It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.

Draft Carter 2004 meetup
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Draft Carter?

I noticed today that someone has started a Draft Carter 2004 Meetup, for which people are invited to sign up. After enough people in your area indicate interest, a place and time to meet will be announced.

Jimmy Carter for President in 2004? Well, how about that... Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who:
  • Is religious without hitting other people over the head about it
  • Spent his post-political life working when he didn't have to
  • Has a record of three decades of diplomacy
  • Considers human rights a fundamental organizing principle
  • Listens to other people
  • Favors talking things out before bombing others...

When you think about it, a Carter presidency sounds like exactly what this country needs right now.

Click here to sign on.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:38 PM. # (permalink)

Friday, November 21, 2003

Posted by Matthew Cook at 6:02 PM# (permalink)

Is Howard Dean unelectable?
One of the biggest knocks against Howard Dean is that, compared to other presidential candidates, he is "unelectable" in a contest versus George W. Bush.

That's an empirically assessable contention, folks. Let's look at two national polls, one from Fox News and one from Newsweek, both from nationally representative samples of registered voters this month. See Polling Report for more details.

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Nov. 6-7, 2003. N=809 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 4 (total sample).

Q: "Suppose the next general election for president were being held TODAY and you had to choose between George W. Bush, the Republican, and [see below], the Democrat -- who would you vote for?" If "Other" or "Undecided": "As of TODAY, do you LEAN more toward Bush, the Republican, or [see below], the Democrat?"

George W. Bush, 49%
Howard Dean, 49%
Other/Undecided, 6%

George W. Bush, 48%
Wesley Clark, 45%
Other/Undecided, 7%

George W. Bush, 48%
Joe Lieberman, 44%
Other/Undecided, 8%

George W. Bush, 49%
John Kerry, 45%
Other/Undecided, 6%

George W. Bush, 49%
Dick Gephardt, 44%
Other/Undecided, 7%

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Nov. 18-19, 2003. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

Q: "If the election for president of the United States were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were Republican George W. Bush and Democrat ______?"

George W. Bush, 49%
Howard Dean, 36%
Neither/Not Sure, 15%

George W. Bush, 49%
Dick Gephardt, 36%
Neither/Not Sure, 15%

George W. Bush, 49%
Wesley Clark, 36%
Neither/Not Sure, 15%

George W. Bush, 52%
Hillary Clinton, 38%
Neither/Not Sure, 10%

OK, what can we learn from these results, besides that Fox News remains inappropriately Hillary-obsessed, since she is not running for President...? Howard Dean does no worse than the other major contenders for the Democratic nomination in polling head-to-head against George W. Bush. No better, no worse.

From this week's blog entries you'll notice that we're not Deanistas, Deaniacs, Deanyboppers, Clean-for-Deaners, or whatever the latest label might happen to be. But all of us at Irregular Times are puzzled by the bizarrely histrionic spasms emanating from the Democrat "Leadership" Council and the Democratic National Committee about the "unelectability" of Howard Dean.

So will someone set us straight? Will someone explain to me the factual, Factual, FACTUAL (hint: not hypothetical) basis on which the "unelectable" label has been applied to Howard Dean? Comment below!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 9:18 AM. # (permalink)

Thomas Friedman, Obliviosity Embodied
Thursday, November 20, 2003

You Gotta Have Brains

In today's New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman writes from London, "To be sure, some people simply will never be winnable because they hate America above all else. (That may explain why you don't see any protesters here carrying signs saying, 'Death to bin Laden,' 'Saddam: How many Iraqis did you kill today?'...)"

There's a simpler alternative, Mr. Friedman. Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not members of the British Government or the American Government with which Blair has aligned himself. In a democracy, protests are traditionally centered on things that the protesters have some control over -- like the policies of the protesters' government or the the policies of a government which the protesters' government has endorsed. There's no sense in protesting something or someone over which one has no control.


Posted by Theodiclus Lock at 7:56 AM. # (permalink)

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Howard Dean Hot and Cold?

A word of warning to the Dean for D'America campaign: Passionate political support runs hot and cold.

Scenes we've seen:

Howard Dean delegates to the Presidential convention are selected from within a group of individuals who are all mutual friends, within only one city in a large, multi-city Congressional District.

A petition-planning meeting draws to a close as old-time Democrats sneer at "Meetup Types" and declare, "They'll do anything we want them to do. Just give them some work. What is Meetup anyway?" An experienced petition carrier storms out of the meeting after begging to be listened to while the "coordinators" appointed by the campaign sit in a corner making jokes among themselves.

A room full of people assembled for a Dean Birthday Bash look at each other with a hurt and confused expression as the "conference call with Howard Dean" they had been promised turns out to be nothing more than a prepared speech given over the telephone to 5,000 people at a time with no chance for any real interaction with Mr. Dean. No conferring in this conference call.

A local campaign plan is issued that declares that rural areas are not the focus of area campaign efforts, but are only "gravy on the side". The campaign plan? Focus on high rises in the city where it's easy to go door to door.

