27 October 2006

More Polling on Patrick and Healey, et. al.

Earlier this week, we had encouraging electoral news from Suffolk and SurveyUSA, with Deval Patrick enjoying a healthy lead over his challengers, with the second place Kerry closer to third place Christy Mihos than Patrick. Today a new Boston Globe poll gives more good news for Patrick, as he garners a majority of voters (54%) while Healey doesn't even hold onto a third (29%). Healey's only majorities come in a most distasteful manner --- more than half of voters surveyed (51%) view the Lt. Gov. unfavorably and even more (54%, perhaps not coincidentally Patrick's share of the vote) believe that her negative ad campaign "crossed over the line." Only 34% viewed Healey favorably and only her ads only increased her vote by 10%.

At this point, I might as well cut and paste my last three posts on the polling in this race. Patrick has a ton of support that can't be moved by a wholly negative, substanceless campaign. The voters of Massachusetts are fed up with that kind of campaigning and don't think that the politics from which it springs represents them. Pandering to fear and racism will not win elections in this state. Etc., etc., etc. It's not to say that I'm not encouraged by the results and grateful to love among people who feel this way, but there is a sense of redundancy in the polling.

Which is also not to say, or imply, that it's not Patrick and his policies and tactics to which people are responding. I honestly believe that this lead is more a result of Deval Patrick's outstanding platform than it is a repulsion and repudiation of Healey's inability to campaign on issues that don't exist. Patrick's campaign has resonated with the people of Massachusetts on many levels, from his personality to his policies to his refusal to engage in negative politics. As I said earlier this week, a victory for Patrick will be a victory for sensible, rational and substantive politics over campaigns of fear and smear. And I will be all the more thankful on that day because not only did we reject those tactics, but we embraced a campaign of hope, a politician of integrity and a platform of progress.

But back to the poll, what is perhaps most revealing in this poll is Absentee Governor Willard Romney's showing in a fictional 2008 Republican primary. His Expediency (ht: BMG) comes in third place to Rudy Guiliani and John McCain, though admittedly nearly within the margin of error. Romney's distancing from the state, literally and politically, as well as his utter ineptitude as Governor (though that seems secondary at this point), has lost him significant support even among those who voted for him only a few years ago. I know that Romney isn't running on a platform that Republicans in this state (more clear-headed than those elsewhere, for the most part) find palatable, but it can't bode well that those who know him best place him third among likely options.

On a completely different note, in the coming days, you'll notice that there will be new contributors to this humble site. Though they will be infrequent and, most likely and sadly, temporary additions to this space, I hope that you'll welcome them and enjoy their posts, as they're more knowledgable on the subjects they'll be posting on than Lee and I are on the things we choose to write about [/self-deprecation]. I'll let them introduce themselves if and when they feel the need, but we're expanding for a little while, both in numbers and in scope. After all, once this election is over, we'll need something else to write about. Hopefully, our new posters will give us that opportunity. Enjoy and have a good weekend.

Friday Links.

Neighboroo.com: Using Google Maps, it gives you all kinds of crazy data relating to your (or any other) neighborhood. Politics, housing prices, cost of living, racial breakdown, crime rates, air quality, tax rates, commute times...

A List of members of 109th Congress who are being investigated by DoJ

The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history. (Sadly, I only went to three of these. Plus: check out number 8. U2 at the Paradise in 81'...Oh, to have been at that show, and not be 1-year-old.

The worst Halloween costumes of all time.

A way too detailed map of Springfield.

26 October 2006

'Beginning of the End of America' Olbermann Addresses the Military Commissions Act.

This is so good I have to repost the entire thing. A big thank you to the guys over at Common Dreams.
By Keith Olbermann

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before—and we have been here before led here—by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote about America.

We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that order to imprison and pauperize 110,000 Americans while his man in charge, General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen—he is still a Japanese.”

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did, but for the choices they or their ancestors had made about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each was a betrayal of that for which the president who advocated them claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States to the citizens of the United States whose lives it ruined.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been only human.

