-goo proposal. ... 5:06 P.M.
Dahlia's Assignment Desk: It's widely expected that next Tuesday's election will be "Florida Times Fifty," with tense margin-of-error elections, recounts, chads, computer glitches, appeals, and lawsuits in many, many states -- all with suitably grave consequences for the control of Congress, balance of power, national agenda, etc..etc.. The crucial lawsuit from the last election was of course decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, under an "equal protection" rationale that could be applied to lots of other elections --including, undoubtedly, many that will take place next week. Yes, the Court's 5-4 majority shamelessly declared that its rationale would only apply to Bush v. Gore, and yes, the justices probably don't want to be put in the position of deciding another election. But will they be able to resist intervening if a) litigants batter down their door with "equal protection" arguments that are more compelling than those in Florida in 2000, and b) some of these litigants get mid-level federal courts of appeal to bite, creating a conflict between appelllate courts in different areas of the country? The Supreme Court more or less has to resolve those sorts of conflicts. It doesn't have to resolve them speedily, granted -- but what if the balance of power in Congress gets decided by lower court decisions that are flatly contradictory? ... You get the idea. It's not clear that, in a "50/50 Nation," Bush v. Gore is a Pandora's box that can be closed so easily. ... I'd love to hear what Slate's eminent and informed SCOTUS-watcher has to say on this subject. .... Dahlia? .... 2:35 P.M.
Texas Surprise? According to kf's trusted, but perhaps not pro-Republican, Longhorn sources, an internal Republican poll in Texas is said to show that Democratic Senate candidate Ron Kirk and Republican John Cornyn are now even . ... In a race that Cornyn was widely expected to win, and had in fact been winning, this finding is apparently leading to understandable GOP concern. ...The most recent public poll showed Cornyn up by three points. ... P.S.: A Kirk win, or even a Cornyn squeak-through, would vindicate all those biased media liberals who focused on Kirk's seemingly doomed Texas run (which is of course the really important angle here). ..1:01. P.M.
And you thought it was just a tedious kf schtick: The L.A. Daily News, an actual large, legitimate newspaper, refuses to endorse either major candidate for California governor, and suggests a write-in vote for former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan. ... 11:53 A.M.
Don't forget Winona: Guber's Boswells, Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters, weigh in with some enthusiastic reporting on the bizarre presence of the ex-mogul on the Ryder jury:
The mystery is why [Deputy D.A.] Rundle, with a whole pool of potential jurors available, chose not to peremptorily strike Mr. Guber. She didn't question him closely during selection on his relationship to Ms. Ryder, and that has Hollywood sputtering. Most of the executives around town refused to go on the record, but seethed with comments like this one: "He is clearly conflicted—he knows her, he's worked with her, he has feelings for her. To say that he just ran the studio is disingenuous …. I would think he would be compromised whichever way it goes—if she's guilty or innocent." Said another: "If I were the judge, I wouldn't believe he's neutral. I think it's despicable."
The obvious expectation, reflected in the above paragraph, is that Guber would tend to be a vote for acquittal -- for one thing, he's still doing business in Hollywood. Why make enemies of Ryder, her agent, etc.? But at least one unidentified executive tells Griffin and Masters he thinks Guber's bias would be against Ryder:
"Read his book. See how he refers to actors. I think he has a disdain for actors and, if anything, he would try to hurt her."
P.S. : At least one other buried bit of news here: The surprise Monday morning in-chambers meeting between the judge and Guber was apparently triggered by inquiries made to the court's spokesman by Griffin and Masters themselves. ...1:09 A.M.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002 Another obvious Neutral Story Line (explanation here) for the newsweeklies' campaign coverage would be the "Year of the Fogie" (Lautenberg, Mondale, etc.). ... They could run a sidebar on whether California's Gray Davis counts as a fogie even though he's only 59. ... This particular NSL might not appeal to the key 17-49 demographic, though. .. 12:45 P.M.
Another obvious Neutral Story Line (explanation here) for the newsweeklies' campaign coverage would be the "Year of the Fogie" (Lautenberg, Mondale, etc.). ... They could run a sidebar on whether California's Gray Davis counts as a fogie even though he's only 59. ... This particular NSL might not appeal to the key 17-49 demographic, though. .. 12:45 P.M.
Coasting to Disaster? Dick Morris offers more evidence that Bush can't coast for the next week and assume the GOP will retain the House -- although Morris recommends renewed attention to Iraq, not the newsmaking domestic initiatives suggested below. ... If the GOP doesn't do something, remember, there's plenty of time (according to, yes, the "Faster" principle) for voters to shift their focus to the economy and start a Democratic mini-wave. ... 2:47 A.M.