Passionate political supporters run hot and cold. Up until now, the Howard Dean campaign has these supporters running hot, because it's found ways to get them involved in meaningful ways. Now, as the primary season gets close, there are signs of a split between Dean campaign insiders and the grassroots supporters that have given the Dean campaign its real power.

A warning to the Dean campaign: Don't take those grassroots supporters for granted, or they'll turn against you, cold and hard. Without the involvement of ordinary people who have donated their time and money already, the Dean campaign will find that its running hard without any legs.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 8:19 AM. # (permalink)

I am one of Howard Dean's Members
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Today, Howard Dean sent me a card in the mail. It is a membership card. How sweet! I am a member of Howard Dean. You could say I am Howard Dean's member. If this is a mass mailing, there must be tens of thousands of Howard Dean's members out there. Think about it: Howard Dean has tens of thousands of members. And you thought Bill Clinton was a problem? Imagine a man in the Oval Office with tens of thousands of members! This explains why most of his photos are head shots.

Seriously, the small contribution I have given to Howard Dean has now been outweighed by the expense of mailing me membership cards, invitations to celebrate his birthday, and whatnot. In net terms, I have given Dean a negative donation. Wonderful.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 6:00 PM# (permalink)

Holy Anti-Bush Day Planner Contest, Batman!
Holy Anti-Bush Day Planner Contest, Batman!

At Irregular Times, we've always been multimodal.

Over at our online political shop, we're offering a 2004 Day Planner with a Reason a Day to Boot Bush. I've got an extra I'd like someone to use.

We've also made it our goal to accumulate a list of 2004 reasons to Boot Bush by Election Day 2004.

So let's put my chocolate in your peanut butter and vice versa:

The person who by Sunday, November 30 contributes the largest number of reasons to Boot Bush, written by her- or him-self, that aren't already on the list, wins the planner. No strings.

Read the list, then contribute new reasons to the list by sending an e-mail here.

What have you got to say for yourself? Go for it.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:36 AM# (permalink)

The Unbearable Evilness of Candidate Websites
The Unbearable Evilness of Candidate Websites

Over at Irregular Tracking, we collect odd statistics on various aspects of the performance of the Democratic candidates for President. We've added a new stat just today.

A sense of humor is always fun, and the Gematriculator site certainly has it in spades. The automatic cyber-gematriculator gizmo analyzes a website to look for the number of occurences of word patterns that can be divided by seven, the holy number of God, and then compares them to non-holy divisors such as...

Well, I just can't tell you the rest because that wouldn't be holy. But let's see how much evil each candidate has in their website, shall we? The results are shocking!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:14 AM. # (permalink)

48 hours for Democracy
Monday, November 17, 2003

Only 48 hours for Democracy

Here's Reason #467 to Boot Bush:

After the Bush administration spent more than two years drafting an energy bill in secret and hoarding records of meetings regarding the bill, the text of the bill was finally released on Saturday, November 15, giving Democrats and the public only 48 hours to read it before voting was scheduled to begin. This is not how democracy is supposed to work. Politicians like Bush only use secretive tactics like this when they have something to hide.

Go to the U.S. Senate website to find the names and contact information for your Senators, then give them a ring. Let them know you're aware of the debacle and won't stand for it. If your Senator is a Democrat, ask them to filibuster in order to -- for lands' sakes! -- give the Senate and the American people enough time to read the bill before it is shoved into law.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 12:32 PM# (permalink)

Monocultural Multiculturalism
Abusing the Word... Multicultural

This morning, / sent us a press release for a new book written by the Reverend Sondra Lane. They called it a "unique and irresistable multicultural Hallelujah Kids book," and a "multicultural religious book".

Hmm. I’ve got to ask a question: A multi-CULTURAL book on religion would include other religions than just Christianity, wouldn’t it? I went to the book's web site, and I'll tell you, it looked downright monocultural. There were only references to Christianity, and to celebrating Christmas. How "unique is that" - a book on Christmas?

Is Reverend Sondra Lane going to write more books in this series, ones praising Islam, Buddhism, Wicca, Judaism, Hinduism or any of the other many religions that make America truly multi-CULTURAL? How about the agnostic/humanist perspective on religion? There are more non-believers than Lutherans in America, you know. If the series includes books celebrating these perspectives, then Reverend Lane can use the adjective “multicultural” proudly.

Until then, forgive us if we snore at the astonishing lack of cultural diversity in Sondra Lane's unreflective series of Christian tracts for children's religious indoctrination. A book about a bunch of kids who decide NOT to take part in Christmas - now that would be "unique and irresistable"! Write that book, Reverend Lane, and we'll gladly give it free publicity.

(Sorry, Reverend, but when you hire a public relations firm to send press releases on Christian books to a web site with a sections entitled Further Than Atheism and False Witness, you are not spending your money wisely.)

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:26 AM. # (permalink)

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