We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.”

We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always wrong.

“With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?”

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly—of course—the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But even within this history we have not before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “unlawful enemy combatants” and ship them somewhere—anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “unlawful enemy combatant” and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant”—exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it nor who he intends to use it against?

“These military commissions will provide a fair trial,” you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush, “in which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney and can hear all the evidence against them.”

"Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain “serious mental and physical trauma” in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

"Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

"Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies that imperil us all.

“One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks,” you told us yesterday, “said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America.”

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be “the beginning of the end of America.”

And did it even occur to you once, sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this world we now know—just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died --- did it ever occur to you once that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future president and a “competent tribunal” of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of “unlawful enemy combatant” for -- and convene a Military Commission to try -- not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, Sir, all of them—as always—wrong.

Thanks Keith.

Every Seat Is Sacred

Nothing surprising, nor even particularly noteworthy, in this morning's Globe editorial, in which they endorse the five Democratic candidates for the US House that are actually facing competition. The piece does go so far as to imply that it really wouldn't matter whether or not they were facing Republican challengers worth considering, the specter of continued Republican control of the House would be reason enough to vote Democratic. While there is no chance I would consider voting for any Republican for precisely that reason, it's nice to hear that sentiment in the local paper.

Along those lines, The New York Times recommended voting against Republican Chris Shays, whom they've endorsed in every other election. Shays, once a moderate Republican who worked across party lines and lived in reality, has recently called Abu Ghraib "a sex ring" rather than torture and made other comments that have demonstrated just how out of touch he and his party are. His opponent is Diane Farrell and she's put up a hell of a fight; Farrell has a chance to win this race and Democrats need every seat they can in order to win a majority or more.

Democrats --- or at least individual Democratic candidates --- have seized the moment and the momentum from a disastrous decade of Republican Congressional rule. Our candidates, across the nation, are running to represent their districts with honesty and integrity, with their constituents best interest at heart, rather than their own wallets. We have veterans of wars, political neophytes and even former Republicans campaigning under our banner this fall. While some of them may be a little less committed to progressive issues than I'd like, they are running for their district and not me. Their potential presence in Washington, however, does effect me, as it could mean a new Democratic majority and the end of Republican non-oversight of the Federal Government and thier dangerous domestic and foreign policy.

No matter where you are this fall, voting Democrat is a vote for engaged government, safe and healthy people at home, peace and security abroad, a better today and an even better tomorrow. There is a chance, for what feels like the first time in a long time (certainly since I began voting), to make an honest-to-God change in the way this country is governed. I find myself looking forward to next Tuesday not with my usual fear and loathing, like a test for which I have not studied, but with a quiet excitement and anticipation, like waiting in the airport for my girlfriend to come home. I think I'll make up a sign: "WELCOME HOME RATIONAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE!" Hopefully, it gets off the plane Tuesday night; I sure have missed it.

24 October 2006

Suffolk Poll on Patrick and Healey

Since Deval Patrick's Democratic primary win last month, there have been nine polls. In seven of them, Patrick has polled over 50%, the two in which he did not were Suffolk University polls. Well, today, Suffolk released their latest and he's now broken 50% in this poll as well: 53% to be exact. In those same nine polls, Lt. Gov and Republican candidate Kerry Healey has never garnered more than 34%, and has polled as low as 24%. Though the previous three polls had shown her with 33-34% support, today's drops her down to 26%. Subtract that abysmal smattering of support from Patrick's numbers and you are left with 27%. Patrick leads by a margin wider than Healey's total support. That's ... um ... good.

Also in the realm of good news from this poll, the public isn't buying Healey's negative campaign. According to the Suffolk press release: "61 percent of voters say the recent tone of her campaign made them less likely to vote for her." As if this weren't enough, her already horrific favorability numbers have also taken a dive. 53% view her unfavorably, the same percentage favoring Patrick in the election, while only 30% viewed her favorably. That's a -21% rating among people who had an opinion of her. Patrick, meanwhile, enjoys a robust 60% favorability, with only 24% against: that's a positive 36%.