Guber Blunder Affirmed: On Monday the judge in the Winona Ryder case held a closed-door session in his chambers with controversial ex-studio head Peter Guber. The purpose of the meeting, presumably, was to determine if Guber would remain on the jury. Guber stayed, and it would appear that prosecutors are now stuck with him. (If Ryder is acquitted, remember, that's it -- there is normally no possibility of a prosecutorial appeal on the grounds that the jury was somehow unfairly composed.) ... 1:46 A.M.
Not Too Long for the Web? A blog item on the prospect of permanent 50-50 political stalemate has veered completely out of control, becoming so lengthy that I've posted it separately as a rare "Kausfiles Special" ... Just because it's long, don't expect a nut graf! I've forgotten how to write those. But the gist of the item is that a 50-50 tie may be the new equilibrium state of American politics, if you assume that the parties are cynical enough and flexible enough. .... Update: Blogger Jacob T. Levy says I've simply rediscovered the 1957 Downs Median Voter Theorem. ("Downs' Day Has Finally Come" -- there's my lede!) Levy points out some interesting complications. ... See also this distressingly resonant Boston Phoenix piece from 2000, and these essays from 2001.... More: Danny Hillis makes much the same point with a graph, on this page. ... 1:06 A.M. Monday, October 28, 2002 Note: If the "Faster" principle holds, Minnesota GOP Senate candidate Norm Coleman will indeed have time to get across a few criticisms of Democrat Walter Mondale before next Tuesday's vote. Not that this will be enough to change the outcome ...9:10 P.M.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Note: If the "Faster" principle holds, Minnesota GOP Senate candidate Norm Coleman will indeed have time to get across a few criticisms of Democrat Walter Mondale before next Tuesday's vote. Not that this will be enough to change the outcome ...9:10 P.M.
Shi-Tzu-Baiting Rears Its Ugly Head in the Red States: Valerie Bauerlein of TheState.com reports on the recent debate in South Carolina between Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alex Sanders and Republican Lindsey Graham:
Sanders said Graham was the one running a TV endorsement from Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City.
"He's an ultra-liberal," Sanders said. "His wife kicked him out and he moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu.
"Is that South Carolina values? I don't think so."
Prediction: Sanders will get a pass for his gay-baiting a) mainly because it's the sort of deliciously cynical cheap shot reporters who enjoy covering politics savor; b) secondarily because he's a Democrat running against a Clinton-impeacher and won't be attacked by gay-rights groups; c) because he has some sense of comic timing; d) because he's a pretty appealing fellow; and e) because he's going to be repudiated by the voters... But Sanders probably should be blasted for it anyway. Over to you, Frank Rich. ...[Links via The Note] 12:28 P.M.
A Jury of Her Peers: How dumb were prosecutors to let Peter Guber, former head of Sony Pictures, on to the Winona Ryder shoplifting jury? They must not have read Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters' Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. If the lawyers in the D.A.'s office do get hold of a copy, they perhaps should pay special attention to the pages cited in the index entry:
and greed, 9, 108, 109, 119, 142, 148"
Can the prosecutors seriously think Guber is someone who's about to get all moralistic over a few missing hats and hair bands? ...
According to the Los Angeles Times' report, Guber was asked about any personal or professional ties to Ryder, and answered "I was the chairman of Sony when one of the companies under our control -- she made a picture for them." Times reporter Carla Hall pointedly notes, "In fact, Guber ran Sony when Ryder was making three big budget movies" for its Columbia division [italics added]. ... Kf is told by knowledgeable sources that it's customary Hollywood business practice for studio heads to both approve the decision to "greenlight" such movies and to approve the budgets (i.e. including Ryder's salary). ... Should prosecutors come to their senses today and try to bounce Guber, they might attempt to focus on the adequacy of his voire dire confession. (In the elevator of the Beverly Hills courthouse, according to the Times, Guber was overheard saying, in a more uninhibited fashion, "I have about as much chance of getting on this jury as the man in the moon. I only made three pictures with the lady.") ...
Note: The rest of the Ryder jury is less controversial. It includes two disgruntled French auteurs, one member of the Dogma group, three highly-regarded script doctors, a veteran "indie" actress and the television voice of the Ziploc "Gripper Zipper." After that, it's all independent producers. ... Actually, Hall reports, the other jurors "include a teacher, a UCLA graduate student, a woman who works at a fast-food restaurant, an aerospace engineer, a woman who works for a mortgage company, and an obstetrician-gynecologist" -- reinforcing the idea that the jury system, along with the DMV, is the last offical bastion of social equality and class mixing in America. Even (perhaps especially) in Beverly Hills. ... 12::14 A.M.
Links Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes "Tilting at Windmills" Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. The Liberal Death Star--Registration required. NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare! Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog. Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman -- Always annoying, occasionally right. Joe Conason -- Bush-bashing, free most days. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.
Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes "Tilting at Windmills" Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. The Liberal Death Star--Registration required. NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare! Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog. Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman -- Always annoying, occasionally right. Joe Conason -- Bush-bashing, free most days. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.