David Paleologos, who ran the poll, all but calls the race for Patrick:
"It’s too late for Healey to go informative; there aren’t enough undecided voters for her to go comparative; and she can’t continue to go negative,” said Paleologos. “Her aggressive style lost her too many political chess pieces. The next two weeks may make for a painful endgame marked with a dwindling army and just a few squares to move to."
I'm not quite as willing to announce Patrick's win as a foregone conclusion, but I will absolutely rejoice in the failure of any negative campaign. Healey has not said anything substantive about her own agenda to govern (likely because there is no there there), and she chose instead to descend into some of the worst gutter politics I've ever seen --- and I've spent election seasons in Ohio.

I am ecstatic that the people of Massachusetts have emphatically rejected the disgusting tactics on which the Healey campaign has been run, and run into the ground. It's a victory for Deval Patrick, for the Democratic Party and for Massachusetts. I hope this signals the end of campaigns run on attacks and more like the positive and substantial one Patrick has run. Of course, that would leave Republicans with little to say.

IMMEDIATE UPDATE!: Hey, look at that, another new poll! CBS4 reports these results from their own poll, conducted by SurveyUSA: "In the survey of 623 likely voters taken earlier this week, Patrick garnered 56% support, easily outdistancing Healey's 31%." John Keller sounds a different, more cautionary note than Paleologos, partly because he has a debate to pimp:
"This race isn't over, not with Healey's financial resources, polls showing a majority of voters in agreement with her on key issues, and two televised debates still to come. But she must immediately find a winning issue where she can take him on while simultaneously projecting a more positive image, a tricky task under any circumstances. And she must roll out this new strategy starting Wednesday night in the CBS4 debate, which could prove her last best chance to turn what looks like a pro-Patrick tide," said Keller.
I agree it's not over, if only because of Healey's massive bankroll. Still, she's tried hard thus far and Patrick retains a majority of voters, Healey can't even garner a third, and the result is a margin of over 20 points. In short: good news.

Gubernatorial Candidate Campaigns on Cleavage

This is Loretta Nall. She is the Libertarian Party's (write-in) candidate for governor of Alabama. She has one of the worst websites that I have ever seen. It seems as though she is using her cleavage as her campaign's main selling point. Some of campaign literature includes photos with the phrase "More of these boobs." Below this statement are pictures of the other candidates for governor - including Republican incumbent Bob Riley and Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley - and the words: "And less of these boobs."
According to Phillip Rawls of the A.P:
Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Party's write-in candidate for governor of Alabama, is campaigning on her cleavage and hoping that voters' eyes will eventually refocus on her platform.

"It started out as a joke, but it blew up into something huge," Nall said.

Nall, who spoke in an interview Friday on the Capitol steps, realizes that's about as close as she is going to get to the governor's office. But her "anything goes" style of campaigning - including campaign gear showing her smiling in a low-cut dress - has helped her attract attention not normally enjoyed by write-in candidates in Alabama, including spots on conservative radio talk shows and speeches at staid civic clubs.

Nall said that once she gets voters' attention, they eventually notice her campaign platform, which calls for tax credits for sending children to private school and home schooling, opting out of the No Child Left Behind Act, legalizing marijuana, and not complying with the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act.

Nall said one issue in her platform that seems to be getting lots of positive response is trying to withdraw the Alabama National Guard from Iraq.

"When people in Alabama get tired of kicking the ass of brown people, it's time to pull out," she said in her characteristically over-the-top style.

I'm going to put in my two cents against further ideas like this one. While this is all quite amusing, taking politics to an even lower level is probably a pretty bad idea. We need people to get involved and vote because of how important a vote really can be, not because they like or do not like boobs. We need people to vote out of passion not lust. Because peoples' lives are at stake not their hard on's. Nice try Loretta.